Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Letter to My 16 Year Old Self

One of my best and oldest girlfriends came to visit me for a few days. We have been friends since first grade and have grown up together. Now in our mid-twenties, we spent a lot of our visit reminiscing over how stupid we used to be. We discussed the things we would have done differently, the mistakes we made, and the hindsight that we have now. It got me to thinking how much easier things would have been if I could have given myself a good kick in the pants when I was young and dumb and wonderfully skinny.

It's too late to save myself, but maybe there is someone out there who is reading Les Miserables during geometry class that could benefit from my mistakes.

So, a letter to my 16 year old self:

Dear Me,

Right now you're probably eating cheese fries or a candy bar, or maybe you're double fisting both at the same time. And you know what? Knock yourself out. Eat more junk. Exercise even less. You'll only be able to get away with it for a few glorious years. Enjoy them while you can. Oh, and buy a bikini and wear it as often as possible.

Stop caring about who's popular and start caring about who's interesting. The best kind of people are those who are never afraid to be purely and entirely their weird selves. Don't alter yourself to fit in with the crowd, and don't waste your time with the people that do. Popularity ends with high school so don't put too much stock in it. That guy that put a beetle in your hair is unemployed and that quiet kid from the Czech Republic has a law degree from Harvard.

Speaking of Harvard . . . college is expensive. Seize all the opportunities for getting college credits during high school that you can. They're about a hundredth of the cost. Remember how you didn't want to walk a $20 check down to the office so you could get three college credits for your stupid interior design class? Yeah, you're an idiot.

College is expensive but that doesn't mean you have to race through it. Sure it's nice to be done fast, but it might also be nice to spend more than an afternoon picking your major.

Also I don't know why you think you're Haitian, but you have pale skin and freckles. So start wearing sunscreen.

Travel travel travel. This will be your only time to travel again until you're arthritic and break a hip coming down Machu Picchu. Don't stress about money, you're broke anyway, quit making excuses and go see everything you can. Eat new food, meet new people, and get stuck in an airline strike in Italy by yourself for two days with no money and no luggage.

Spend a little more time with your family and a little less time with your friends. I know it's not the cool thing to do to spend Friday night watching Rosemary's Baby with your mom, but that's who's going to be there for you for the rest of your life. Don't put those relationships on hold just to spend more time drawing parallels between your latest breakup and the lyrics of a N'Sync song.

And lastly, a mean boy will tell you that your new tan sweater makes you look like a baked potato. Wear it anyway. That boy is a loser.

Now go eat some cheese fries for us.

Future You

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