Letter to A Teenaged Me

Inspired by John Wiswell’s “Notes to my younger self“.

Dear Theresa,

First off, I know you’re not going to listen. You’re going to wonder who this crazy woman is, one of those ‘cheerfully positive’ type people you think are silly beyond belief, but I hope you hear me out.

Those crushes you had back in high school? It’s a good thing they ignored you. You’ll have far more fun going to grad with your friends, and not with a date. You won’t miss out on much. High school is horrible for most people. You’re going to have a blast in university.

It is ok to ask for help. You’ll waste a lot less time retaking classes if you learn this lesson now. It may look hopeless, but you’ll figure it out! You are smart, don’t ever think otherwise. You WILL turn things around.

Sometimes you have to say no. You don’t have to do everything and run yourself into the ground. Nervous breakdowns are NOT normal. Tell someone! You don’t have to keep up with the dancing practices if you hate them. On the other hand, if you do, you’ll end up with great posture.

It is ok to cry. I know you try to hide it, and your parents don’t know how to handle that, but its OK to have strong feelings about things. You’re human. P.S. They’re not going to change.

One day you’re actually going to like dresses and high heels. Aghast? Trust me. The only reason you hate it now is because you have to wear a uniform.

Men are not all pigs, you probably think so now, but it’s high school. Trust me. There are some really good ones out there. You’ll meet a couple of them really soon.

Oh, and don’t stop reading, and don’t stop dreaming. You’ll be ready to write that book you’ve always wanted to write when you’ve done a little bit more living.

You’ve still got some dark days to come, but there are happy days ahead too, kid. Just keep at it the way you are. That stubbornness will take you places. Oh, and take a chance on that funny, bearded guy on the train. It’s going to be worth so much more than that 5 Euro phone card you’re going to need to call him. Just saying.


  1. High heels and no uniform has its appeal.

    Sorry! I had too. My younger self would never have made such a joke.

    I think most of us in these circles believe our younger selves wouldn’t listen. Catch the right time period, and I’d hate the current me.

    1. Well, least that wasn’t a Catholic school girl joke! I don’t think I’ll ever ever wear a kilt again. hehe

      Oh I’m pretty sure teenaged me would hate me now. For some reason I feel like I’m growing backwards. The older I get, the less seriously I take myself. It’s an odd feeling, but not a bad one 😉

      I think you’re right.

  2. “It is ok to ask for help. You’ll waste a lot less time … if you learn this lesson now.”

    Hear hear. My younger self probably would have tried to listen and failed, lol. But sometimes I think it helps to hear good advice, even if people don’t always take it. Learning is all about repetition and reinforcement, after all.

  3. Nice letter. There’s some advice in there I could have used, too.

    I’m also thankful for the crushes I had in high school who ignored me. It hurt at the time, but they would have been sooo bad for me!

  4. You know… I think my teenage self would get along famously with my present-day self. We’re basically the same person, still into the same things: he was a huge fantasy and sci-fi nerd who was struggling to write a novel. I’m a huge fantasy and sci-fi nerd who’s struggling to write a novel. He had dreams of being rich and famous one day… I’ve pretty much given up those dreams, but I think I’ll be reasonable comfortable, financially, if I play my cards right. He hoped someday to be a married man and a father. I am a married man and a father. He was really good in school, and hoped to go to a top-tier college. I didn’t make into a top-tier school for my undergrad (thanks in part to mistakes my teenage self made and didn’t realize would impact his college choice options), but I did when I got my Master’s. I think he’ll find there’s a lot to like in me…

      1. We all have to figure out who we are at some point in our lives. I figured out who I am and who I wanted to be at a fairly young age. I didn’t realize then that this is pretty unusual.

        Probably the biggest thing that my teenage self would hate about my present-day self is that I haven’t achieved everything on my ambitions list, yet. I think my teenage self would’ve expected me to have done the great things I was going to do (namely, to have published a novel) by this point in my life already.

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