Monday, March 3, 2014

10 things I'd tell my teenage self (Monday Listicles)

I haven't participated in Monday Listicles for awhile, but I couldn't resist this one. This is for all the amazing teenage girls (and boys) in my life!

My teenage self
What I would tell my teenage self:

1. Mean girls (and boys) suck. Your resilience and enthusiasm will pay off in life. Don't let the meanies get you down. They don't matter.

2. Appreciate your youthful body, because your metabolism will change when you get older. That's right, you'll never be a size 0 again after college, Japan, and adulthood. But honestly, does it really matter that much? You'll feel freer in your body as you get older.

The only photo I have of myself in a bikini!
3. Continue taking risks. The best things in life and most satisfying moments will come to you when you take going to Japan at age 21 without knowing a word of Japanese...and meeting the love of your life there!

4. Follow your heart and your gut. You have great instincts for people and situations. Trust them and they will not lead you astray.

So many years of braces, and two jaw surgeries!
My mouth was really screwed up...
5. Don't take things for granted. You were born in the United States, with a loving and supportive family, receiving a great education and with enough food to eat...even though you have had some tough times in your life. Appreciate what you have received but realize that you have privileges that others do not. Use that knowledge to be self-reflective and compassionate toward others.

6. Surround yourself with people who feed your soul, and let go of people and things that drag you down or don't appreciate you. It will take you awhile to learn this one, but you'll get much better at it. Your circle of close friends will feed your soul, and you'll learn how to let go of friends, acquaintances, and family who do not make the effort to stay in touch or who are not good for well as memories that cause you regret or angst.

High school graduation (age 17)
7. Make a list of what you are looking for in a mate, and don't settle. You will find someone who sees your beauty, appreciates your strength, and values your spunk. You'll have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince...but make that list. Amazingly, you will find a partner who has all the qualities you list...even the ones that are not deal breakers (like having a great singing voice)!

8. Continue creating! You always feel great when you express your creativity...keep doing it on a regular basis. 
With one of my favorite little girls, Ailee
9. Who cares if you have daughters and sons? Yes, you always thought you'd have a daughter to nurture and bond with. Gender doesn't matter...the heart and soul does. You will have three funny, affectionate sons who adore and appreciate you. You will find young women out there to be your surrogate daughters, and your female friendships will be one of the greatest gifts of your life. 

In my favorite rainbow shirt (I was obsessed with rainbows as a teenager)
10. Life is short. Cherish each day. You'll come to know many people who die far too your friend and coworker Loretta, who would have celebrated her 59th birthday tomorrow if she hadn't died suddenly last year. Every day is a miracle. Keep seeking rainbows.

Senior photo, with our cat Lady Diana

Read other teenage wisdom at The Good Life, hosted by Stasha.


  1. How I loved your list - felt I could relate to much of it. I loved #2 - we need to be preaching it from the rooftops - value and enjoy the body you're given and stop obsessing about it. It serves you well and you are so right - we grow more at home in it as we get older. So much time girls waste worrying over body/face/looks.

    Loved your list and glad you joined!!

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  2. Thanks for your comment--I agree. Wish we could just throw our arms around all those teenagers full of self-doubt and reassure them!

  3. Love all of your photos! I didn't take the time to dig more up. Number 5 really resonated with me about realizing the privileges and opportunities as an American middle-class youngster. Fabulous list...creativity and not settling for less than...Wow!

    1. Thanks, Phoebe. I appreciate your comment!

  4. Love the photos! My sister was obsessed with rainbows too! Wonderful advice!