Dear 16 Year Old Me…
There is so much that I want to tell you right now. I can’t and won’t spoil all the surprises but I think you’d benefit from knowing a few things. First and most importantly, you are currently dwelling on certain things that will inevitably fade into obscurity:
- In less than two years, you will have nearly died three times. These near-death experiences will teach you the value of life and permanently curb the childish lack of responsibility you feel now. No, I won’t tell you how to avoid them. They are some of the best things that ever happened to you even though they won’t feel like it at the time.
- The girl you’re with now… she’s going to wreck your perception of life in a way you can’t even begin to imagine. Your friends will all tell you how horrible she was, at the posthumous memorial of your relationship. Sorry Don, she really is that fucking crazy, but you already knew that and at 16 it’s already too late to avoid it.
- Your heart will be broken more than once. You will break a few hearts. Your best friend will betray you. Don’t worry, it inevitably bites him in the ass and you’re still friends today. He will always need you even if he doesn’t think so for about 5 years.
- Your mom will suggest a hairstyle involving a curling iron. She is crazy, avoid this at all costs.
- You really don’t need that extra slice of pizza in the cafeteria line. Stop eating so much! Did anyone ever figure out what they put in school pizza? It can’t have been sanitary.
- Your family will separate into factions and acclimate for war. You will remain neutral. Stay that way because it is not your fault.
- You will never have the relationship you want with your father. He is incapable because his father was incapable. He will pass away without ever having known you and frankly, it’s his loss not yours.
Secondly, without spoilers, these nuggets of knowledge might help you along the way.
- You are going to have this amazing idea of becoming a writer. You will fail to follow through with it until you are 30 years old. Don’t give up your passions so easily. You are full of great ideas; you may not have faith in yourself right now, but for me, for us, pursue them.
- Not everyone is worthy of your faith and trust. Give yourself honestly and fully only to those who deserve it.
- When a girl suggests you get a tattoo while you are drunk… just say no!
- You should enjoy the company of Donja, while you can. She will not last forever but you will remember her always. Especially on very dark and stormy nights.
- At some point in the future, you are going to have to acclimate yourself to alcohol for a second time. You are going to do it wrong and embarrass yourself. Be thankful for the great friends you have to save you.
- Don’t feel guilty about not knowing what you want to do with your life. You won’t figure this out for some time. You’re not the only one who doesn’t know. I still know people who don’t really know what they want to be. When you do figure it out, it’ll have made sense all along. Your passions will guide you.
Finally, a few things you might have sincere trouble believing but trust me. I am, after all, you.
- You are uniquely talented. Stop questioning it and just believe it.
- You are not as clever as you think you are right now, but you will be.
- You aren’t always right; however, you are most of the time.
- You will eventually meet a woman worthy of your affections, you will not be good enough for her but she’ll forgive and marry you anyway.
- Vegetables are not disgusting; you will learn to like many of them including zucchini.
- You will become the man most women wish they had, short of the harlequin obsessed ones.
- You will grow into a confident, successful and generally great guy.
- The anger will fade and you will be loved for your even-keeled sensibilities.
- You will get published, small steps first!
- You are never further from your dreams than the exertion of a little effort.
I realize that you are 16, you know everything, you’re cocky and arrogant, maybe even a douchebag by my standards today. You will humor me by reading it to the end only to respond with a sneer and a laugh at the audacity that I make such claims; but one day, not long off, you will sit before this keyboard and type an “I told you so.”
With love and understanding,
What would you tell yourself if you could send a message back? Tell me about it!