Letter to my Younger Self

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Prokit asked the question: If you could travel back in time, what would you say to your younger self? It turns out I’ve already thought about this; here’s an update to what I said in a Red Bull article a few years ago.

Dear 15-year-old Becky,

I’m writing to you from way in the future. You aren’t going to believe what is about to happen to you.

I know it sounds crazy, but you are going to grow up to become a multi-discipline professional athlete, author and mentor. You are going to leave the Chicago suburbs and see the world by various modes of human-powered travel. People are going to look to you for inspiration.

I know right now you feel like a skittish, dorky colt. It might not seem like being in the band, student government and running cross-country is cool, but believe me, it is. You will look back on that stuff and be thankful for the discipline and skills you learned. Those things will serve you well as you claw your way to the top step of so many podiums.

I know that right now, you can barely decide what clothes to wear and that the weight of choosing a college major is crushing. I know that you feel scared and unsure almost all the time. Don’t worry, that business degree you’re going to get will be the perfect complement to your professional athletic career. It may seem like you have no clue what you’re going to be when you grow up, but no one will notice.

The good news is you won’t ever have to wear pantyhose for your job.

The bad news is that you are going to be homeless, broke, scared and bruised. While all of your other friends and classmates collect big paychecks, buy houses and find “success,” you will be wandering but not lost. You’ll climb El Cap, travel the world, write a book, win an Emmy, and get into this crazy little thing called Mountain Biking (and you’ll be really good at it!) 

The star that will guide you is your passion for adventure and exploration. Don’t lose sight of that. You will take a lot longer than most to find a home and build a successful career, but you will get there in your own time.

In the meantime, here are a few pearls of wisdom I can share with you to help ease your mind as you embark on this circuitous journey:

  • Make choices from your heart, but consult your head. Do what feels right, then calculate and plan for the best outcome.
  • Do not measure success with dollar signs. You will be truly rich by other measures.
  • Your family will always be there for you and accept you no matter what job you have, so take it easy on them and embrace them despite all of their quirks.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be the first one to offer it. No achievement is ever a solo effort.
  • The good news is you won’t ever have to wear pantyhose for your job. The bad news is that you are going to be homeless, broke, scared and bruised.
  • Get your hands dirty often.
  • Don’t sell the Bronco. You’ll think you need the money, but you’ll regret it later.
  • Be kind to yourself. I know you can be your worst critic.

Mostly, enjoy the ride. It’s going to be a wild one!

Rebecca

P.S.: You will also outgrow “Becky” and soon insist everyone call you by your full name “Rebecca.” It suits you way better anyway.

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Rebecca Rusch

7X World Champion; Best-selling Author; Emmy Winner; Motivational Speaker; Ambassador, Be Good Foundation
Cycling, Mountain Biking, Gravel Biking
Ketchum, ID

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