What I Would Want 16-Year-Old Me To Know

by Danielle Zimmerman
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You are now 17 years older and wiser. You have been through the many ups and downs that come with life and have come out on the other side stronger and at times a little more jaded.

I can’t go back in time and change your path but I can tell you you’ve learned and grown from the mistakes as well as the victories.

Despite this, there are a few things I want you to know about life, love and friendships.

1. Be your own, independent self.

Too many times it is easy to follow the crowd and lose your own individual identity. You wear what’s trendy even if you don’t like the style, join the popular crowd even if you don’t like the people, and mute your ideals because someone may not agree with you. You should dress and act how you want to. You are your own person and nobody, not even the popular crowd, can take that away from you.

2. Don’t be a mean girl.

There will be so many girls who will try to bring you down. Girls who will make fun of you for the way you look, the way you dress, even your weight. Don’t be one of those girls. Be better then them. Be the girl that is remembered as being kind, the one that people like because you made them feel good. Those mean girls in high school will most likely stay mean girls into college and then become the mean girls on the PTA. My point is, be kind to everyone. You’ll feel better about yourself in the end.

3. You are not fat.

You are not overweight. You may look in the mirror and not feel comfortable in your own skin but I am here to tell you that your body issues are unfounded. Your body will go through many changes as you get older including weight gain, weight loss and creating two tiny, beautiful lives. Embrace your ability to wear whatever the fuck you want to now while you’re still a size 4 and your metabolism is sky high.

4. That boy you thought was “the one,” was not and will never be “the one.”

In fact, you will meet a man who will be everything you wanted and more later on in life. Stop focusing on trying to get this guy in high school who will most likely end up meaning nothing to you later on. Also with that said, if a guy wants to be with you, he will be with you. He won’t wait to call for days on end, blow you off, or make comments about how he’s just not ready for a relationship right now. If he does any of these things: run. Don’t settle for anything less then you deserve. This is one thing you will learn the hard way.

5. Chase your dreams.

If you want to become a lawyer or try to go to the Olympics for the high jump, chase after it. It’s okay to have big goals in life. These dreams may come crashing down but you will always regret not trying. In my opinion, regret is worse then failure.

6. It’s okay not to have your entire life planned out.

I spent many sleepless, panic-filled nights wondering what I was going to do with my life. Which college to go to, which career path to take, questioning if I was making the right choice. I’m here to tell you that none of that mattered. You will eventually find your way and it may be doing something you never thought you would do like becoming a nurse.

7. No one in the real world gives a sh*t if you were the most popular in your class.

They give a shit about your character, your work ethic, and your personality. Sure, it feels good to be liked and have people know your name long after you graduated, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter 10 years down the road.

You’ve hit a few bumps along the road but you’ve managed to find a job you love, become a mom and find the man of your dreams. Is your life what you pictured it to be at 16? No, but in some ways it’s better. So hang in there. You’ll get to all the good and the bad that growing up has to offer.