Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self

I am following many bloggers in writing this letter. The genesis of all of these blogs is the recently released Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self, edited by Joseph Galliano. It is full of such letters by celebrities. I like the idea of us every-day-folks writing and sharing our own letters, so here goes.

Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Self:

This is the best physical shape you will ever be in…don’t get lazy! Remember a couple of years ago when you took up running…for 3 months? Well, give it another try! And that weight-lifting idea? Do it! The weight lifting club is really not just for guys even though most of them were glaring at you…a couple of them were eager to teach you the basics of weight lifting. Don’t be shy!

Don’t get so hung up on grades, but when you don’t get into AP English, raise a ruckus until they let you in! Turns out they just thought you were too shy to contribute to the discussion. Boy were they wrong! And as for picking a college and a major, well go with the college choice (that’s where you meet your one and only!), but think hard about the major. Don’t just go with the toughest major imaginable because you are bored in high school. Do it if you want to, you will learn a LOT, you will fail a LOT, you will then learn a LOT more! Don’t despair, nothing great is ever achieved without pushing yourself to the point of failure…over and over again. Push anyway.

But if you rethink the whole major thing…think about English (note, the ruckus mentioned above)…you have latent talent and you should write every day, no matter what major you choose. If you get a semester or two into college and want to change majors, just do it, don’t get all hung up on finishing everything you start. Don’t give up on the guy though…he’s a keeper!

When you graduate from high school and just want to go as far away as possible and start fresh without knowing anyone…do it. But keep those high school friends close too. You’ll be surprised at how much you want to reconnect with them later in life, when it just might be too late. Seek out a semester abroad program…even if it is in a different major.

Plan your life, but expect that real life will be different. I know you think you will establish a career before getting married, but you will be surprised at 18 to find “the one” and that’s ok. You can still have the career.

Build your self-esteem muscles, because your lack of self-confidence is your own worst enemy. Exercising and standing up for yourself (whether your right to use the weight room or getting into AP English) are two great ways. Don’t be afraid to put off dating until college either, you won’t regret it.

Stay close to your sisters, because as different from you as they seem and as different as you want to be…embrace your shared life and keep in touch. One day you will be entreating your own children to do the same.

Remember when you went out dirt-bike riding with those boys and had so much fun? Remember how you missed your second voice lesson because of that and were too embarrassed to go to another lesson? Call that opera lady up and beg her to take you back as a student. It’s not okay to give up dreams over whims or boys.

But most of all, find the Joy in the Journey! Good luck, the best is yet to come!

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