Friday, March 8, 2013

10 Things I'd Tell My 16 Year Old Self

I want to think that, over the years, I have grown. I have learned. My experiences didn't go for naught. Have you ever sat down and thought about how you were at a certain age and how you are now? I have, and I laughed. I thought about when I was 16. That would have been about 14 years ago. Amazingly, my 16 year old self had more sense and more direction than a lot of others at that age.

But, because I have lived and  learned, there are a few things I'd like to share with my 16 year old self.

1. Body glitter is not makeup and should be avoided unless your occupation requires clear heels and poles. People find it very hard to take you seriously when part of your makeup catches the light and temporarily blinds them. The same advice goes for black lipstick. Just . . . don't.

2. Saving money is important. Develop a plan for doing this and you'll fare much better in life. You simply don't have to spend every last penny of your paycheck. Saving for a rainy day will help you immensely. The rain is definitely going to come, now it's just a question of whether you are prepared for it.

3. Never do for others what you're sure they won't do for you. At almost30, I'm just now really getting this. I would stick my neck out to help someone, and then, I'd need something and simple as a pickup from the airport and they'd put me through the ringer. Not cool. Not that I was this completely altruistic Mother Theresa in my younger days -- I was just dumb. I thought you had to be a doormat to have friends. You don't.

4. You won't keep the same friends throughout life, and that's ok. The girls you were sure were going to be your bridesmaids and aunties to your kids will be nowhere around when it comes time. This is ok. Don't be mad at them or yourself. People grow and change, because that's what they're supposed to do. Sometimes they just grow apart.

5. Life isn't all black and white. There is typically a grey area. People aren't either for or against you. They can be neutral. Things aren't either amazing or horrid. Sometimes they just . . .  are. That false dichotomy is what gets folks in trouble and causes unhappiness, I'm convinced. Find a middle ground in life.

6. Floss. Floss with reckless abandon. Half of my dental issues would have never happened had I flossed consistently. Oh the money and pain I could have saved and avoided!

7. It's fine to march to the beat of your own drum. Be true to yourself. If something doesn't feel right, reject it. There have been plenty of times I said "no" to going out and partying, only to later hear that the party was some BS or that something bad happened at the gathering. Intuition is major. Peer pressure is minor.
I have mistakenly dated guys because I was trying to be nice, only to be horribly displeased later. I dated one guy because he called me "stuck up". I should have said, "Fine, I'll be that" and continued about my day. But no, I went on to actually commit time and money to him trying to prove that I was not, indeed, stuck up.

8. Always be gracious. Get nice stationary and always thank people. They'll remember you fondly, instead of as a needy, snot-nosed kid. I've been pretty good about being gracious, but I could have always done better.

9. Be diplomatic, but have a backbone. Don't just tell people what they want to hear. Be very honest with them and you'll never have to cover your tracks. Or have them go out with you looking foolish because you lied and told them you liked a particularly hideous outfit. Not all people like honesty. Some prefer a pretty lie rather than the ugly truth. In that case, just be extra tactful.
Some would say that I've cultivated this "devil-may-care" attitude about myself. That's not true. I just figure instead of pussy-footing or walking on eggshells, I'm going to call out the obvious pink elephant in the room. That's earned me fans and foes.

10. Don't allow anyone to make you feel bad or disrespect you. No one has the right to take joy in your misery. My grandmother has a habit/pastime of telling people how much weight they gained. I know what you're thinking. "All old people do that." "Old people say anything." "She's old, she's allowed to be mouthy." I would disagree with all of those. I don't care who you are or how old you are, etc -- you CANNOT take joy in tearing me down. I have no problem respectfully telling you that you hurt my feelings. Truer to myself though would be hurling an insult back, depending upon who it is doling out the trash-talk. "My, you've put on weight!" can get a response of "My, you've lost your mind!" or "If you worried about the numbers in your bank account like you worry about the numbers on my scale, you might be in a better position. Good day."

My 16 year old self was a bit of a people-pleaser. I can't go back and change the past, and I wouldn't want to. All in all, I'd say everything I was and all that I experienced has made me who I am today. I'm pretty satisfied with who I am. I do look for ways to improve, as I know I'm not done growing and changing, but I think I'm in a place where I know where to stand firm on some things and waver on others.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo!! This could've saved me many moments of reckless abandon at 16. Hell, it can still save me now! Great, solid advice that is timeless and should be on a poster on 16y.o. girl's mirror right before she applies glitter to her eyelids and abdomen.