Dear teenage me, what would I say to my younger self now that I have nearly thirty years of life experience? I read an article recently that gave me this idea.
We all think that the world is working against us in our younger years. I made decisions I wish I could reverse because I didn’t know any better. Here’s what I’d say if I could send a letter fifteen years into the past.
Dear Teenage Me – Look at the World with a Level Head
You’ve been brought up by a deeply religious family. Guilt will be your companion for years, not because you did anything wrong, but because you were compared to an ideal that’s impossible to live up to.
Science is your passion, but you won’t pursue that love until years later. The beliefs of your family will make you question your every move. Go to college and study the sciences instead of wasting your time pursuing falsehoods and the ideals of liars.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with exploring new experiences. Trepidation and doubt will get you nowhere in the long term. Stop worrying about your status in an organisation based on oppression.
Dear Teenage Me – Learn to Love Yourself
You hate yourself. The way you look and feel is a source of constant concern because you have no one to guide you. Your sensitive nature might be the object of ridicule now, but it will ultimately be the characteristic that wins you the love of your life.
Your sticky out ears really are not a problem of universal importance, although it might feel like it now. Furthermore, changing your image to “fit in” might silence the bullies for a time, but you’ll lose your individuality in the process.
Treasure what makes you different, otherwise it’ll be years before you have the courage to drop the facade.
Friends are Important, Learn to Recognise Who they Are
Dear teenage me, your quest to fit in might gain you some acceptance for a time but these are not real friends. Your hard work will gain you popularity among a few, but their intentions are not long term.
You will lend money to “friends” who have no intention of repaying it. Your generous nature will get you into trouble and the ones you hoped would support you will disappear like steam in a breeze.
The relationships you have nurtured since childhood will be for nought. The extreme morality of your religious community will lead to shunning that will damage your very soul.
Spend more time with your Nan. She’s wise and gentle. You have far less time than you think.
In 2006 you will meet a kind and tender person called Beccy. Don’t allow the years to pass without getting close to her. She and later her husband will provide a warmth of friendship you’ve never experienced before.
Don’t Waste Time on Relationships – You’ll Fall in Love When You’re Ready
You’ll spend a good portion of the next few years imagining there’s something wrong with you. There isn’t. You just haven’t found the right person yet.
Soon after you turn eighteen, you’ll meet the most wonderful person you’ll ever know. She’ll change your life and teach you what love really means.
In the years that follow, you’ll look into the eyes of your son and wonder why you ever worried about anything. You’ll discover a connection on a level you could never have dreamed existed and you’ll be happy.
Dear Teenage Me – You’ll find Your Own Path in Work
The challenges of your youth mean you’ll do several years of meaningless work. It pays the bills, but it’s about as stimulating as a brick.
Eventually you’ll find a career you love, get the education you hoped for and make a success of yourself. If you get the opportunity to make that apprenticeship application earlier, don’t hesitate, get it done.
Don’t keep comparing yourself to your teenage peers. Your misguided aspirations to be like them will seem pointless in the extreme with hindsight. You’ll buy the home you dreamed of, support the family you love and everything will seem just right.
Dear Teenage Me – It’ll be Alright in the End
There’s going to be a few instances of heartache in the coming years. You’ll lose your Mum in a moment of futility but you’ll grow closer to the rest of your family. You’ll have the support you need at home from your wife and son to see you through too.
What I want this message to say most of all is, don’t worry. Don’t fret over the unimportant things. Eventually, life will be everything you’d hoped for.
My wife wrote something similar to this too. Worth a read.
What would you say to your teenage self?