A letter to my 16 year old self
(I rescued this photo from Myspace. How old school.)
I'm going to be 26 on Saturday, which means it's been an entire DECADE since I was 16. I can't tell you how terrifyingly quickly those 10 years have passed by. Here's all of the stuff I'd tell the girl I was back then, a letter to my 16 year old self...
YOU ARE NOT FAT. In fact, this is the thinnest you will ever be in your entire life, so please stop wasting it by worrying that you're fat. Wear the shorts, flaunt your midriff, embrace the size 8s. Trust me when I tell you that you'll definitely regret not doing this when you're wearing size 12s.
Stop worrying about whether people like you or not. It's hard now, in your last year of high school to believe that this little bubble isn't the be all and end all of life, but in a few years time, these people whose approval you crave so much will not take up a minute of your thoughts. Believe me when I say that things are going to get REALLY GOOD on the friendship front. You're about to meet some people who will still be in your life ten years later, girls whom you will still love and trust so fiercely that they could be your own flesh and blood. Cherish every moment with this new tribe - relish the hysterical laughter, the frequent nights out, the hours spent on the phone chatting. You'll miss it a lot when you're all flung to separate corners of the country, with only one or two weekends a year to be shared with some of your favourite people.
There will come a day when you no longer argue everyday with your sister. Even more surprisingly is that you will actually become pretty great friends, confiding in one another and making each other laugh. (Although you will still argue every now and then, if only so your mum doesn't become suspicious). You will come to appreciate your parents so very much, and will be incredibly grateful for everything they have done for you over the years. Try to remember this when they ask you to help out around the house and definitely don't take everything they do for you for granted.
You'll doubt whether you made the right decision when choosing a university to study at and a course to pursue, but in the end, you wouldn't change the choices you will make for the world. University will bring you another tribe of friends for life and a million unforgettable experiences to go with it. It'll also be where you'll meet the man you're going to marry (as totally crazy as that sounds to you right now), who is just as wonderful as you'd hoped - but only after your own personal ration of frogs of course. You'll cry painful tears about those frogs, but as the years pass you'll be unable to grasp and remember what that felt like at the time.
I know you worry about what the future might hold and what job you might end up with, but I promise you that you really don't have to. In ten years time you will be doing a job so wonderful that your little brain couldn't even dream it up right now, and you'll love it so much that Sunday nights won't make you sad. It'll take a little while to get there, but you'll learn a lot on the way and it will make you appreciate it all the more. Have faith.
You will do so much wonderful stuff in the next decade. You'll run marathons and attend fashion weeks and dance at festivals and go on amazing holidays and accept countless great opportunities. Each of these things will change who you are for the better, building and boosting that enthusiasm for life that is really starting to bubble up within you. Always say yes to anything that sounds like it could be a bit of fun, even if it's out of your comfort zone. You will never regret it.
I'm not sure you even realise yet how self conscious you are and how fragile your confidence really is. It will probably be this way for a while, but trust me when I say that you'll wake up one day and the opinions of others will no longer knock you off balance. You will be so assured and content with who you are and the life that you are building for yourself and the people you love that you will smile everyday, even though you have to pay grown up bills and save money and do dull stuff like dust and hoover regularly.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that the best is yet to come. Everyone has always told you that your school days are the best days of your life, but they're quite a feeble start in comparison to everything that's around the corner. Embrace every birthday, every year older, because each one will bring a fresh bundle of excitement and memories and total happiness.
Oh, and keep eating MacDonalds. Because what they say about your metabolism slowing down is sadly true. Make the most of those cheeseburgers and french fries while you can.