An Open Letter To My 16-Year-Old Self

Life is pretty hard right now, isn’t it? You probably feel like you’ll never have it figured out. But trust me, you will eventually see the reasons for everything that you’re going through.

You’re stuck in this place where you have great friends but you yearn to be “popular.” I know right now it seems like popularity is some kind of elite status. But I’ve got news for you: Once you graduate, popularity means nothing. Out in the real world, the one outside of high school, the playing field is level and you’ll learn that the quality of your friends is much more important than the quantity. The people that truly care for you will be the people you still have in your life 10 years for now. So, don’t sweat feeling like you aren’t one of the “cool kids.” It won’t even matter two years from now.

You know those guys you’ve had crushes on throughout high school – the ones who you feel are out of your league? Well eventually you’ll realize why it never happened with any of them. I can tell you that at this point you have no idea what love actually is. And you aren’t missing out by not experiencing it right now. Take your time. Stay focused on what’s important. Love will happen when it’s time. Oh, and a little side note: Wait until you see those “unattainable” guys as they’re approaching 30. You’re welcome.

I can’t say this enough: Follow your dreams! Don’t let things like job security and money dictate what you pursue after high school. It’s just as important to be passionate about what you do. You are a writer. That is what you love to do and that is who you are. I know nursing or business may be more sensible majors, but you don’t even like math so that pretty much cancels those out as lifelong career paths. You’ll eventually end up on the educational path that’s right for you. You’ll eventually be paid to write. It’s just going to take you a little longer to get there because you’re going to take the scenic route.

You’re going to make some mistakes – a lot of them. Some mistakes you’ll make more once. Sometimes you’ll be flat out stupid. And that’s okay. That’s what life is for. But they won’t kill you and you’ll learn from them. Don’t let people define you by the mistakes you make. More importantly, don’t define yourself by them either. You can’t expect to grow unless you take risks. And with risks, we sometimes fail. Everything that you feel is going to break you will align you with where you need to be.

This last point is something you probably don’t want to hear right now. Your mom kinda knows what she’s talking about. Not all the time, but a lot of the time. She’s done this whole life thing before you. There will be times where you feel she’s trying to stop you from having fun or keeping you from some amazing life you want to live. But she’s really just trying to keep you from making the same mistakes she made. Even as tense as your relationship can get, sometimes it’s better to close your mouth and open your ears. It’s not easy to see when you’re 16, but eventually you’ll look back on occasions and think to yourself, ‘She was right.’

I know right now it seems like you’ll never have it all together. And you probably won’t. Life is about constantly learning and growing. But enjoy the journey, because it goes so quickly.


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