To my 16-year-old self:

There are hundreds of pieces of advice I’d love to bestow upon my 16-year-old self.

Let’s be honest though, what fun would it be to coast into adulthood without several years of hormonally charged adolescent turmoil, to remind us how far we’ve come?

But GOSH. The things that defined our teenage years with such intensity – the highs and lows and loves and losses – they really weren’t what we thought they were. I suppose it’s all relative.

If I could travel back in time to leave myself a treasure map of wisdom, here’s what I’d emphasize:

1. It is highly unlikely anyone is as critical of you as you are to yourself. No one notices your smudged eye liner, non name-brand jeans or what you eat for lunch. And if they do, laugh at them.

2. Driving a clunky old car builds character. Kids who get new Civics on their sixteenth birthdays miss out on a gnarly rite of passage.

3. Do not aspire to have an as-seen-on-tv love life. There are no real-life boys who look or behave remotely like Freddy Prinze Jr. or Leonardo DiCaprio.

4. Any time you swear you’ll ‘never talk to her again,’ you are grossly mistaken.

5. The further you progress through life, the greater the disparity between who was most popular and who becomes most successful.

6. No matter how bad it gets, hang in there. COLLEGE WILL BE AMAZING.

7. In the grand scheme of things … Time you spend on the phone < Time spent of homework and sleep

8. It’s usually not easy or cool to do the right thing, but making good decisions is always worth it and will save you more trouble than you can imagine.

9. While hard to believe, there will be a lot of moments in your life when you’ll look back and long to be living at home with your parents again.

10. Keep a journal, take lots of pictures and stay in touch with old friends. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up.

… I can only imagine what I’ll be hypothetically writing to myself in another few years.

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