What I’d Say to My 16-Year-Old Self

I was totally bored tonight when I came across this prompt. Now, I’m glad I took the time to write this one. I enjoyed this writing exercise very much!

Dear Trish,

This is a letter from your future self. The last 22 years have been hard, much harder than anything you’re going through right now. Even harder than being diagnosed with Lupus a couple of years ago – as scary as that was. Don’t worry so much about that. It’s really not going to affect your life so much, just be sure to get plenty of sleep even if people judge you harshly for sleeping 10 hours per day. It won’t be like that every day, but the extra sleep will keep you healthy and functioning more normally.

I suppose I could tell you to be more careful, not so impulsive. However, I think if you had not been so impulsive, you would have missed out on a lot of very good learning experiences that shaped who I am today. Remember, the mistakes do not define you – you are not the mistake. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making mistakes as long as you learn the lessons they are offering to teach you. Again, others may be harsh judges; but it is important that you do not judge yourself too harshly. When it comes down to it, your own thoughts have much more power and control over you than those of others.

I know it feels like no one understands you and that you must constantly hide from your true self. There will come a time when you can finally love and accept yourself, weird quirks and all, because you will realize that life is not about pleasing others or living up to the expectations of others. Set your own goals for your life, determine what it is that you want out of life (what makes you happy and productive), and strive to accomplish those things. And above all else, keep it simple! I still get overwhelmed as easily as you do now, so simplicity is the key to managing your life.

There’s no easy way to tell you this, but you are incredibly naïve. You always see the best in other people which will lead you to be taken advantage of many times throughout your life. A quote comes to mind at this point (from PBS’s production of Northanger Abby), “I think you have had quite a dangerous upbringing. You’ve been brought up to believe that everyone is as pure in heart as you are.” Never lose sight of the best qualities in humanity. Those are a source of great inspiration. However, accept that evil does exist and choose the path of understanding to help cope with the loss of innocence.

There is plenty more I could tell you, but I think I’ll allow you to ponder this for a while. I’ll close with another quote, one that kind of sums up the quest of my life:

“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Sincerely,

Patricia

P.S. And one other thing, STOP getting perms! They just don’t work for your hair texture; and besides, long straight hair is much lovelier, goes with the whole 70’s style you love so much, and is sooooo much easier to care for. Just wash & go!

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