A Letter to my Sixteen-Year-Old Self

Hi. It’s me. Well, it’s you, ten years into the future. You’ve graduated high school and college. You’re done with school! I think that should make you happy. I barely remember being 16. I know you’re sad and worried about if your friends like you as much as you like them. They do. They love you. I’m sure you’re curious about what my life is like: where I live, what job I have, what my boyfriend is like.

But I’m really writing to warn you. I guess ‘warn’ isn’t the right word. I want to try to prepare you for something you can never be prepared for. Sounds ominous, huh? I want to tell you that halfway between you and me, something happens. You can’t change it, so I won’t tell you specifics. I will tell you that it will hurt. It will be the worst pain you’ve ever felt in your life and it will be with you in some form or other for the rest of your life. Yes, it’s a big deal. So, I want to give you time to appreciate what you have. I want you to stop fighting with your mom and dad because almost every fight will seem stupid in hindsight. Trust me. I want you to be unashamed in your love for your friends, your family, or any of your interests. That passion and love is what helps to heal you. I want you to not worry about your future. I’m not at the end but I’ve dealt with your biggest worries and conquered them. I want to tell you that it’s okay to try something and realize it’s not for you. You do not have to make one decision and stick with it. Making mistakes is how you learn and grow.

Part of me wishes I were you. I wish I could go back and worry about grades and parents. But I remember you were sad. You’re still sad. Sorry. I’m working on it, I promise. I think it’s going to be a lifelong issue. Sorry about that, too. But you are surrounded by people who love you, even if sometimes it feels like you are very alone. I can’t stop the bad things from coming. I can’t protect you. I can only tell you that I’ve come out the other side and I’m still up and fighting. And having fun too. I promise you have fun.

I’m proud of us. I’m proud of how you are going to handle what life throws at you. And you are going to handle it. You’re going to handle a lot more than a lot of people your age could. You are strong. You are brave. You are loved.

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Me at 16
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Me at 26

I love you

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