Theme Thursday: Dear Self At Sixteen-Get A Life!

Theme ThursdayTheme Thursday is a time for people to rejoice.  It is that special time of the week where the heavens open up and angels sing because the most awesome writers in the world get together and write about a common theme.   Today’s topic is “Write a letter to your sixteen year old self.” 

Four out of five dentists recommend Theme Thursday.

Oops, wrong letter.

Oops, wrong letter.

Dear Self at Sixteen:

First of all, congratulations.  If you are reading this then you have survived to adulthood, and into your late 30s even.  I’m writing to offer you some advice.  Listen up, I’m not as nice now as I was when I was your age.  I mean I’m still pretty nice, I’m just a little wiser.  Someday you’ll have a blog with that word in the title.  Don’t get too excited, it’s not like it sounds.

So you’ve recently moved to Iowa.  You left the sunny coast of Florida, and you feel like you left your whole life behind.  Believe it or not your life is not over.  The weather (and maybe some of the people) may be much nicer down there but there are some things that are way better here.  For example, no hurricanes.  It’s all good.  You won’t realize how nice the Midwest is until you are much older, and then you’ll learn to appreciate it.

That hair.  My what big hair you have.  Big hair does not equate coolness.  Wait until the Twenty Teens, you’ll look back on that hair and wonder what the hell you were thinking.  Get some bangs cut, pull it back and get it out of your face.  Speaking of your appearance, you are not fat, and certainly not close to being fluffy (except maybe the hair).  The sad thing is that the ideal that our society idolizes is only going to get much more unrealistic.  Do what feels right-walk, do some exercise, but don’t take it to extremes.  You’re only setting yourself up-come to find out no matter how thin you get you won’t think it’s thin enough.  It’s called body dysmorphia, and guess what-you have it.

Oh my, what big hair you have.

They told me I’d have hair like Jon Bon Jovi.  Why did I listen????

While we’re on the subject of appearance, quit acting stupid.  Stop pretending to be normal.  You’re not, and that’s ok.  You can recite The Empire Strikes Back word for word, can read a whole book in one day, and have an undying love for all things geeky.  Don’t stop being yourself just because you’ve moved to corn country and feel you have to act a certain way to fit in.  The normal people are not the people you want to hang out with anyway.  You will find friends who appreciate the same kinds of things that you do, just give it time.

And speaking of being stupid, ditch the boyfriend.  Cultivate your friendships instead.  The friendships will last, the boyfriend will not.  There are far far worse things than being alone, and the friends will not go away.  Besides, the boyfriend is just a stupid guy who has a lot of growing up to do, as are all teenage guys.  Trust me on this one.  You’ll know love on down the road, this is not it.  You’ll have your heart broken more than once, and even when you find the one, it will not be perfect.

Almond kids

THIS is love.

Don’t listen to or waste time on toxic people.  They don’t know anything.  Don’t let others pee on your dreams.  Take some time to figure out what you want to do.  Don’t settle for anything less.  Do you want to write?  Then write.  Do you want to teach in early childhood?  Don’t let other people try to discourage you, especially those who tell you things like “You can’t ever teach kids, you don’t hold your pencil right.”  The last time I checked, holding your pencil one way or another does not dictate where you will go in life.  Do you want to take French AND Spanish your Senior year?  Don’t let that guidance counselor sell you short by telling you that you’ll get confused and get talked into taking Foods.  Do you want to go to the college that won’t offer huge scholarships and grants to you?  Figure out some way to get there.  Find ways to succeed.  Don’t let other people try to stop you.

Quit being afraid in general.  The world does not need more Camerons.  They need more Ferrises.  They also need more people that can tell you what the plural of Ferris actually is.  He’s right you know-Life does move pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you might miss it.  When you are in your 30s and have kids, you’ll know what I’m referring to.  You’ll even write a blog post about it.

Life is not easy.  It’s also not fair.  There’s no perfect.  Even people who seem perfect or have the perfect relationship, trust me, it’s all a lie.  Things will be good and things will be bad.  Often there will not be an in between.  Life should resemble a roller coaster more than it should seem like a sidewalk.  And you know what?  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.


Your 38 and almost 11/12ths year old self

Not too shabby for approaching 40...

Not too shabby for approaching 40…

Don’t hesitate to take a look at what other people wrote to themselves.  Join us at the link up on Something Clever 2.0 for the other Theme Thursday posts. And don’t forget to brush your teeth (as recommended by those four dentists…duh).

43 thoughts on “Theme Thursday: Dear Self At Sixteen-Get A Life!

  1. I love it! I’m going to be 40 next week and I have to say, if I was writing a letter to my 16 year old self, I would say quite a bit of that. Especially the part about the boyfriend, the hair and not being fat. Sheesh! Do all girls have those issues. 🙂 thank you, Sarah!

  2. A. Wonderful read! B. You are beautiful, inside AND out & you look not a bit different from back in high school! C. It’s so fun to read your thoughts about you back then, because I remember when you came to the “midwest” & I thought you were so cool, with your gorgeous red hair & confidence up to here! I never saw you as geeky or shy, and I always wanted to be your friend. 🙂 I now see that I was drawn to you for our mutual nerdi/geekiness. 😀 Thank you for being YOU!!!

  3. Umm, what’s wrong with your 16 year old hair, Missy? Mine looked just like that from roughly ages15-21. I shudder to think of what the me now would write to my 16 year old self. But you’re absolutely right about what real love is – your children are so darling, my friend!

  4. This was a great post. If only we ALL had letter like these to read at 16. But then again, would we have listened. It would have been great to have the knowledge we have now back then. Could have saved a lot of heartache. But it might not have been as much fun.

  5. Great letter! I, too, had the 80s hair only worse–mine is naturally curly and already big and I decided to get a perm. I need to tell my 16 year old self to stay away from the perm! And I need to remind my older self about the toxic people; I still struggle with that.

    • My hair is naturally wavy, but there is no rhyme or reason to it. So when the hairdresser lets it go natural, it looks like I just got out of bed or something. I used to perm my hair to tame it-that’s one of the perms in the picture!

      Toxic people have made my life miserable, especially in my later adult life!

  6. Your comment on wasting time on toxic people was spot on. I didn’t learn that in my teens, and it would have saved me a lot of tears. Great letter!

  7. You probably wouldn’t have listened to your 38-year-old self any more than you probably listened to your mother, who, no doubt, had many of the same experiences and tried to shield you from the same hurts and missteps at that age. Enough breathless prose–you turned out fine!

  8. I don’t know that I agree that you should cut bangs. I had bangs and they just added all kinds of hugeness to my wild-ass hair (also lots of minutes to my morning getting ready routine)!

    And AMEN to the “you’re not fat” thing! I thought the same thing and now I look at pictures of my high school self and wonder if I ever ate.

    Also – I love that you quoted Ferris Bueller. I’m pretty sure there is a line from that movie that applies to any and all situations in life. 🙂

  9. Great letter! You may need to dust it off and tweak it for your daughter one day. Not that she’ll listen. Because she’ll be just like the rest of us at 16.

  10. Sarah, I love this! I also swear you look better now than you did then, but that may be the big hair getting in the way. No, literally. The big hair got in the way of me seeing your face. And that t-shirt that’s 5 sizes too big? NOT HELPING.

    Although I want to say the jorts are my favorite part of this photo, they’re not. It’s the huge sunflowers that are several feet taller than you. Okay, it’s not so much that, as the fact you felt compelled to stand there in your rocking outfit and have your picture taken with it. Priceless.

    And I was the exact opposite of you in high school. I soooo would have been your Ferris. I guess I still can be. Wanna go find a parade and dance on a float?

  11. There is nothing wrong with being different. Nerds are awesome! I always have been, and always will be a little odd. This made me laugh, think, and want to brush my teeth. Great post, lady!

    And yes – the hair – what in the flying monkeys were we thinking?!

  12. I saw another one of these posts today, I love them! What a great idea, and I liked your letter. High five for being able to recite the Empire Strikes Back word for word. 🙂

  13. Pingback: Might As Well Face It, I’m No Robert Palmer | The Sadder But Wiser Girl

Whatcha Thinkin?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s