This has long been one of my favorite photos of myself. I had no idea it was being taken though I vividly remember the moment. I was 18 years old, a few months away from ending one chapter of my life and beginning a new one, by myself, in a different state, completely on my own for the first time. This was a girl who was confident and finally secure. She knew these changes were happening and she chose to face them full on. She vowed to enjoy every moment. For the most part, she did. I often wonder what I would say to her if I could. Would I warn her of what was coming so she could prepare herself for hard times? Would I let her know that she would lose beloved family members soon? Would I tell her that the college she chose would exhilarate and disappoint her? Would I tell her that she’s going to meet friends who will become very close and eventually will be gone too? Ultimately, I decided that if I could, I would tell her this: she’s okay. She’s good. She’s on the right track. Keep her sense of wonder. I would tell her to continue to trust her instincts. She’s as smart as she thinks she is and smarter than she knows.