Dear 16 Year Old Self….

I met up with one of my oldest friends for coffee yesterday (since 4th grade), and we got to talking about how we wish we had more guidance growing up… Don’t get me wrong we had fantastic families but they just came from almost a different world and just didn’t know any better or different really. People constantly talk about what you would say to your 16 year old self and here’s my letter to her….

Dear 16 year old Tantra,

I know you are anxious to get out of this town, but I promise you it’s really NOT that bad, and you may even end up back here. You are a beautiful, intelligent, athletic, and talented young lady and truthfully you have the world by the balls. Don’t let popularity, partying and your fight for the “perfect body” detour you.
You are going to hate this but Coach Pete is ALWAYS right (you roll your eyes, but trust me, he is).He has a lot of knowledge and experience that you simply don’t and he truly has your best interest at heart. The minute you go to college, you will realize how right he was. Don’t listen to the other kids, because even though you probably won’t believe this, he will be in your life in 20 years and they most likely will NOT. Talk to him. Trust in him. Tell him what’s going on, if anyone can help you, it’s him! Let him do his job and I GUARANTEE that you will get a track scholarship to college.
Work hard. In whatever you do. Some of your “friends” won’t understand and those so called friends won’t be there in 10 years. You, my lovely, are all you have so don’t let people bring you down.
You WILL get married and have children. I know, you don’t have time for that today but there WILL be a day that you fall in love and have beautiful babies. Don’t let the idea of being a “spinster” or traveling the world with no kids be your only dream and also don’t let the worries of never finding anyone to love you eat you alive because you are worthy of love.
You ARE beautiful! It’s hard for you to see it because you live in a town where beauty is measured in blue eyes and blond hair, but you will quickly learn that that the world is bigger than your tiny town and in the future that will all change. Along with this, also know that you are NOT fat! I know you are battling the body image demons but you are a runner, you are strong and fit and you need food to fuel your body. Just be aware of what you are fueling it with. You probably, think, what does this girl know? But I’m telling you, you are destroying your body. Be careful.
Running… I know you think that it’s just a way for you to escape this town and go to college, but it’s really soooo much more than that. This will become your way of life and escaping from reality. Right now it IS your job but in 7 years it will become your lifestyle. You WILL hate it and you will think about quitting and that’s perfectly fine because you aren’t a quitter and you won’t. You won’t always run 100s and 200s… You will actually become a mid-distance runner and love it (so don’t fight it). You MAY one day even run a marathon or two and even qualify for BOSTON…
Finally, be a kind to everyone you meet, as you never know what they are going through. You could change their lives or they could change yours. Life can often be the result of circumstance, keep that in mind.
You will be fine, just remember to think your choices through because for every reaction there is a equal and opposite reaction (and not always a good one and not always and instant one). You may not realize it now but you will one day be the change you hope to see in the world…. Have fun, be safe, and remember you ARE amazing 💋.

If you could write a letter to your 16 year old self what would you say?

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17 thoughts on “Dear 16 Year Old Self….

    1. I just wish I could’ve been there for my 16 year old self… My friend and I were talking about how we probably could’ve change the life of those girls and made them way less cynical….I’m certainly not perfect today but I have come a long way for sure!

  1. I think this is one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time. It’s so great to reflect on the past and maybe think about things you wish you would have done. Although there’s no changing what’s already happened, you can change your feelings and reactions to them. Keep up the positivity!

    1. Thank you! With my birthday around the corner I have been doing a lot of reflecting in my life. I can’t believe I’m going to be 32! My 16 year old self would’ve sworn I would have tons of wrinkles and gray hair, lol. I think working with high schoolers this year had a really positive impact I me as well as them… You know I think that it’s important to look back at your old self, reflect, and see how far you have come. This year I’ve decided not to dwell on my past that I can’t fix but to learn from it and keep moving forward, after all 32 isn’t old at all;)

  2. This is so beautiful! I would tell my 16 year old self to not let fear hold her back. There are so many amazing people and things to meet and see, but only if you get out of the house once in a while. Books are great, but the world is amazing.

    1. I agree…. Reading about London was great but having the opportunity to explore it is UNFORGETABLE! I say read your book on the way to someplace amazing, maybe the fantastic book will make the flight seem quicker;)

  3. 16 year old Shane…Open up, don’t be shy. You have a lot to share and people will gravitate to you.

  4. Love this! Dear 16 year old Carson- contrary to what you believe, you really don’t know everything. One day life will slap you in the face and you will realize that humility is so much better than knowing everything.

  5. I love this post! 16 year old Irene, stop making plans. Not completely, go to college and work hard, but allow for life to take you places you never dreamed of and be open to new experiences.

  6. This is beautiful (ironically, what you just said to Irene,lol). When i look back at my 16 year old self, it is hard to think of what to say. I remember it vaguely. I remember other birthdays more clearly. But if I were to go back to talk to myself, from any age, I think I would impress upon myself to be more patient with the ones that I love. I have a tendency to fire back, or to say things that come across incorrectly, to get too “quick” about certain things, and I really wish I could have broken that habit. I think I would tell my 16 year old self to always be thankful for what I have and the people that love me. To protect myself and I did, but to know that forgiveness is an option later on. And to know that change is always inevitable.

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