What Would You Say?

I’m feeling a little bit nostalgic after that last post, plus I heard from a lot of friends I grew up with but hadn’t seen in years and I started remembing what it was like back in the day. As I mentioned, I went to Catholic school which meant I went all the way through elementary school, junior high and high school pretty much with the same group of people. High school was just one long brutal kick in the ass, wasn’t it? Then I remembered that I recently commented on my twitter pal Mary’s blog over at Every Day Baby Steps when she asked the question, “What Would You Tell Your Teenage Self?”

Her post caused me to think about if I could sit down with the very stubborn, willful, insecure 16 year old me that existed so many years ago, what would I say? More importantly, what would I tell myself to do differently knowing now what I didn’t know then? I put a lot more thought into this comment than I think I ever have because question really made me think back to who I was then vs. who I am today.

Things I Would Do Differently:

I would look at myself with so much more respect.

I would admire my body instead of tearing it down.

I would not pay any attention to the boys or friends who pressured me to do things that didn’t feel right at the time.

I would realize that the boys who didn’t love me were fools because I had so much more to offer than the little part of my soul I allowed them to see.

I would realize that real friends build you up and never tear you down.

I would realize that the most popular girl in high school is probably just as insecure as me, she’s just a better actor…and if I had crystal ball…I’d realize she would be on a level playing field at our 20 year reunion.

I would realize that my parents loved me more than anything on the planet and weren’t correcting me just to make my life difficult.

I would look at teachers and realize the sacrifice they make each and every day for the next generation…sometimes with no thanks and little pay.

I would stop trying to force my life to go in a certain direction and realize that fate plays a hand.

I would realize that high school will end and life is a big, giant bowl of cherries…sometimes you get the pits but there is a whole lot of sweet in it too….

above all,
I would laugh more and cry less.

And I’d give anything to be young again and know the things I know now that I wish I had known then.

After writing this, I went back and looked at the list again and realized, is life really that much different now than it was then? I still make a lot of the same mistakes, have the same fears and doubts. It would appear based on this fact that perhaps I still need to have that little talk with 16 year old me as well as the, eh hem, mature version of 16 year old me that stares back from the mirror each day.

If you could go back, what would you tell yourself? And more importantly, do you think you would listen? Smart ass and serious comments welcome, you guys have a great weekend….

Comments

  1. Kat says:

    I think I might print this out and show it to my girls when they turn 16. This is such good advise and it applies to all of us girls.

  2. Jim says:

    Like it was said by GB Shaw, “Youth is wasted on the young.” Oddly, I wouldn’t do anything different though. I like where I’m at in my life and everything I’ve done in the past — even the stupid things — has brought me here.

  3. steenky bee says:

    third. I’m not shouting this because I’m not proud of myself, people. This just posted like three minutes ago. That’s what my reader says. How can I be third? THIRD!! Hold on, baby’s crying. Check ya later.

  4. Awesome post! Many times I’ve wished I could go back and slap my teenage self around a litte bit. Here’s what I would tell myself:

    Put in some effort at school. Because, damn it, you have the brain. Just freaking use it.

    and

    Enjoy that bod. ‘Cause it’s hot and you won’t have it forever.

    Got me thinkin’ today sister.

  5. DCD says:

    Very thought provoking. I’ll write it here, which I wouldn’t on my own blog because my parents read that, but here is what I would say:

    Don’t have sex the day before your 16th b-day. It’s a mistake and that guy is a loser.

    And push to get contact lenses that don’t kill your eyes. You will feel so much more confident.

    I’m sure I could think of a lot more, but those are the two that popped into my head. I won’t crowd up your comments section with a huge list!! But I may use this idea myself…

  6. Keely says:

    Heh. I actually wrote a whole comic about this once, going back in time to lecture my teenage self.

    The gist: Don’t be such a bitch to your parents. Have better relationships with your grandparents. You have great friends, hang on to them (which I did anyway).

    I don’t have many regrets, actually. I would rather go back to my 23-year old self and slap her silly for dating that cheating lying a-hole guy for THREE FRICKIN’ YEARS. Except that our experiences are what make us, and I probably wouldn’t appreciate what I have now so much.

  7. Tara says:

    Ooo this is a brilliant question.
    I didn’t listen to a goddam word any adult told me when I was a teen because they were like all totally against me and only I knew what was good for me and everyone else just wanted to dis me. Or something.
    Anyway, I’ve been wondering what an adult would have had to have said to me for the teenage me to listen and when I have the answer I want to use that on my kids so I can share some of my wise old mummy wisdom.
    But then I’m also of the Heinous mindset where I think you are who you are today because of what you have been through and the mistakes you make and lessons you learn so maybe I should just sit back and take a chill pill.

  8. Momma Trish says:

    Well, first off, I was really headstrong. I know there is no way I would listen to me.

    Things I would probably tell me would be warnings for the future. But not too much. I wouldn’t want me to do things too differently. I made a lot of mistakes, and I did a lot of stupid things. I got horribly derailed in my life, and ended up spending way too many years in school training, and retraining, and retraining again. The problem with correcting the mistakes of the past is that it is those mistakes and life experiences that have made me the person I am today. Without those mistakes, I would be in a very different place now. I would be a very different person. And I sort of like the person I’ve become. I would miss her if she weren’t around. So maybe I’d like to avoid some of the victimizations, and as much as possible, I’d like to avoid the pain that was inflicted on those around me through my own stupidity. But there’s a lot I’ve done that I couldn’t get rid of, or I would lose too much of the today me.

    No do overs. I’ve got to be me.

  9. If I could dispense some advice on my 16 year old self, I’d say:

    Neon green is never a good color. Ever. Seriously. Look. Look in the mirror right now. Is that a good color? No. Take it off.

    Some people are just going to be jackasses. You’re not. Their opinions don’t matter. They don’t care about yours, so don’t worry so much about theirs.

    What’s the reward in being popular? You still have to do the same things you’d do if you were ‘just OK,’ and being just OK is, well, OK.

    Simon LeBon WILL grow older, paunchier and still be singing Hungry Like the Wolf. You’ll find someone who will do the same, minus singing Hungry Like the Wolf, and that someone will ultimately be cooler.

    Relax. Frankie said it. He meant it. Relax. This is the easiest part of your life. Enjoy it.

  10. Mary Anna says:

    Brava!

    I’d go back and convince my young self to believe what my mother always said:

    There’s always someone prettier than you, smarter than you, richer than you, funnier than you, skinnier than you … but you just have to be the best you that you can be.

    It’s amazing the clarity that comes with living through those times when we thought were the most important ever. I look back now, and I’m not really friends with any of those girls whose approval I so desparately craved. I’m not married to any of those boys I so desparately craved. And I’m all the happier for it! (My reunion was a huge wake-up call!!! I joked that I was just there to see who was fat and who was bald.)

  11. HeatherPride says:

    Oh girl, I have thought the same way so many times!!!! So many!! I could have written all of that above. Not too many years ago I found out that one of the “mean girls” (the meanest one, actually) that I went to school with ended up in an abusive marriage and the cops were parked outside her home about once a week. If I had known it would turn out that way 20 years ago, I probably would have smirked about it. Instead, the grownup me was just sad. Even though this girl made my life a living hell from the time we were in second grade on.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Great post!

    Not that I would have listened, but I think I’d have had to tell me 16yo self to
    1. not be so worried about the approval of others.
    2. that your parents really do have your best interest in mind.

    With having said that, though, I still find that I have a hard time dealing with not wanting to disappoint them, because I haven’t ever really gotten over (even though it’s 15 years later) dealing with what I think people (and my folks) think of what I’ve done/not done/or am currently doing. I never felt free to really be who I wanted. Still don’t.

  13. steenky bee says:

    I could never write a list as beautiful as this. You brought the house down. My favorite? Stop trying to steer your life in a certain direction and realize that fate plays a hand. That gave me goosebumps.

    I second your emotion on all of these. I think I would have told off a few of the Queen Bee girls and told them that in 20 years, I would see the head cheerleader working at Wendys.

    I would have also told my 16 year old self to hold on, and never stop believing too. Better hair products are just around the corner girl. There’s gonna be this glossing shine serum from Aveda that will revolutionize your hair grooming routine.

    I would have told my high school self to pay more attention to Patrick Dempsey too. That kid with goofy hair who played a geek in a lot of films was going to get hawt!

    I would have told my 16 year old self that you are going to have some rough spots and you will have to endure in order to better understand others around you. (that one’s personal. I’ll share it with you, Stiletto Mom later if you’d like)

    I would tell my 16 year old self that one day I would meet a fabulous gal friend on the interweb that I would be in awe of every time she posts. :) (that one’s not personal. I tell everyone about you, Stiletto Mom!)

    That’s about it.

    Sorry I took so long to get here. Baby didn’t cry for 8 hours. But I got side-tracked for that long.

  14. tuesday says:

    I hope that my daughter listens better than I did when she is a teen, or that I could explain myslef better thean my mom did to MAKE her listen.

    I would tell myself to not put so much stock in boys, they are overrated in HS anyway, to have more confidence because I am a great person and to not be mean- to anyone.

  15. CK Lunchbox says:

    After watching my younger self stop freaking out about the time-space continuum I’d tell him, uh, me to not take things so seriously, be smarter about money, and don’t be afraid to try a little weed before you’re, uh, I am 30 – just a couple times to say you did it. Don’t become a Republican. And follow your heart and be a writer, and not the logic of getting a real job. Oh, and by the way, you’re, – I am going to have 5 kids. Poof!!! Then in my present self I’ll wonder why I’m half-naked and playing bongos with Matthew McConaughey on some beach in the Caribbean while 5 kids are playing in the tide in front of me.

  16. Beth says:

    I wonder IF I had told myself some wonderful thoughts like study harder and don’t worry about your inadequacies and be kinder to you Mom…and IF I had listened to myself…would I be the sarcastic, kind, positive person I am today? Remember what happened in the movie ‘Back to the Future’?

  17. vodkamom says:

    You know, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about life this past year. I’ve decided that each experience I had (good or bad) has made me who I am today. I embrace my life, all that i’ve done, wouldn’t change a thing, and am thankful that I am now the person I am. It’s kinda deep, but what the hell. now pass the damn martinis.

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