Dear Teenage Melanie:If I could go back and tell you all I know now, bestow upon you all I’ve learned, I don’t think you could understand it all the way you’d need to best. But if I could issue you warnings and wisdom that would make sense to you at the right times, this is what I’d tell you:*Listen to Mom and Dad. They may not always make sense now, but everything they do is out of love and protection for you so pay attention and be respectful.*You deserve better. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you deserve less, like you should tolerate mistreatment, or that you’re not good enough. These are lies.*Find out all you can from and about Mom. Ask her every question you may ever want an answer to: about your childhood, about having babies and raising children, about her childhood, about marriage. Ask her to be in the delivery room for someday when you have children. Keep hugging her every day and remember how it feels. Memorize her laugh and the lines on her face, her voice, every mannerism. She leaves for Heaven sooner than you could imagine.* Hang out with Dad a lot. He’s a great guy and even though he doesn’t talk as much, loves you and has a lot to say so keep poking around until you find what he likes to talk about most.*Find your voice and use it!* Have more fun. Relax and loosen up. Spend lots of time with your friends and do silly (but safe) things. Make good memories.* Learn to love yourself and all that you’re about. Find your tribe and plant your garden and be your best you.*Always follow God. I know now that you always do, but it’s worth saying.* Be nice to the boys who ask you out, even if you don’t want to go out with them.*You are beautiful, special, and unique, with a story to tell and a great one to live. Don’t ever let anybody tell you different.*Travel! Save some money and see God’s world. It’s magnificent.* You will be alright. You’ll go through some challenges. But you will have amazing children who are your champions. You are strong and you make them strong. And you’ll all be alright.
Dear Teenage Alex,
First off, I’d like to give you a round of applause for being able to tolerate all that you did. Because, let’s face it, you’re completely different in the future (which is not a bad thing at all). I’m not going to give you the cliche, “if you told me 10 years ago this is where you’d be, I would’ve never believed you” speech. Let’s face it. You’ve worked your butt off to get to where you are today. Your dedication, perseverance, and hard work got you to much to look forward too.
Although back then you would want to change how things play out until now, I’m telling you that it happened the way it was supposed – because everything you ever wanted is waiting for you, inches and inches away. You’ve accomplished so much and you should be ever so proud of yourself. Oh, and you’ll meet some of the most incredible people along the way.
So kiddo, you did it. You overcame ever obstacle ever thrown in your direction. Kudos to you, pal.
Dear Teenage Melanie:
I know you think you know everything right now, but this is something you need to hear: That boy is NOT going to be worth the trouble he is putting you through. You know this! He’s lazy, irresponsible, and he treats you like crap. So get out of there, for heaven’s sake, and don’t look back.
Also, your parents really DO have your best interests in mind, so maybe tone down the eye rolls a little bit, and try listening to the advice they’re giving you. They honestly love you and are trying to do the best they can with your difficult attitude.
So quit sulking! Take your anti-depressants! And get out of that relationship! I know it’s hard to hear, but I promise you will thank me.
Love, Your 30-Year-Old Self
All those times you wanted to give up because things got tough and you didn’t think you would go anywhere I’m proud of you for not giving up or giving in. I’m proud of you for choosing not to be a victim and become a victor. It wasn’t easy, but because you made that choice I’m able to use that and help other people who struggle with that. There’s a lot you could’ve let bring you down but you didn’t and I’m thankful for that. I’m glad you went after so many experiences that helped you discover who you are in God.
You’ve done a lot of growing and I’m thankful you’ve always been open to that. I will continue to grow and not forget how far I’ve come!
Dear Teenage Amanda,
Although in this current moment in time you are wishing that the other kids at high school would stop bullying you about your weight, being told by teachers and by the other kids that you will never amount to anything in life and that you should not bother furthering your self at either college or university cause you will never succeed in them, and wishing that you could be working or being anywhere but at school
Let me tell you now that you don’t need to worry about what they have told you or said to your face or behind your back. You have succeeded in more ways than you think.
For starters you have gone on to college and have successfully completed various different courses and qualifications over the years. The weight that you have struggled with since the beginning of high school you will go on to find out that it is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
You will go onto be Aunty to 2 beautiful boys (with another niece or nephew to be born in a few weeks time), who absolutely adore you and love you unconditional. You always make sure that you tell them how much they are loved and that they can be anything in this life and not to let people get the better of them.
Just remember to stay strong, positive and do not let the people around you get the better of you. Your future is bright!!
Dear Teenage Nichole,
I want to tell you a secret… What other people think of you doesn’t matter. You do not have to be liked by everyone. All those people you think are talking behind your back, silently judging you or simply don’t like you are all thinking those same thoughts. Just because that girl sitting beside you didn’t talk to you doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to. She’s just as nervous and shy as you are.
Know that you parents aren’t the enemy. They truly love you and will be there for you in your darkest moments, even after the way you treated them. Their love for you is unconditional. Listen to your father. He keeps telling you that you do not communicate well. He is right. The sooner you learn to communicate your problems and feelings, the sooner your mom and you will become friends. Yes. I know it is hard to believe right now but she will be your best friend very soon.
That person who hurt you. Speak up. Tell them so that your relationship can be repaired and you can move on. Know that they will become your best friend in the near future. Speak up when you think they might be making a mistake. They might not like to hear it, but they will thank you in a few years. Trust me.
Know that where you think you’ll be in five years isn’t where you actually are. Just because your plans and dreams change doesn’t mean your a failure. It means you realized you have potential for so much more. Oh, one last thing… People are going to hurt you. People are going to let you down. The sooner you learn to forgive and let go the better.