Hi 16-year old Cae

10 October 2021

Things change and not everything goes your way. Sorry. 

You must be glued to your BlackBerry and on that 411 while drinking your favorite venti chocolate chip frappe. Mom said you can’t have coffee because it will keep you up at night—she doesn’t know Tumblr already does that to you. By the way, you've spent so much money on coffee makers years after you understand why mom can't stop having it. 

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the world doesn’t revolve around you. Hurt people, hurt people, and that’s probably why they hurt you. The group of friends you have now won't be the ones you run to when you can't figure out life—and that's okay. You're stronger than you think you are. Please don’t forget to thank Carlo for tirelessly reminding you of that. The LGBTQ+ community feels like home because of him. Besides, the besties you'll have at 26 accept you for who you are—and that includes why you rarely reply on time.

You’ll learn the hard way that the recipe to a life well-lived life is kindness—and of course, medium-well steak. Real talk: you have absolutely no idea what it's like in the real world. You've been sheltered all your life. Mom and dad aren't to blame for this. They always have your best interest at heart. Yup. Even when you don't deserve it. Like new Havaianas every month. By the way, at 26, you'll only see 3/8 Gossip Girl books on your shelf. At 26, you can't even remember how they went missing. Despite technology, you can't stop buying paperback either so you had to learn to take better care of them.

You've been an anxious mess for as long as you can remember. At 25, you've finally decided to take the leap and see your first ever therapist. She prescribes pills and the world looks magically calm. Sounds like the problem has been solved, right? Well, as Owl City puts it: Everything is never as it seems. Kudos to you for realizing that you don't always get it right the first time and it's perfectly okay.

Now that you're 26, you view the world differently and you have your new therapist to thank for helping you pave a way for that. You deeply understand the importance of kindness and cutting yourself some slack because life doesn't have to necessarily go the way you had it in your head. It's okay that your best friends have other best friends and that you're not always the first person they tell everything to––as long as they tell you, it doesn't matter if you're not the first person to know. But hey, even if they don't tell you at all, there's still nothing wrong with  that because people have a lot on their plate all the time.

The boy you BBM with now until 11pm isn't the boy who'll argue with an airport staff when you're about to miss a flight––even if it's clearly your fault in the first place for choosing to extend your stay at Starbucks. When you're 26, you'll understand what they mean when they say you'll know he's the one when he intentionally orders a bucket of original chicken thigh even if he prefers it spicy and even when he doesn't understand you at all—shopping including—he still chooses you day by day.

You don't realize this now but your sister is your best friend. You tell her all your crazy ideas and all your crazy adventures. She can be a tattle tale but like everyone around you (including Yaya), she only wants the best for you. Heck, she even bakes you cookies at 11pm just because you were craving for it.

Family is everything. Family means everyone who makes you feel like you've found home in human form. It's the tiny little things that make you feel at home. It's not the balikbayan boxes nor the grandiose reunions. It's sharing what reminded them of you on the day-to-day despite how hectic things can get.  As always, it's the tiny little things that make the biggest impact. That 15-minute dreaded daily rides to school? Yep. That's a scar for life. But now, you're working on reminding yourself that you were just a kid and none of that was your fault. It still makes you tear up but it's okay, healing is a process. In that same way, it's okay to not associate yourself with them while you're at it. One day you'll fully heal, but right now, at 26, it's okay to not let them get to you––literally.

At 26, when you’re sad regardless of subject, you sometimes even resort to Michael Learns How To Rock. Point is, you finally accept that it’s okay not to be okay. Yep, this might be a reference to a Korean Drama—and yep, you can’t not watch Korean Drama anymore. Although, you still rewatch Gilmore Girls, Doctor House, and The OC when you want to feel at home. And yes, Hannah Montana and Hilary Duff too.

At 26, you still struggle to take your time but as of writing, at least you know that 5 seconds isn’t 5 minutes. Baby steps, indeed.

Crazy how so many things can happen in a span of 10 years. You no longer think friends are everything because family now means anyone who makes feel like you're home (1/2/3). You no longer cry over a boy because nothing is worse than losing a loved one without seeing them for the last time. You no longer think you can't make mistakes. Just as long as you continue to try, you'll be alright, kid. Things will continue to change and life will go on. Just as long as you're not ashamed of being you and evolving when you need to, you'll be be fine. You'll understand that God has made everything for a reason. 

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