Dearest Me:

I am writing to you today, in the hopes that I can spare you some of the unnecessary grief and anguish you are about to endure during your tumultuous years as a teen and young adult. I can only wish that this type of hindsight were possible, a gift from the older version of you, a chance to live a life free of the kind of mistakes only the reckless young can make.

So here goes.

He doesn’t love you. And neither will he. You are worth more than scattered phone calls and promises made in the dark. Your heart already belongs to the one you won’t meet until God is good and ready to bring you two together. And that is who will catch you when you fall, accept your flaws and failures, celebrate the talents you keep so secret. In short, keep your skirt on.

There will be a day, junior year, when your cheer practice will be cancelled. Don’t get in the car with those two troublemakers, and better yet, don’t drink the Gin in the kitchen. You will come back to school, get sick in computer class, make a fool of yourself, and end up in the emergency room. Your parents will cry and ground you and you will be suspended. This is not a good way to get popular. This is a good way to get a bad reputation.

Math is not the class you should be ditching, because, quiet frankly, you stink at it. You need all the help you can get. In fact, getting in your friend’s trunk (a friend you shouldn’t have in the first place because she’s a bad influence) is a horrible idea. There are so many things that can go wrong, namely, the trunk won’t open back up. Hello! Anybody in there??!

Cigarettes. Are you INSANE?

Stop hanging out at that coffee shop. It’s a serious waste of time. And money. And your mom knows where to find you when you don’t come home on time.

Respect your parents. They know what the hell they are talking about. Your dad is a tired workaholic who wants only the best for his family. Your mom wears her heart on her sleeve and wants acceptance and friendship. Ostracizing them may feel like the thing to do now, but when you hear the news that will devastate you and leave you shattered, they will offer you the things that only parents can.

Stop planning for a girl. You will have boys. Two of them. And they will teach you the reason for living. And give you purpose. And hope. Which reminds me. Stop staying out so late. You need your sleep now because once they’re in the picture, you can forget about “sleeping in” or “catching a nap.” Don’t be an idiot. Go to bed!

Diet pills made you tiny. And sick. Plus, you will gain so much weight when you have the babies, there’s no point in taking them really. And your future husband loves you anyway. So flush them down the toilet and go eat something already.

You will become a teacher. I know! So be nice to the ones you have now. They work really hard and get paid very little and someday you will reflect on them and what they did for you.

Your firstborn will be disabled; You will fall apart and God, your family, and friends will help pick up the pieces. You are stronger than you think you are. I wish you could see that now and embrace it.

Time flies by so quickly. Enjoy each day. The tears you shed now will seem meaningless later. So save yourself the drama.

Spend more time with your grandmother.

Love your Polish roots.

You are not the only one with OCD.

Apologize to people first. Even if you aren’t at fault.

Forgive faster.

Hug longer.

You will still drive a Volvo at 31.

Don’t take your sister’s money. She counts it all.

For the love of God, wear your retainer.

Pay your credit card bills on time. Better yet, don’t get that student visa. At All.

Don’t do that to your hair. You will burn the pictures later.

Polyester went out of style for a reason. Stop trying to ressurect it.

Your senior prom date will end up gay (NOT your fault).

Relax and give it to God.

Now go back to class and raise some hell.
(In a nice, polite, society-approved way, of course.)

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2 Replies to “If Only it Were Possible: A Letter From the Future”

  1. This is awesome Jo! I should write a letter to my teenage self too. I could warn myself of so many bad decisions but then again, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Love the trunk story! I got caught in Jody’s trunk and Dr. Buford made her pop it open….and there I was WITH my cheer skirt hiked up. Talk about embarrassing!!

    PS: Now you have me trying to figure out who your gay prom date was. Initials please?

  2. Hahaha! He was a sophomore when I was a senior and his first name was Nick. I can’t remember his last name though! haha!

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