Thursday, 28 June 2012

Letter to my 16-year-old self

A little while back there was a book published which was a collection of letters from various people, written to their 16-year-old selves. It's a lovely little idea and I've written a couple myself, each time I do it I feel like I'm learning something new about myself because of little changes in the way I view the past and the present.

This time I'm writing my letter in list format because I'm lazy and I'm pretty sure that my 16-year-old self was fairly busy with exams and the like, so this should save her time.

Click, circa age 18
Hey 16-year-old me,

Hope everything is going well for you, keep revising for those Standard Grades and you'll get a pleasant surprise at the end of the summer. By the way, I'm you in ten years time, I know you think that's freaky now but pretty soon you'll get into Doctor Who and this will seem like the coolest thing ever!

So here are some little tips and pointers I want to give you (us?):

1. Be yourself. You're a pretty awesome person and in a couple of years you're going to realise that things like fitting in aren't so very important. You can be yourself without trying to be something you're not.

2. You will slowly learn to like alcohol, it will still make you feel sleepy. Cocktails are pretty good; you will love peach schnapps and lemonade!

3. Learn to talk to people about things. If something is bothering you or has happened that you don't like; tell someone. Bottling things up is not good for you.

4. See the doctor about some painkillers and help for that thing that bothers you. Turns our it's not meant to be that painful and it's going to cause problems in about eight years time, but if you see the doctor now you might be able to save 26-year-old me quite a bit of money.

5. Fight tooth, nail and claw against your final placement school at university (by the way, you get into Uni, well done). In fact, explore other universities, don't just go with the first one that offers you a place. You might quite enjoy living further away (in which case point five may be null and void).

6. Enjoy every minute with your family and friends. Remember the good times when things are bad.

7. Don't worry when things don't go to plan, sometimes things need to go wrong to let better things you never imagined happen. Go with the flow, things usually work themselves our.

8. Don't look for a boyfriend, trust me, the minute you stop looking the perfect man will come along. And you know how you always end up fancying older guys than all your friends, that's perfectly okay.

9. Carry on doing the things you love. Read, write, listen to whatever music makes you feel happy. Ten years on you're still a bookworm, you still love to write and you'll listen to almost anything. Oh, and you read Lord of the Rings every year, I hope you're impressed!

10. Over the next ten years there are going to be some fantastic highs and some terrible lows. Just keep on keeping on. I promise you, even when things are at their worst and you think there's no way out, they'll pick up, just struggle through until they do.

From
You, aged 26.

It's always an interesting exercise because it makes you wonder how your life would have been different if you'd somehow known what was coming. How much of your current life would you be willing to change?

If 16-year-old me took my advice on point five, I could find my current life totally different... Unless life is all kind of predetermined like in The Time Machine so no matter what she did, past me would still end up on the path that led me to where I am today.

All the same, even with the very wise advice from 26-year-old me, I think 16-year-old me did a pretty good job. Now if only I could get a letter from 36-year-old me to give me some pointers on the next ten years...

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