At age 16 everything feels like the biggest deal. You want people to like you and you want to look cool. Life has thrown some curve balls and figuring out who you are turned out to be a lot harder than you thought. Around age 16 felt like some of the toughest times of my life.
Thinking back on the biggest things I worried about at 16 makes me shake my head. But I didn’t have an older sibling to guide me and I wish the me I am now, could have been there for the me I used to be. I wouldn’t change a thing because all the things I went through made me who I am today. But I would love to give my younger self some advice and insight into her bright future. In order to help ease her young mind about everything she was worrying about then.
Dear younger me,
Oh the worries you once had…
High School Will End
At 16, you go to school worried everyday if people like you. You hope you are nice enough, smart enough, pretty enough, and all around good enough. You want to be yourself, but don’t want people to not like the real you. Especially since you are still trying to figure out who the real you is. You are dying for high school to be over because you are sad at school and at home. High school feels like a never ending hard time.
I wish I could have told you this: You are enough and what others think doesn’t matter. High school will end, you will figure it all out eventually. The friends you make after high school love you – for exactly who you are – and you will know it. I promise the sadness you feel will eventually go away. High school is tough for everyone, but far from your biggest challenge in life. You will persevere!
You Will Find The One For You
At 16 and even before, you dreamed about who you would marry and what your life would look like. Would anyone ever love you? And how will you know when you’re really in love? Will you and your husband have an amazing relationship or will your fears of being like your parents ruin any relationship you have?
Well sweet young girl, I am so happy to tell you it is all going to work out. In just a few short years, you meet your best friend and man of your dreams. You end up loving him more and more every day. You know in your heart he is the one for you. The two of you have your share of ups and downs, but it is all worth it. You continue to grow as a couple and have a stronger relationship because of it. I am so excited for you to experience this love. You find a true partner who adores you. He supports and encourages all of your dreams. And you his. Together you create an amazing family with a life all your own. Don’t be scared, the best is yet to come.
Your Parents Love You
At 16 you feel at an all time low with your mom and dad. It feels like they care more about their own relationships than about you. You ask them if they love you because you genuinely don’t know some days. Nothing you do seems to be good enough. You are trying to be your own person, but are still desperate for their approval. Your relationship seems so rocky you wonder if you will ever talk to them after you leave for college.
I wish I could hug you as hard as you are needing at this point. I promise you that they love you. Now that I have a daughter of my own, the thought of her ever feeling that way breaks my heart. But my parents are just two people trying the best they can. They have their own set of problems and being a parent is far from easy. Eventually, you will understand this.
Your relationship with your mom and dad will grow and believe it or not you will end up talking to them at least once a week. You will know they love you and are so unbelievably proud of you. Your parents will never be perfect, but you will learn to love them for exactly who they are. Which are two pretty amazing people.
You Will Feel Confident
At 16 you are questioning everything you do. You want to have fun and make mistakes, but you dont want to get in trouble. One piece of criticism has you second guessing everything. You hate being teased and you feel like everyone but you, has it figured out. Does everyone think my younger sisters are prettier than me? Do I have to drive this ugly car? Are they talking about me behind my back?
The biggest advice for this worry is: it genuinely does not matter what anyone else thinks. I know it matters to you right now, but it really does not matter in the big picture of your life. No one else’s thoughts are going to dictate your life. You will learn to love all of you. Stop caring what others think and remember this is your life. Be the best you possible. You will gain amazing confidence in your self, your body, and your abilities. You are kind, you are genuine, and you will achieve big things. Love yourself! Because I love you, Kaci.
You Become and Amazing Mom
You don’t want kids because of their sticky hands and are terrified at the idea of putting them through a divorce. Maybe just being a single workaholic is sounding like a better idea. If I had a baby, would I even be a good mom? Would they feel the way about me that I am feeling about my mom? Plus pregnancy, labor, and, God forbid, pooping on the table?! Let’s just skip it all and call it a day.
Well surprise surprise! Not only do all these other amazing things work out for you in life, but the best of all of it is becoming a mom. Stop worrying about being a good mom. You will become determined to be the best mom for this baby you bring into the world. She teaches you so much about life and she is the biggest reason you want to enjoy every second of the journey. Everything you do in life, from the moment you hear that heartbeat, is all for her. Her laugh and her perfect smile are what keep you going on hard days. Seeing her grow brings tears to your eyes and is also the most incredible thing. You’ve never been more proud of anything in your life and you are in awe of everything she does.
You have hard days as a mama, but you have more good days. You discover a whole new part of what makes you-you. This is a job you were not sure you wanted when you were 16, but knew you were meant for the moment Arya was put in your arms. You will be tested, but you will become the best you possible because of and for this little girl.
10 Years From Now
At 16, you are wishing for these 10 years to go by fast and I am telling they will. Try not to wish them by too fast because you can’t get them back. Remember that these are the years you are supposed to be learning and making mistakes. So try not to be too hard on yourself. And please remember to love yourself even when you feel like you don’t deserve it.
The best life you pictured for yourself in 10 years does not even compare the the real thing. God has blessed you beyond belief. He helped you through those tough years and shaped you into the you you were meant to be.
In 10 years you have a career, you have an amazing family and friends, you have confidence in yourself and a strong faith in God. Despite those tough times you are becoming the best you. And I am proud of you.
Love you tough girl,
PS: I’ve been wanting to write this letter to you for a while because I knew how much you needed it. As I write it, I think of what life will be like in another 10 years and can’t stop smiling. Because I know I am going to have my share of amazing moments and hard times. I am going to be tested and I am going to be blessed beyond all measure. The life I am picturing for myself won’t compare the the real deal. One of my biggest goals is that I truly take in every second because 10 years sure can fly by in the blink of an eye.
What would you tell your younger self?