On Twitter semi-recently there was a trend going on where tweeters wrote words of advice/comfort, etc to their sixteen year old selves. My friend Miranda over at The Good Groupie blogged her words and I found myself thinking more about it. I had nothing to say to the sixteen year old me because I couldn’t reassure her of anything. The place where I am in my life right now does not stand out as a place where I would have wanted to be when I was sixteen, and frankly I felt a little ashamed for her. But thinking that way is nonsense. I’ve come a long way since I was sixteen. It’s been ten whole years since I started learning to drive, ten whole years since I had sixteen candles on my cake, and I’ve come a long way since then.
Dear Sixteen-year-old Me,
I remember the way you danced at your sweet sixteen party to Dancing Queen. That whole night was one big party. Dad rented a restaurant out, you played the first ever mix cd you ever made. Your favourite band is going to stay your favourite band, as many times as you doubt them, they’re going to keep you dancing.
I applaud you for staying as close to yourself as you could be. I admire that you didn’t break out into some frenzy of rebellion, make too many drunken mistakes at parties or regret spending any nights with guys. At sixteen you never had any question about your future, and you need to remember that ten years later.
You have no idea how hard it’s going to be, but you’re going to get through it either way. You’re going to experience so many different places and people you’ve never imagined. Every one of those people will leave an amazing impact. Every place you go you will hold in your heart and feel homesick for. Don’t lose that feeling.
You’re going to keep on writing. You’re going to feel like you’ve lost your words more times than you could ever count, but don’t lose hope. Those words will come back over and over again.
You’re going to feel like you’ve lost yourself. You’re going to struggle wondering who you were and where you are going. And in the end, you’re still going to be that same person. Don’t let experiences make you bitter. Remember to open your heart to the world around you.
Keep on dancing. Even if it’s just in your bedroom. I’m sure you realize it’s the only “sport” you ever stuck with. You’ll dance for a while in college, even. Keep dancing after that. Keep the music in your heart and express the movement as much as possible.
I feel like writing to you at sixteen could be similar to something the 36 year old self would write to the 26 year old person that I am right now. And that’s okay, because we’re all on this journey together. It doesn’t matter if we’re sixteen or twenty-six or if we’re celebrating fifty. We are every age we’ve ever been wrapped tight into this mind. Don’t lose that.