There was a meme going around on Twitter the other day called “tweetyour16yearoldself”, where you send a message to yourself as a 16 year old.  I didn’t think I could do that in 140 characters, so I decided to write my 16 year old self a letter.

Dear 16 year old me,

A couple of notes from yourself here in the future, with the “gift” of hindsight.

Stop grasping for perfection. You will never achieve it, try though you may, and it will make you miserable and unable to see where you have succeeded.

Nothing that you are going through, or will go through, is as bad as it will seem to you at the time. Take a deep breath, and look at the possibilities.

In a little over a year you will get into a fight during school. While it would be better to walk away, it will show you the true nature of one of your closest friends. (And the suspension will be totally worth it!) Trust your instincts – you didn’t need the fight to see this.

Right before you graduate, you will meet the guys who will be your friends for the rest of your life.

Look at things critically. Figure out what you believe in, and stand up for it. Don’t be afraid to get hurt.

It doesn’t matter what people think of you.  They aren’t all talking about you.  You are your own worst enemy in that respect.  Let it go.

Expand your musical horizons. Give those bands that are out of the mainstream a chance. You will like their music eventually, so why wait?

Speaking of different musical tastes – you know those girls with the dark makeup and multiple piercings whose lockers are down the hall from you? Yeah, the ones you were friends with in elementary school? The ones with the Dead Kennedys stickers. Go talk to them.

Be aware that in the future you will not be happy unless you are creating something. Feed that creative monster, and never settle. Take art classes (then you’ll have a reason to talk to those girls). Take photography classes. Push your bounds.

Don’t worry about relationships. Just being friends is okay. (Sometimes, even better.)

The studying and the grades are important, but do some (organized) extra-curriculars. Have some fun. Get involved.

That thing you guys are calling “existentialism”…it’s really more like Buddhism. Start learning about it. You are ready.

Get closer with your dad, he won’t be around forever. (And you will miss him more than you think is possible.)

Explore. Ask questions. Don’t settle. Investigate. Put your pre-conceived ideas away and experience life.

On second thought, let me rewrite that:

Dear Bill,

You will turn out just fine. Don’t change a thing.



Me at age 16

Me at age 16. Or close to it.