I wish I could go back to that girl I used to be and tell her, “Slow down. You have more time than you think. And when you try to rush, you’re wasting it.”
But even setting aside the impossibility of time travel, even if it were somehow possible to get back there and make contact with her, I know it wouldn’t do any good. My past self wouldn’t listen to me. She knows what she knows. She knows what she feels. And she mixes up what she feels with what she knows.
And she doesn’t have anyone in her life that she can trust to look to. She doesn’t have anyone who could tell her otherwise that she’d believe. No model for the kind of counsel I’d give her.
She’d reject it, like she rejects pretty much everything else that’s presented to her. Because that attitude is what is helping her survive. That attitude is what is getting her through what will be the most difficult period of her life.
It doesn’t make sense for her to trust people. On the occasions that she can trust, she’s typically punished for it, not rewarded. Kindness comes unexpectedly, suddenly. But it also leaves just as unpredictably. And those times when kindness arrives are so precious — so appreciated. The memories of those pockets of kindness will bear her through the harder parts.
But inconsistent kindness isn’t a basis for building trust — with the outside world and not even with herself.
There’s very little of anything solid for her to lean on.
So she can’t relax. She can’t slow down. And she wouldn’t listen to anyone who would tell her that learning to foster that sort of calm will be the best protection against the chaos outside of her. Not even a time traveler with her best interests at heart.