Monday, February 8, 2010

Letter to my teenage self

Dear 16-year-old me,

There are just some things I want to tell you. Important things. Things that - when you’re 28 - you’ll wish you’d heard and taken to heart.

Be more kind to your mother, she loves you very much and some day she’ll be your closest ally. I know she drives you bonkers about cleaning your room and asking where you’re going and if your homework is done, but it’s because she has big hopes for you and wants what’s best. I know you both say hurtful things at times, but try not to say anything you’ll regret. Your relationship with her will get better, I promise – when you go to college, you’ll feel lost without her in your day-to-day life. From then on, your bond will only continue to grow. So cherish your moments with her, and with your dad. He’s an incredible man, and he’s going to carry your heavy-ass bed and dresser up and down various apartment building stairs about 7 times in the next few years. He’s quiet, and doesn’t always know how to articulate feelings, so take the time to listen. It'll be good practice, because you have no idea how much your husband will be like him.

Same goes for your sister. She just wants to be around you because she looks up to you. Be nice to her, she really is an awesome person. One day you’ll ask yourself frequently if she’s too skinny because of your harsh words, and it’s going to hurt very badly. You’ll carry a lot of guilt for it. You’re very different people, but one day you’ll get along much better, and she’ll stand proudly beside you on your wedding day. She’s the only sister you’ll ever have, so make sure she knows how very much you love her. When she moves away, take time to talk or text (great new technology headed your way!) to her often, because she’s really homesick.

When it comes to boys, you’re going to make some bad choices, but it all works out in the end. That high school boyfriend you love so much is going to break your heart, hate to tell ya. It’s going to hurt something fierce and make your heart ache like nothing you’ve ever felt. But I assure you it’s for the best. He smells like boy funk anyway and his mom is obnoxious. When you meet a guy who you suspect might drink too much, run. You can’t save him. Actually, that’s hard to say, because you’re going to learn a lot. Wait, yes, RUN. You deserve better than how you’ll allow a few of them to treat you. The one before your husband will be the most difficult, because you’ll feel stuck and like you managed to make the same mistake as before yet again. Your pride with be bruised. But be strong, walk out. When your parents hesitate to think moving in with him is a good idea, listen to them. They’re not raining on your parade for shits and giggles. They know something better is in store, too.

Speaking of the high school boy, when you break up, you’re going to lose some friends. They’re young and they’re going to take sides. Don’t take the ones who side with you for granted – keep in touch with them. In fact, keep in better touch with all your friends – before you know it, they’ll be in different parts of the country and you won’t see a lot of them again. So when you find a good friend, put effort into those relationships. Sure, they’ll ebb and flow as life happens to you all, but there are some you will always be able to count on.

And when you meet a tall, sweet man with a kind smile and lot of tattoos, you’ll know you’ve finally found your home. You won’t believe me when you see him, but I assure you he’s The One. He’ll remember exactly what you wore on your first date, and he’ll try to tell you he loves you with red roses, but you’ll be too dense to read between the lines. He’ll ask you to marry him while you’re dancing in pajamas. And on your wedding day, you’ll know for sure that everything life has thrown at you has been to bring you to this perfect moment.

So it’s kind of a lot to remember. You’ll have amazing times and really rough times. You’ll make good decisions and bad ones. Just always try to be sure of your choices, even if the end result sucks. Be open in your judgment of both people and options. Live to have no regrets.


28-year-old you/Me

P.S. You’re not going to be an optometrist. You, my dear, are going to be a tax analyst. Isn’t that exciting?!


Anonymous said...

I love the paragraph about your sweet. Don't you wish you could go back in time for real and just have a chat with your younger self? Oh the things I would do differently.

KingstonsQueen said...

I struggle with wondering if I'd really do things differently. I am the Brooke I am today because of lot of experiences. I just wish I could take the emotion out of it.

Karen said...

You have captured the essence of what growing up is all about. Everyone should be so lucky to have such insight at age 28. Your children will be blessed by your wisdom and experience. Growing pains were real for us all, even for the old ones like me!

Amanda said...

Your letter gave me chills! I'm constantly amazed looking back on life how my choices in the past made me who I am today. It's crazy to think about those days knowing what you know now!