07 February 2013
Letter to [Almost] Fourteen Year Old Jenn
Ten years ago, I was on the brink of turning fourteen. Fourteen is freshman year of high school, first boyfriends, and learning who I was. I truly liked (and still like!) who I was at fourteen, but if I would have had just a few pieces of advice, I think my teenage years could have been just a tad bit better.
So, with the risks of creating a time paradox noted, should this be discovered by an earlier version of myself, A Letter to [Almost] Fourteen Year Old Jenn:
Dear [Almost] Fourteen Year Old Jenn:
I know you think you’re living the dream right now. It was nice to be one of those kids who really enjoyed high school, wasn’t it? But there are some things that we need to talk about, and I want to talk about them now. Take my advice, okay? Because if anyone knows things about you, it’s me, right?
Okay, here we go.
1. Be nicer. Seriously. Jenn, I know it was your thing to be sort of a bitch to people, and you got away with it pretty easily because of the being small thing, and no one was actually intimidated by you, but you really should be a little bit nicer. You and I both know it’s a defense mechanism, but I’m going to stop you right now. If you weren’t such a raging bitch all the time, people would like you more, and you wouldn’t need the defenses. I’m just sayin’.
2. Break up with him. No wait, don’t break up with him. You’re still really happy now, aren’t you? Stay with him, but dial down the commitment. Be casual, date him, date around, and don’t spend every waking moment with him. Spend time with other people. Spend time in groups, both with and without him. Enjoy being young. Because, you know what? He really was a good guy for you in high school, but I’m willing to bet (because I KNOW, spoilers.) that he isn’t the only good guy for you in high school. He makes you happy now, but because of him, you are choosing to miss out on things. Also, later, when you do break up, don’t blame him for the fact that you are choosing to miss out on things, he didn’t make that choice for you. But eventually, yeah, break up with him.
3. Take some risks. I know that there are a lot of things that you are really strongly against right now, and I know you judge pretty harshly those who aren’t against those things. Sweetie, listen to me when I say this: lighten up. Please? In the next ten years, your life is going to drastically change in so many ways, that you can’t even imagine it right now. Let me take a moment to assure you that I am still confidant that you would be happy to see who I am, I certainly haven’t picked up any bad habits that you disapprove of, but I’ve taken some chances. I’ve had some experiences- many of which your peers are experiencing now, and if you could be willing to lighten up and give them a shot, you might see that they aren’t the terrible people you imagine them to be. Don’t do things you aren’t comfortable doing, that’s advice you’ve always (&will always) live by, but try to be a bit less harsh to those who do things that you won’t.
4. Keep being you, honestly. Right now, you are the most creative and unique that you will ever be. Freshman year of high school was a great year for you, in terms of breaking out of the faux private school mold, and becoming a unique person, keep that up. Embrace it. Rock those jelly bracelets and weird necklaces. In fact, pursue that weirdness for as long as you can. People actually like it about you.
Looking back, I’m proud of the person you are right now. I hope you’re proud of me.
[Almost] Twenty Four Year Old Jenn
(oh, and yeah. I dressed like that daily. I was cute, right?)