Things I wish I could tell my 16 year-old self (and I probably would have ignored)

At some point in my 20’s or 30’s I began to realize that I had been an incredible butthead in my teenage years.  And then I realize what a butthead I was in my 20’s.  And then my 30’s etc.  But rather than beating myself up about it, I decided to make a list.

I am really good at those, especially when they include the important task of examining the insides of my eyelids for about 15 minutes each day.

Now there are no delusions in my head that a 16 year-old me would listen. Especially if the person speaking were related to me in any way.  But I want to pretend, because listening or no, the information does tend to go into the ears.

  • Go easier on yourself and other people.  Ease up on the expectation and be extravagant with trying to see other peoples point of view.  Give yourself a break and practice ignoring critical voices, unless they are constructive and loving.
  • If you did your best, there is no regret that you didn’t try hard enough.
  • Examine your risks carefully and consider outcomes, and then jump in if it still suits you.
  • You are so, so beautiful.  And you will just get more and more beautiful until you have babies.  And then you will understand that you are really ok, and then you will have wrinkles and all the stuff you thought you would never get, but you will be happy.  Enjoy now what you have in your beauty.
  • You won’t miss all the fun if you stay home and learn how to enjoy your own company doing something you love.  Especially something creative.
  • Having a boyfriend isn’t really all it is cracked up to be.  But if you must, make sure he treats you really, really well.  And he should treat his mom well too, because that tells more about him than you can now estimate.
  • Tell the truth and learn how to stay grounded.  People you will meet might be crazy, trust your instincts.  They are a real gift and they compile and assess information that comes not necessarily verbally or physically.
  • Be kind to people, but hold your boundaries.  If there is stuff you don’t feel comfortable with, just scram or don’t be afraid to say “back off”.
  • Be gentle to people’s hearts, especially young men.  Don’t be a homewrecker.  It’s bad news.
  • It is worth the effort to establish good habits of keeping stuff in balance.  By stuff I mean your physical well-being, your mental well-being, your spiritual well-being, and other parts of you.  Sitting around eating ice cream and watching the tube is good sometimes, but practice things that are good for you too, because you can get a taste for them, and they can become habit-forming.
  • Avoid negative people.  They are exhausting.
  • Practice being a good thing wherever you go, even if and especially when you are tired, or otherwise not in a really great spot.  Don’t share your gloom with everyone, try to share your good stuff, your smile, wit and dashing sense of style.  Or, you can just be quiet too.  That works.
  • Look for opportunities to be generous with a good thing for someone else and then carry it out, you will never regret it.
  • Don’t miss a chance to encourage a friend or acquaintance with noticing a positive thing about them.  It can really change a person’s day, and you have the power to do that.  Use that power!
  • Figure out the most amazing thing you would want to do in life, and then head in that direction.  If you don’t make it, you will still go further than if you assumed you couldn’t do anything at all.
  • Practice listening well to people.  Hear what their heart speaks, when it is necessary.  Sometimes it is hard to just shut up and listen, but it is a valuable, valuable skill.

Ugh, and then the realization that… I still haven’t mastered many of these things well.  I guess that means I got something to work towards still. What would you tell your 16 year-old self?

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