What I'd Say to My 16-Year-Old Self

My sixteen-year-old self would have very little patience for anyone’s advice. And, given that those who are most like ourselves are those who most annoy us, I should imagine the my younger self would roll her eyes and sigh at having to listen to a lecture from me on how to and how not to be.

Being older, and knowing that I know more than sixteen-year-old me, I would push on with the dispensing of advice, and I would try to tell her to push a little harder, and to be less distracted by trivia. She won’t believe it, of course, but I’ll try anyway to tell her that she won’t even remember the name of that boy who just broke her heart, or the name of that bitchy girl who excluded her from an inner circle of future nobodies. She won’t believe me when I tell her that creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised every day, otherwise it atrophies, and that she is a more talented writer and artist and better dancer than she gives herself credit for. I would try to tell her that if she just applied herself, if only for a very tiny little while every day, she could achieve great things. If she just believed in herself, no matter what good, solid advice her parents tried to give her from their own fearful, small-world point of view, she would grow wings and fly.

She will think me mad, though, an interfering old busybody who understands nothing. And that’s the way it should be, I suppose. The young should be foolish, headstrong, impulsive, completely lacking in focus, fully confident in their know-it-all-ness. How else are they to make mistakes, stumble and fall, pick themselves up again, and experience – and learn from – life?

That impulsive, stubborn, heart-on-her-sleeve, diary-keeping, soppy poetry-writing girl became me. If she didn’t exist, then nor would I. And then I wouldn’t be able to hand out such very good advice.

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~ by ReluctantRunner on September 21, 2010.

2 Responses to “What I'd Say to My 16-Year-Old Self”

  1. Tell her to go sign up for NaNoWriMo.

    They just launched the 2010 site, and there are already loonies wandering the halls.


  2. Beautifully Said! I think that the 60 year old version of yourself would like to tell you to forget about how the 16 year old lived and live your life now with love and passion! Don’t underestimate your strengths – to me you will always be someone met briefly, but remembered and treasured always! xxx

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