Recently, I was thinking about the me that I was as a teenager. It's because of my writing, I think. The main character in my current manuscript is sixteen. That's fifteen years ago for me. Today, I found myself thinking, "If you could go back and talk to that girl, what would you tell her?" And so, I'm going to write that letter right now.
"Dear past me,
If you are reading this letter, some kind of miraculous time travel thing has been invented in your future and I am now talking to you. Pretty wild, huh?
I wanted to give you a few pointers about your life five, ten, even fifteen years from now. Pay attention. This is important stuff.
First, zits will still happen. Right now, you hate it when you have a break out and you are worried that the cute guy in your English class is going to notice. They aren't going to go away. Not only will you have zits when you are thirty, you will have crows feet around your eyes and laugh lines. Your hair will still bug the tar out of you. And you will have stretch marks in places you never thought could have stretch marks. Don't let it bother you. Your husband will still think you are beautiful and he doesn't care about the zits.
Second, dating is not all it's cracked up to be. I know. Every one around you has a boyfriend and you are the loser who sits at home on a Friday night. It's ok. Really. I promise. When you get to where I am, you will look back and really appreciate those Friday nights at home. You'll have learned to value who you are because of who you are and not for who you are with. You also won't be the girl who got pregnant when she was a senior and had to drop out of high school. Taking your time with dating is a great idea because it will get you the coolest, funniest, most amazing husband ever.
Third, you are pretty talented! You don't always trust yourself and you can't always see things the way others do. When I look back at the things you are doing at sixteen, I wish I had kept going with some of them. It would have been really amazing to see where I would be now if I hadn't quit. Trust your abilities. You aren't perfect and you don't have to be. You just have to keep doing your best and your best will eventually get better.
Last, just keep doing what you're doing. I'm not going to tell you to change anything. I wouldn't be who I am now if you do. I don't look back with very many regrets and the regrets I do have made me a stronger, better person. It's not going to be easy a lot of the time. You will have down days. You'll feel like you aren't good enough. You'll wish you had someone else's life. And that's ok. And it's normal. Just keep being you and it will be worth it.
Well, that's all I have to tell you now. Maybe in another fifteen years, I'll try again. Who knows? Good luck, me. We'll make it.
Your future self."
What would you tell yourself if you could send a message back to the you that you were five, ten, or fifteen years ago? (I think I may have just had an epiphany for a new story. Off to take some notes. Talk amongst yourselves.)