20 Things I Wish I Had Known at 16

20 Feb

I’ll be 31 this year. I look back over my life the last several years. I look at younger girls today and remember who I was 10 years ago; 15 years ago. I was so naive and young. I had so much to learn; so much that I learned the hard way. It wouldn’t have done any good for someone else to try to tell me. So, I would like to go back and tell myself all of things I wish I had known at 16.

image

That’s me, on the right

To the 16-year-old me:

1. Eat healthier – You won’t always have this body. You won’t always have this metabolism or be this active. Make better choices now. They will catch up with you.
2. You are not fat – You will gain weight. You will have children. Love your body now. It will change, and not always for the better.
3. Don’t worry so much about being good – Don’t break any laws or make any decisions you’ll regret. But, don’t always pass on opportunities to have fun like a teenager. You’ll regret that some day, too.
4. Kiss that boy – You like him. He likes you. Kiss him. Do not sleep with him. Just kiss him.
5. Hang out with your parents – One of these days, you’ll be a parent. You’ll have your own life and it will be a busy one. Hang out with your parents, they’re actually kind of fun.
6. Spend more time learning how to be a girl – It isn’t this horrible curse that you think it is. Learn make-up and hair tricks. It’s way more acceptable to try the crazy ones out when you’re 16, than when you’re 30.
7. Take more pictures – You will forget all of this one day. You will forget some of these people. You will forget most of these memories. Take pictures. Don’t forget.
8. Save your money – Don’t be afraid to have fun. But, don’t waste it, either. It’s much easier to learn that lesson now than it will be when you’re 25.
9. Exercise – Maybe if you learn to love it now, you won’t be fighting yourself to do it later.
10. It’s ok to say no – In fact, it’s more than ok. You will wish you had known how to do this more than once in your life. Love yourself enough to say no.
11. Don’t throw those clothes away – If they still fit, they’ll be trendy again in 20 years.
12. Keep dreaming big – One of these days, you will have the opportunity to live some of those dreams.
13. Take the trip – Go to Florida with your best friend. Go on vacation with your family. Don’t just stay home. You might miss out on the place some of your best memories could have been made.
14. Don’t let someone else live your life – People will, if you let them. The decisions you make based on the other people in your life will be the ones you will always question.
15. Go away to college – You will always wish you would have.
16. Learn – Learn to cook. Learn to paint. Learn to dance. Whatever you want to do. Learn to do it.
17. Don’t stop writing – You will learn so much about yourself by writing. You will watch yourself grow. Write all the time.
18. Speak a foreign language – Really learn it; not just enough to get by. You will always wish you did.
19. Study more – Those are the skills that will benefit you later in life. Your grades in high school and college will follow you longer than you know.
20. You are beautiful – The people who make you believe otherwise don’t matter. Don’t let them convince you that you are anything other than beautiful. You will spend a lot of years recovering from that.

I wonder how my life might have been different if I had known these things at 16. Could I have saved myself some heartache? Could I have been a better me?

What would you tell yourself if you could go back 15 years?

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