There’s been a fun hashtag doing the rounds on Twitter in the last 24 hours or so: #dear16yearoldme.

It seems a long time ago that I was sixteen. It WAS a long time ago that I was sixteen! But with increased age comes increased wisdom. And this is what I’d like to tell my sixteen year old self:

  • You have a working pancreas. Don’t take that for granted. Right now, you have no idea what that means, but when you are 24 years old you will. So, if you’re going to eat that jam doughnut (and really – if you want it, go on and eat it), I want you to marvel at the fact that your pancreas will release insulin. ‘Cause it ain’t going to do that forever!
  • You are not fat. Seriously. Get over yourself! (So just eat the bloody doughnut!)
  • Keep playing the flute – because you will get into the Conservatorium of Music at Melbourne Uni and meet the most wonderful man. And you’ll marry him! (And dear 19 year old me, don’t hate him when you first meet him. Even If he is playing the saxophone loudly and you have a headache. Also, make sure you do buy that handkerchief skirt. It’s what you wore the day you met and he can still remember you in it!)
  • Don’t announce to anyone and everyone in a throw away voice ‘Oh, I don’t want children’. Because one day you will and it will take you a long time for it to happen. And your heart will break until you can. But when you do, you will have the most beautiful daughter. And your heart will sing every day because of her.
  • Listen to your father. He is right. Damn it!
  • And your wonderful relationship with your mum continues. Don’t take that – or her – for granted. She will be your rock in some really difficult times ahead. Also, admire the way she lives with her chronic health condition. She will become your inspiration in more ways than you can imagine in a few years’ time.
  • Maths is important. You’re going to need to use algebra to work out the carb content in food. So pay attention!
  • And also, your year 12 English teacher who tells you that, at some point, you’re going to want to be a writer is right. Listen to her. Learn from her. And read everything on her reading list.
  • Those white jeans. Throw them out. Now!
  • That ridiculously affected thing you and your friend do – you know, sitting in a coin laundry reading Beat poets and novelists? It’s pretentious. Just read the bloody books. And you don’t like black coffee – no matter how much you pretend you do!
  • The nerdy thing you are trying so hard to escape? Embrace it!  Seriously – you are a 16 year old flute player. And you sit in the laundromat reading Jack Kerouac. And you can recite Howl. The only way is geek!
  • Your life is not hard. No matter how much you think that it’s not fair, you’re wrong. You’re incredibly lucky.
  • You talk too much. But that’s OK and it will come in handy later on. As will debating, so keep doing that!
  • That guy on the Glenferrie Road tram. He’s just not that into you. Move on!
  • Two words: Harry Potter. You are going to LOVE IT!
  • Those girls from school who you think are your best friends? They are! And they continue to be your best friends as you grow up. Treasure this time with them. (And try to remember funny stories. And take lots of photos of bad hair and daggy clothes to torment each other as you get older!)
  • Wear a cardigan. It’s cold out there in Winter!
  • Thirty eight isn’t old! Really, it isn’t. And I promise you this. You are OK. In fact you are better than OK. And your life turns out really well. You continue to be incredibly lucky!

This topic is part of Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (#HAWMC) by Wego Health. The challenge is 30 days, 30 posts. I am a realist, and know that I am not going to be able to do the full 30 posts. But this one I absolutely had to do!  Here’s more information about the challenge.