I’m going to write what I consider an intensely personal post today. It may not seem that way on the surface, but it’s actually something I was very hesitant to post on a public blog.
I’m a member of an online forum. About a month or so ago, someone started a thread asking members to write a letter to themselves. The letter was supposed to be written to our “former” (a.k.a. younger) selves. It could be funny. It could be touching. It could be whatever you wanted it to be.
I thought this was an interesting idea, and it was actually kind of challenging to write this kind of letter. At first I wanted it to be funny. But then I realized the things I would actually want to write to my 16 year old self weren’t funny … They were honest and they focused on some of the things that have shaped me into who I am.
I don’t necessarily wish I could turn back time and change everything. Some days I feel that way, but most of the time I think I needed those experiences (the good and the bad).
That’s why I’m sharing this letter with you today. I’m human. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I’ve done things I absolutely regret. But you know what? I’ve learned so much about who I am and who I want to be over the years. And maybe I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out without doing a few things wrong.
Dear 16 year old me,
Cut off all contact with your father now. (You’ll do this anyway in just a few more years.) If you do it now, though, you may save yourself some unnecessary pain.
Don’t waste so much time on your current boyfriend. He’s a wonderful guy … For someone else. Enjoy him and then move on. You will never agree on several important issues, so there’s really no future there. Nothing will change.
That guy friend you’ve had a secret crush on for several years? You’ll end up dating him when you’re 20. It will be everything you’d ever hoped it could be … And then he’ll break your heart and make you question everything. I’m not saying that you should totally forget about him … But just be prepared. This experience will change you, but it will make you a stronger, more independent person in the long run.
You may think you never want to get married, but you’ll change your mind. You’ll meet someone amazing when you’re 22, and he will eventually propose. You’ll say yes.
You are a lot skinnier than you think you are. Seriously, you should rock bikinis, short shorts, and all of that while you can!
Your 28 year old self
I’m definitely not perfect, and I’m still trying to figure some things out. But I think I’m turning into the kind of person I always hoped I could be. And that’s pretty awesome.