How fitting is this topic for today’s post. Today, I celebrate my birthday. My 26th birthday. My sweet sixteen was an entire decade ago, which is hard to comprehend, because sometimes sixteen feels like yesterday. When did I become an adult old enough and auhorized to give advice to a teenager? I continue to be more amazed every day at the ability of time to fly by so quickly you don’t even realize that it is happening. While most of me would never want to be a teenager again, there is always that tiny piece that reflects back and truly thinks, man I had it made. So here it is, the letter to sixteen year old me, in all its glory.
I know a lot of things are happening in life right now, and sometimes it seems overwhelming and crazy. Sixteen is a happy, confusing time, but it is so, so wonderful. The memories you are making right now are memories that you will look back on and smile. And while you may think you know more than your parents (which likely will not change as you grow up, I must say), I do have some very important advice for you.
1. Take advantage of every academic opportunity that comes your way. Internships, scholarships, advanced classes, jobs that are the pathway to the career you want. Do. it. all. Those experiences are invaluable and will help provide you with the experiences you need to be exactly who you want to be.
2. Be wise about boys. You are going to stumble across some bad apples, make some bad decisions, and ask yourself why you wasted your time. While all of these boys are preparing you for your one and only, always put yourself first, and realize that no man should make you feel like less than perfect.
3. Soak up every minute at home with your family. I know you are already excited to move out and ‘be an adult’, but once you leave, it is just never quite the same. Home will always provide comfort and a safe place, but it will change from being ‘your home’ to ‘the home you grew up in’. Soak up those special memories with mom and dad and your siblings, and give that puppy lots of cuddles and loving (because one day your baby is going to take her place as the baby of the house).
4. Eat all the food. Your metabolism will never be what it is today, so enjoy those late night pizzas and wine coolers that you know you are sneakily trying to drink on the weekends. You will always love pizza, but your thighs won’t!
5. Do what is best for you, and not what others tell you is best for you. Never question your judgement and gut feelings, because they are right. Don’t allow your judgement to be clouded by parents, boyfriends, or friends. At the end of the day, it is you and Jesus, and if the two of you can rest knowing you are happy with the decisions you have made, that is truly all that matters.
6. When mom wants to buy you clothes, let her. One day you will have to buy your own clothes, and trust me when I say clothes bought by mom are the best clothes.
7. Love every minute of dance team. You will have days where you want to quit, and days where you think it is a negative experience and isn’t worth your time. But if there is one thing from high school you will look back on and be so glad that you did, it will be joining the dance team.
8. Watch Laguna Beach, eat ice cream sundaes, and go to Caribou Coffee on Monday nights with Ally as much as you possibly can. That girl is a friend you will keep, so take care of that friendship, because she is a gem.
9. Never say never. Always know that one door may open another. A friendship might not last forever, but it might be what leads you to your own forever. Every experience you have is setting you up for the rest of your life.
10. You are going to have failures, and times where you think that you aren’t getting what you want. But you are going to have it all one day. You are going to wake up ten years from now on your 26th birthday, and pinch yourself as you look at your husband, beautiful baby, and the projects in the works for your lives and wonder how you got so lucky. Every rejection, heartbreak, and failure is leading you to exactly where you need to be. So hold on tight and enjoy the ride, because sixteen is truly the time where you are making the decisions that set you up for the rest of your life!