When I was 16, my oldest brother died of cancer. I had always been taught in church that ‘families can be together forever’, but I remember truly wondering what that meant. Won’t my relationship with Brian be forever changed? Won’t we loose years of growing up together? What can really make up for that?
This letter is for my younger self- at sweet 16.
First off, I’ll tell you that I still don’t have answers to all of your questions. But I can tell you that you’ll start to not be bothered by the unanswered ones. Having trust and faith in God will help. And it’s not ignorant faith, but faith that comes from experience. The faith of young people is so honest and whole-hearted, but usually hasn’t been tested yet. I was no exception at that age. But, I’ve found that experience has given me such a deep knowledge of myself and of God. You are stronger than you think.
By now, I’ve written about 3 versions of this letter as it’s been harder to write than I anticipated. The first version had a lot of advice that I’d like to give myself, so I want to include some of that here. Some of the advice is particular to me and my weaknesses. Some of it is because if I had it to do over again, I’d hope I’d make some changes. Those aren’t so much regrets (as I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes), but just knowledge that I have now that I would’ve used in my teenage years and beyond. So, here goes:
Let me reassure you that you will grow out of teenage acne (or rather, that eventually you’ll have the money and good health care to pay for the drugs to fix that problem).
You won’t be a mom in your 20’s. Reject, mourn, accept, get on with it.
You will be 30 and single and still attractive and fabulous and your family will think you’re super cool- and not a horrible old maid!
You will have so many good guy friends. Like, really good guy friends that you feel deeply for. They will fill a need in your life. Start now in cherishing friends and in keeping in touch. You need to be socially connected to survive.
Do a double major in school- music can only get you so far and guess what? You’re gonna have a career. I really great, amazing, make-lots-of-money career.
Your mom will be your best friend always.
You have an amazing thin body right now, so enjoy it! It won’t be easy to be thin forever. And, know that you’re beautiful in your uniqueness. Enjoy being different.
Don’t wait to kiss someone- there are lots of guys worth kissing, so try it out. It won’t be such a big deal latter on.
Well, my younger self, your life will be totally different than what you’ve envisioned. There will be true and deep sorrow, but also amazing opportunities, deep connections with friends, and lasting bonds with family that cannot be broken. It will be so much better than you now have planned.