16 Things I Would Tell My Sweet 16 Self

DSC_0392-314I just attended the sweet sixteen of my (no longer) baby cousin and was so freaking proud of what a smart, genuine and level-headed woman she is becoming.  Way beyond her years and way beyond where I was when I was at that age.  It was hard to believe that my sweet sixteen was so long ago.  Little things seemed so important and earth shattering back then.  It made me think about what I wish I could tell myself back then that I know now:

  1. This is only the beginning of becoming the person you will be. This is just one of the early iterations of the many versions of yourself. None of them better or worse, all of them a part of you.
  2. The world won’t end if you don’t ace everything. That book report or test score doesn’t predict your future success. Get it done, but don’t sweat it.
  3. Your parents were 16 once, too. They know more than you realize about what you are going through. Talk to them about your life, ask for their help and know when to take things they say with a grain of salt.
  4. Your brother will become one of your best friends. He may be annoying now, but he will always be your brother and love you unconditionally, even when you don’t love yourself.
  5. There will always be someone way prettier and smarter than you. Stop competing with everyone and be happy for them. No one likes a Jealous Judy.
  6. You can, however, aspire to be the nicest person who treats everyone well. Even if other people are downright mean and hurt your feelings, you don’t have to do the same. Be better.
  7. You will lose a lot of friends, many of them over silly or petty things. Your real friends will stick by you through the bullshit, period.
  8. You don’t need that many pairs of sneakers. You can use that money for a down payment instead.
  9. You should keep your active lifestyle. It’s only going to get harder to keep up, make it a habit now with the things you love, like volleyball!
  10. There’s a whole, wide world outside of New York. New York is unlike any other place on earth, but it’s not the be all, end all. Even the simplist of towns have something different to offer.
  11. You will have your heart broken and break other hearts and you will move on, stronger and closer to knowing what you want each time.
  12. Eventually, the person you marry will be nothing like you expected. And that will make that person even more amazing.
  13. No job is beneath you.  Every job will have something you can learn and something to make you better for the next.
  14. Do more things out of your comfort zone. Get over that queasy feeling quick. You will never regret it.
  15. Family is everything. Sometimes, you would rather be with your friends than with your family, but get to know them now and they can become even closer friends than anyone else you will ever meet.
  16. Stay true to what you believe in. It sometimes feels more important to not stick out, but it’s the ones who stick out that people remember and that change the world.
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