Dear Me at 16,
You know all too well the mantra of “progress, not perfection,” though I can’t think of a time when you settled for anything but perfection. Well, prepare yourself now, because the next 10 years will be far less than perfect.
But they will also form you. Right now your mind is filled with abstract hopes and dreams of a life you have not yet experienced. Ironically, ten years later you’ll long for the optimism, hope and yearning that comes from that same inexperience. Appreciate it now – it will never come back.
You have no idea how strong you are. You are dependent, obedient, meek. But you will have experiences that you are positive will break you. They won’t. Instead, they will cement in you a power of survival that you will take with you throughout your life. But remember that you’re not all strength and steel. You’re also flesh and blood and soul, and most importantly – a woman. You will learn to be vulnerable again, and realize in time that softness is not weakness.
You are a people-pleaser. Don’t let go of this charitable attitude but take care to look out for yourself as well as others, and accept that some people – especially men – will ask too much of you. Free yourself of obligation.
You are smart – so much smarter than you give yourself credit for. What was once your greatest pride will slowly shift as you become more concerned with your beauty, image and the pleasure of being ‘liked.’ I wish, wish wish you wouldn’t shadow your intellect with your image. Don’t completely replace a library with a gym, or a museum with a mall. Your mind is your greatest gift. I wish we had appreciated it more.
I wish I could tell you more, but I’m only ten years ahead. I’m optimistic for the future, and I feel content with the person we have become. She is strong but fragile, charitable yet assured, and always working to improve herself - body, mind and spirit. We have created an impressive woman.
Thank you for your dreams. We’re getting there.