Twenty Things I Would Tell My 16 Year Old Self

1.     Don’t spend so much time on your hair, straightening it, worrying about it, messing with it. Believe it or not, your hair looks fine. You’re not going to look back in life and say “I wish my hair looked better that day…” You’ll look back and wish you took the top down more often, ridden on the back of more motorcycles, played more volleyball, jumped into more creeks. Get your hair messy, it is more fun.
2.     Try really really hard to be really really kind. Everyone has their own struggle…EVERYONE. Be nice, it doesn’t take much time to always say thank you, to smile at everyone, to pay someone a compliment. You get what you give in most cases so just be kind whenever you can.
3.     This one is going to be hard to hear but seriously, try not to take things so personally. Most of the time, people mean exactly what they say, there is no hidden meaning. Life is too full of real drama to create petty drama. You are actually really good at not being a drama queen BUT you let just the smallest slights hurt your feelings too much. If your friends go shopping and don’t call you, it’s not the end of the world. It was probably spur of the moment.
4.     Spend more time with Daddy. You’re not going to have enough time with him.
5.     Wear the bikini. No one looks as good in a bikini as a teenager with a great tan (please, wear sunscreen as soon as it is invented).
6.     Keep reading A LOT. Keep listening to music A LOT. One day people will be blown away by all the stuff you know and all the books you have read. Before google, people call you to ask “Who sings Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo.” Music and books will bring you comfort and joy your entire life.
7.     Use moisturizer. As soon as one is available, use a moisturizer with retinol.
8.     Do not, I repeat DO NOT be defined by the opinion of others. You know your own worth and it isn’t debatable. It is a hard lesson to learn but the sooner you learn it, the easier life becomes. On the same note, don’t let your concern for what someone might think stop you from doing things you really want to do (unless it is robbing a bank or something else really stupid).
9.     Let go of the desire to always be the best at everything, to always be everyone’s favorite. It’s not gonna happen…it just won’t. And as your world gets bigger, there might be times that you’ll even be BELOW average at some things. It’s okay. Do the best you can, be the best you can and accept when your best may not be good enough.
10.  Be grateful. Practice gratitude daily, several times a day. Say grace over your food, be grateful not greedy when you pray. Life is going to give you so many wonderful wonderful things, you are going to be just knocked OUT with gratitude.
11.  Be happy, decide to be happy and be happy NOW. Not when you are in college, not when you are on summer break, not when you get a boyfriend. BE HAPPY NOW. I promise it is that easy. Decide to be happy, decide to be positive, decide to be optimistic and then just do it.
12.  Embrace exercise, celebrate your health. Stop hating your body and instead use it the way it was made to be used. Run, jump, dance.
13.  Don’t smoke. Just stop it, right now. You’ll be able to buy a really expensive car one day if you save up that cigarette money.
14.  This is something Maya Angelo once said that you’ll read in your 30s. It’s better if you know it, hear it, totally understand and accept it right now. When someone shows you who they are, believe them. The FIRST TIME. This is true with boys, with friends, with employers, with retailers, with companies.
15.  Superficial but true…try not to be too trendy with your clothes. Quality is better than quantity. Always ask yourself “Would Audrey Hepburn wear this?” and if the answer is no, you should THINK about it before you put it on. And if you aren’t 100% sure or 100% comfortable before you leave the house, you will be uncomfortable the entire time you are in public. Is it too short? Is it too tight? Does the color wash me out? Do these shoes rub my toes? If you have to ask, the answer is yes.
16.  You can’t change people, don’t even try.  If you can’t accept someone for who they are NOW don’t expect them to become what you want LATER.
17.  Be fully present where you are wherever you are. And I mean literally and figuratively. When you are at work, be 100% at work. When you are with your family, be there 100%. Don’t be thinking about your boyfriend the entire time you are with your friends. And don’t always live in the past, you aren’t going back there. And it will be tomorrow soon enough. Enjoy today! Enjoy right now.
18.  Try not to expect too much from other people. It’s always better to be surprised when someone exceeds your expectations instead of feeling let down when they don’t.
19.  Keep writing. Write a little every day, even if it is just a to-do list.
20.  Don’t lock yourself into a ‘type’ of boy/man. When you meet that really cute guy at the party with long hair, go ahead and flirt with him if you feel a little tingle. It doesn’t matter that he isn’t what you’ve already decided is your “type”, flirt with him all night. You’ll thank me later.

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