Dear Younger Me: Alexi Pappas


August, 2017

Dear Younger Alexi,

I will not tell you what happens, because that would be no fun. Instead, here is a list of rules to live by. You will learn these lessons on your own eventually, one by one, but because I love you I will share them with you now:

1. Run like a bravey, sleep like a baby, dream like a crazy, replace can't with maybe [1]

2. Imitate people you look up to until you can look up to yourself [2]

3. Training is like building a sandcastle. Each grain of sand is important, even if you can't see them all [3]

4. Nerves mean you care [4]

5. Write down your goals so when you get them you know you were brave enough to want them [5]

6. During races, smile when it hurts. And it's always going to hurt... [6]

7. You don't have to be happy all the time to be happy [7]

8. A race, your face, a suitcase may seem scary now but, like a good t-shirt, will get better in time [8]

9. Be kind to yourself [9]

10. Believe in belief [10]

Yours always (sometimes),

Alexi

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 [1] but actually -- sleep 9 hours every single night possible & nap as much as you can muster. take iron & vitamin d (liquid) every day. get your blood checked every year, too

[2] it's OK to use the word rad & paint all your nails blue except one which is black because that's what Billie does & you want to be just like her

[3] also, end all your runs at least 10 meters before the locker room/car/house door. walk the final few steps & reflect on & be proud of what you just did, whether it was a hard workout or an easy run. also, find ways to matter & contribute no matter what. even if you're the worst on your team, which you will be, show up & cheer. keep working hard & someday you will score that team point.

[4] growing up is terrifying & wonderful. the expedition is important. be nervous in the good way. if you're not afraid, that's when you should really be afraid.

[5] the good news (& the bad news) is that not giving up works

[6] also, before the race, pick a landmark along the course like a trashcan & decide *that* is where you will let your inner beast go. also, remember to listen to music before the race because music is the best

[7] all marshmallows, when squeezed, can re-inflate eventually. also, don't be afraid of being alone it's not that bad it's actually good sometimes

[8] and never, ever be shy about asking for help when you need it

[9] making a mistake doesn't mean you get to punish yourself. instead, take care of yourself -- it's ok to spend money on good food & good jeans. separately, don't ever pull all your eyebrows out -- you might want them someday.

[10] & in dandelion wishes, eyelash wishes, 11:11 wishes, & whatever other superstitions you learn/invent along your way

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