Dear 15-Year-Old Me…

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT – Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

Since I am currently stressing out about the future, I’ve opted to write to my younger self. Thinking about where I will be five years from now freaks me out a little too much at the moment.

Rowena, circa 2001

Dear Rowie,

At this point you are 15 years old, blossoming into a young woman and relishing your high school years. As a sassy teen you probably don’t want to hear any advice from anyone, let alone your future self, but I wanted to take this opportunity to give you some words of wisdom as someone who knows what lies ahead.

So here we go – some things to think about for the next 10 years:

  • Stop being a perfectionist. In about three years this will come bite you in the ass – you will get really sick your freshman year of college because you are so stressed about school. Calm down and realize that you don’t need to be perfect at everything. Just try your best – if you can tell yourself that you really gave 110%, then that’s all anyone could expect or ask for.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. This goes along with the perfectionist thing. If you mess up and make a mistake, don’t think that you are an absolute failure and dwell on it for days, weeks, months. It’s not worth it! You are not going to be good at everything. You need to accept that, right out of the gate. Trust me, it will help you further on down the road.
  • Make time to have fun. Of course this is a no brainer to a high schooler, but you will find as you grow older that you will become a workaholic and find it hard to make time for relaxation and fun. Make time for it! Not only will this help with your sanity, but you will make some nice memories too. And speaking of memories…
  • Cherish your friendships. You will find that some friends will come and go. Some will be harder to let go than others. But you will find that there will be the select few who stick around. Cherish those people who care about you. Take time to give them a call, visit with them, hang out. These will be the people you will rely on when you need them the most.
  • Learn from heartbreak. About three years from now, you will get your heartbroken. And it will be bad…and when I say bad, I mean really bad. It will seem like your whole world is falling apart. But I want you to know that things will get better. You will get over this person, move on, and find someone else that’s way better for you anyway. Don’t give up on love. It may really suck at the time, but take it as a lesson learned.
  • Find your passion. Strive to do work in something that you love to do every single day. If it longer excites you, drop it and move on to something else that excites you, fires you up. Life is too short to be stuck in a job that you hate. Find what you are truly passionate about and find some way to do it.
  • Never stop singing. As someone who will be a lead in all the high school musicals coming up, you may find it hard to believe that you would need this advice. But you will find that as you grow older life will get in the way, and you won’t be able to sing and perform like you used to. And this will make you very sad. So I’m telling you now to never stop singing and performing, even if it has to be in a small way. Find ways to sing, even if it means YouTubing karaoke songs on your laptop (don’t worry, you’ll find out what YouTube is later on). 😉
  • Be nicer to your parents. This is something you will continue to struggle with for many many years. I understand that they can get really annoying, and ask too many questions, or the same questions, or tell you to eat 5 million times a day, or creep all over your Facebook (another thing you’ll find out about later) and be all in your business, but you gotta realize that they do it all out of love for you. They have both sacrificed and worked so hard to help you get to where you want to be in life, so you owe it to them to be less snarky. I know it’s hard, but before you know it, they will be gone, and you don’t want to regret never showing them how much you love them, right?
  • Don’t settle. This applies to all aspects of your life. Don’t take the “easy road” just because it’s easier. Go for that dream job. Find the man of your dreams, marry him, and have lots of little babies with him. Accept challenges head on that you face, and work your ass off to get what you want. You are too talented to settle for anything less than what you deserve. Never forget that.
  • Take care of yourself. Stay healthy and active. This may seem like crazy advice, especially at this point of your life where you are in amazing shape, but you will find that as you grow older and move on to graduate school you will gain a few pounds and will get a little unhealthy with your eating habits. There will come a point where you can’t eat whatever the hell you want and not gain a pound from it. Your metabolism will certainly slow down. So start good habits early on and make better food choices. Exercise in any way that you can. You will be thanking me later for that one.

Well little one, that’s all the advice I have for now. Please believe me in saying that I am so proud of you, and can’t wait for you to see all the cool things that you will experience in the next 10 years. Embrace it! You have an amazing and wonderful life and future ahead of you. Live every moment to the fullest and with no regrets.

Your future self,

About Rowena Winkler

Passionate Performer, Speaker and Writer by Calling, Dancer of All Good Beats, Yoga Practitioner and Enthusiast, Spiritual Trustee of the Universe, Traveler of Many Distant Lands, Lover of Derek the Logical but Amiable, Mother of Eponine/Dex/Teyla, Architect of Spoken Word Poetry, Trainer in the Craft of Communication, Unapologetic Individual, First of Her Name.
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