Friday, October 14, 2011

Dear 16 year old me...

It was my birthday earlier this week. I'm much older than 16, but then my husband might argue that point given my penchant for Top 40s music, ridiculously high platform heels and skinny jeans. Despite that fact, I thought it might be fun to reminisce about when I actually was 16 years old and what I might tell myself if I could send myself a letter... Not that I would listen to any of it. I was an exceedingly hard headed teen and not all that fun to be around. In fact, I might not even like me if I met me at this age... whoa. I think a little smoke came outta my ears...

Dear 16 year old me,

There are a few things your older self would like to let you know as you embark on this year, growing ever more adult. I realize that you will not actually listen to any of this, but it may give you pause for just a split second and that might indeed save your life!

First, let's talk about your car. I realize that you think the VW bug is the be-all and the end-all right now. Cherish it. It is the most quirky and fun memory you will have about driving unfettered from here on out. You will look back on your life in that car with fond memories for many years to come. The heater that fries your feet and yet won't defrost the windshield will become a source of joyous laughter later on. The fact that your Dad tries to teach you time and again how to maintain it will give you a sense of thankfulness when you have a man who will do those things for you. It will also give you a confidence in life that you would never guess... The fact that your purchased the entire car for $250 will be a source of fondness as well. Trust me, you will never have another running vehicle at that price again!

Your Mom is about to have a baby boy. He will be a great source of joy later in life, but right now, you will be far too self involved to make time for him. Understand that that choice will have consequences, but hopefully he will forgive you. That baby will grow into an incredibly intelligent, witty, caring man that will awe and entertain you. Take just a moment to look at him and appreciate that. Even though your first date will assume he is your baby, you can love him all the more.

There is a guy on the horizon that will not be as much fun. He will seem like a good time, but give him a couple of years and you will find that he is the snake everyone will try to warn you about. Rest assured you will grow immensely through this pain. You will come to appreciate your family in surprising ways when he breaks your heart and you will also be able to recognize his type later on. This is one of those things you have to weather, 16 year old me, but it is also one of the things that will make you a very strong individual who knows what she wants in a man. Um, trust me when I say, he is not it!

You will have a job soon. It will be a job, not a career. Enjoy it while it lasts and soak in all you can. You will look back on the environment with happiness and chalk up the experience as a decent one. It will be the source of great joy as it will introduce you to the land of high heeled shoes. There is no turning back from that love! You should try to remember, however, that you don't like the restaurant business and never ever attempt to wait tables for a living... You are really bad at it! Oh, wait... You will wait tables. And you will be very bad at it!

Take a good look around that school you attend. Yes, I know, "High school is so lame!" But really, it is the last chance you get before reality will set in for you and you will spend the rest of your days earning money. It has its pitfalls, to be sure, but it is truly the best time of your life. You have youth, energy, intelligence and very little responsibility. Do all you can, go to every dance, date, join clubs, try out for drama... The sun will set on these opportunities all too soon and you will look wistfully back and wish you hadn't been so intent on growing up so soon.

Your parents really do love you, although you are pretty sure they are about the most clueless set of humans on earth. In a few short years you will realize just how much they put up with to love you and how much you made them worry. Don't fret about it. Just say you're sorry and hug them. They will prove time and again that family will be there when everyone else turns away.

Most of all, 16 year old me, you should know you will be ok. You will turn out alright, you will resurrect certain dreams later on in life and you will find love. You will have children who love you and a husband that cherishes you. You would never believe me if I told you the amazing things you will do, so I will leave that for you to experience yourself. Just know that I look back on you with a wry smile and know that without you and your impetuousness, I wouldn't be the woman I am today!


A Much Older Me

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