Advice for My Teenage Self
Today I was asked what advice I would give my teenage self if I could go back with all the info I have now.
Certainly there are many warnings I could give her knowing the difficulties she has coming her way...
I could share with her the outcomes of some of the destructive choices she's considering during those years...
There are a few guys going to cause a good deal of pain before too long. I could caution her about them...
She is going to cause a good deal of pain to others and lose them as a result. I could tell her how lonely life will become if she continues on this path...
I could save her a whole lot of money and set her up for a more lucrative future...
These are all tempting, but you know what? I wouldn't tell her a damn thing!
I feel a little cruel in saying that; though it doesn't come from a malicious place. Poor girl. She is going to spend the next 10+ years in a world of hurt.
She will choose an unfulfilling career path. She will fall deep into addiction. She will give up everything in search of power. She will push away the people who love her. She will be abused and abuse others. She will drown in debt. She will lie, cheat, manipulate and belittle as commonly as she breathes. She will wake up on countless mornings wishing she'd died in her sleep. She will experience physical ailments unexplainable by doctors. She will be wrongly diagnosed and poorly treated for mental illness. She will make destructive choices that baffle those around her. She will feel trapped in the body of a person she hates and go to great lengths to escape. She will be broken open in every way possible.
She won't know it at the time but these fractures are the key to the strong foundation we live on today. Each heartbreak, every stumble, all the failures were essential for her to become who she is now, and she really has grown into an extraordinary woman.
As strange as it sounds, the version of me sitting here writing this today cannot take pride in who I am or how I live my life, for I didn't do any of it.
All today's version of me has done is wake up (relatively) on time, snuggle with my partner, take the pups to the park, meditate, wash last night's dishes and make coffee. All nice things, to be sure, but not quite the feats of striving past me has accomplished. Which I suppose gives me my answer to the question.
If I could go back in time and tell teenage me anything, I would tell her "Thank you," hug her and come back to the patio where she and I are writing to you on this cloudy October morning.
One of the coolest discoveries I've made on this journey of self-love is that all regrets melt away, every perceived "mistake" disappears, scars become smiles.
Loving myself completely means I wouldn't risk changing a single thing in my past. I now look back with eyes of gratitude at a life lived perfectly. Every step taken was a step toward this life now, and I cherish the scarred feet that brought me here.
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