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Dear 16-Year-Old Me

jaylake posted a link to a moving video about skin cancer awareness called "Dear 16-Year-Old Me."

The subject is serious, and I support the idea of it.  Go, watch.  I'll wait.

(twiddling thumbs)

There!  Pretty moving, huh?

Of course, since I don't have a skin cancer (although I will check myself even more regularly now), I thought about what I would put into my "Dear 16-Year-Old Me" video if I had a chance.  This ignores that fact that I'm very happy right now, and I wouldn't want to be someone else.  If I could address myself, make changes, and not lose anything that I have now that I value, here's my script:

Dear 16-Year-Old Me,

You should be going on dates!  There are beautiful, witty, wonderful girls who you are friendly with who probably dislike staying at home on a Friday or Saturday night just as much as you do.  Get out!  Mingle with people!  Drinking warm Pepsi and eating mouthfuls of milk-chocolate stars on weekend nights while watching Creature Features or SciFi Flicks is wasting your time.

Why aren't you more engaged in your education?  Your teachers may not all be interesting, but there's cool stuff out there you could be finding out about.  If you're going to spend six hours a day in class anyways, why not learn stuff?  And for that matter, there were thousands of dollars in college tuition you could have saved if you would have earned the grades you were capable of getting.

Invest some money.  Sheesh!  This is a no-brainer.  If you put 10% of all the money you earn now into interest bearing accounts (instead of buying Pepsi and milk chocolate stars), you will be very comfortable by the time you turn . . . oh . . . 57.

Pay attention to your sisters.  What made you think you were an only child?  You have three, vital, interesting people, besides your parents, living in your house who will be a part of your life for the rest of your life.  Don't you think you should be more involved in their lives now?  Or at least show some interest in who they are now?

Oh, and this fall, when you drive a car full of your cross country team mates to the meet across town, don't speed through the school zone while changing lanes multiple times.  You put everyone at risk, and a careless driving ticket is going to cost you a bundle.

And while I'm thinking about it, get into the habit of eating more vegetables.  Lay off the fast foods.

What would you put into your "Dear 16-Year-Old Me" message?



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2012 02:51 am (UTC)
LOL - #1 - what makes you think your younger self would BELIEVE that's you? and #2 - what makes you think he'd listen to an "old man" (> 30 yrs old) any more than he listened to anyone else? I know what *I* would have thought if my 61-yr-old self marched back in time to deliver a lecture. Bwahahaha!

What *does* work a bit better is convincing myself to do wiser things NOW for the benefit of my little-bit-older self. Like, back before I retired (sorry, I have to wangle that into all possible conversations else I'll never believe it myself), I'd talk myself into going back downstairs and setting up the coffee pot and making the next day's brekkers and lunch so my Tomorrow Self would thank me. Odd how often that works
Jan. 14th, 2012 07:34 pm (UTC)
Dear 16-Year-Old Me
First of all, that guy you're head-over-heels about? Ditch him. Seriously. He's going to spend the next four years telling you how fat you are and making you feel terrible about yourself. Don't wait until he tries to make you choose between him and your family to figure out you should have dumped him. Ditch him now and save yourself a lot of misery. You're smart and funny and adorable, and I know for a fact that there are other guys around you who would date you in a heartbeat.

Spend time with your mother. Don't begrudge her an instant. In three years, she will be gone, and there are things about her last couple of years that you will regret for the rest of your life. You can change that by just spending time with her. Trust me on this.

Don't let anyone talk you out of majoring in theater. Don't let anyone tell you that it's not worth it to try. Don't let anyone blackmail you out of that dream.

Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep reading. Keep reading. And when Tom invites you to go see a movie called "Rocky Horror Picture Show," accept the invitation. You'll be glad you did.

Jan. 21st, 2012 09:18 am (UTC)
Dear 16 year old me
Dear 16 year old me,
Keep up the good work, but broaden your horizons. Read new authors, ask more questions and listen more than you speak. You are going to have some great adventures; embrace them. One day, not too many years from now, you are going to meet some crazy co-workers at a restaurant. Whatever you do, don't go out drinking with them as you'll hear about it for the rest of your life. You are unique, be OK with that. When you meet people who you think should love and accept you and they don't, don't let their view of you cause you to be discouraged. You are not what they think you are. Pay attention and use sunscreen. Dark freckles all over your back are not attractive and Squamous Cell Skin cancer isn't any fun. Learn to love and accept your siblings, they will grow up to be some of your favorite people. Don't ever lose your passion for growth, it will sustain you. Spend time with Mom and cherish her health, for there will be many, many years when you will wish she still had it. Think about saving some money, before you know it, you will be looking at retirement and an empty savings account and you will wonder where the heck it all went. By the way, metabolisms change, develop some discipline in the matter of eating - especially chocolate. When those nieces and nephews and godkids are born, pay attention. Theg grow so darn fast and you don't want to miss it. Love your community, but be yourself. Don't allow God to be defined strictly by His fallen world, He is so much bigger than that. Try becoming more athletic. One pound a year gained, adds up to way too much by the time you're 51!

Edited at 2012-01-21 09:24 am (UTC)
Heaven LyZ
Jan. 23rd, 2012 03:28 pm (UTC)
Dear Sixteen-year-old Sons
Since my boys turned that magical corner this December, it's high time I wrote a gentle nudge as a reminder.

Dear sons,

I know you think you've finally got a handle on life and are ready to make those magical decisions only you can make. Pay attention to flashing lights, mental alarms, and the words of family and friends. Their investments in you are based on love and they want what is best for you.

Get up early enough to watch the sun rise. Stay up late not for homework, but for the night sky, ablaze with wonder and magic. Sleep deeply, drinking from the well of dreams and inward journeys that refresh the soul. Pluck on the strings that reverberate with your true nature; leave the others for fellow travelers. Carve through new powder, laugh at life, learn to turn your face to wonder. Walk away from self-doubt, discard dishonesty, shun pity and fear. Pick your way among the scree, believing in your internal compass and focusing on the mountain peaks ahead.

Find respite in the company of friends, in the lilt of music, the glory of light. Watch for moments of beauty and store them deep in your mind to replay when life's winds batter and wrench you from the familiar into the unknown.

Do not fear death. Rather, live and love with your entire being. Treasure the moments you've been given and make the most of each one. Sure, eat your vegetables. Discover double-salted licorice, mango juice down the chin, and the power of the sea. Take time to lie in the grass and drift with the clouds. Dream big, take risks, and mount on the wings of eagles! You are amazing miracles. You may be twins, but you are each your very own special gift. Do not waste energy comparing yourselves to one another. Invest that time and thought marshaling that formidable and unique array of talents and gifts. I believe in you. I love you with all my heart. Follow your calling, your dream. Hold true, persevere, find joy.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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