Dear Me – Letter to My 16 Year Old Self

There’s a book out, and a blog for others to submit their own 16 year old self letters, and I loved the idea so much I wrote one myself. Here’s mine, and the link to the book and blog is below.

Dear Me:

Sixteen is such a magical age, isn’t? You’ve discovered love and a bit of yourself in the process, you’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as far as school goes and that’s pretty great. I even think you’re learning to love yourself, if only just a little bit, and you’re back to believing you’re going to be a writer some day. Want to know a secret? You know all those stories you send out? Some of them even get published. You’re even going to publish a couple of books all on your own. I’d like to say they are best sellers but um, they aren’t. At least not yet.

I like that you’re trying to follow the big dreams. And I like that no matter how hard it gets to keep following those dreams – and it will get devilishly hard when the kids come along – these little lessons you’re learning now will follow you for years to come.

A bit of advice? Please don’t put so much stock in your boyfriend and your friends. You will learn in a short time what most people learn and that is that life has a way of throwing forks in the road and leading everybody down different paths. It’s fine to live for the moment but don’t for a minute believe that anyone will put their hopes on hold for you, ’cause chances are they won’t and you doing that doesn’t make you a hero or a saint in their eyes. In fact, you won’t even know where they are in a few years so please, take the chance, go do Katimavik, go get that university degree. Who cares if the love of your life wants to be a machinist and can’t fathom you being a doctor?

The love of your life isn’t, sweetie. If you must know he’ll mean a hell of a lot to you and you’ll always wonder how he is, but he’s going to break your heart and you’re even going to have a good friend help in that aspect, so you know what? Love being in love for what it is – the beginning of more love in different forms later on. Keep your self respect, don’t fall so much in love you’re scared he’s going to die. He is, but it won’t be in your time, but there will be one dear friend who does. You haven’t met him yet, but his friendship will also throw your heart into a blender and make you re-evaluate your definition of what a boyfriend should be. You’re going to lose on that one, by your own choice, but you won’t lose the lesson and he will be one of only a very few true regrets you’ll carry.

Try not to carry regrets. They are a heavy weight and in all honesty, don’t we all make mistakes sometimes? Spending all that time rehashing every stupid thing you think you said, or blushing ad infinitim over wearing the wrong thing or doing that foolish move – most people don’t remember these silly things and if they do, so what? Don’t they do stupid things too? Laugh often. Laugh long, laugh until you cry, and when you cry find something to laugh over. It’s in the little joys you will find your bigger joys. Those huge giggle-fests with friends and even strangers, hey, those are things they’ll remember, not that booger on the corner of your nose. And you know what? If they do remember that and endlessly remind you of it, who needs them? Your own naggy voice is more than enough nagging to listen to in your life.

I know you’re very self-conscious right now, but try not to be. When you have kids and spend hours on gurneys getting what seems like dozens of hands groping your privates like you’re a turkey getting ready for your Christmas dinner you’ll lose this timidity. Why not lose a little of it now? Maybe later on you won’t recoil in horror when somebody suggests you dance with someone you like, putting you on the spot. Say yes! What have you got to lose?

My girl, you’ve got a lot going on and your world is about to get so very much bigger. Treasure your dad even more than you do now, he won’t around as long as you’d like him to be. Love your friends but never close the door to new ones, they will brighten up your next phases. If there’s anything you should do wholely in the moment and not lose patience with, it’s your children. It seems like a lifetime getting cranky babies to go to sleep but those little ones grow big very fast. I can tell you this because when one day you write this letter to yourself, your oldest will be 18, older than you are now.

So sweet dreams, 16 year old Cathi, no matter how old you are or how dark some days will seem, it’s those dreams that carry you on.

Catherine M. Harris

Now here’s the link to the site, to buy the book or post your own letter!