What would you say to your younger self if you could speak to them as the person that you are today?
Whether you are still in your teenage years or you are in a position to look back on them with some hindsight and perspective, it is a truth universally acknowledged that teenage-hood is fraught with change and difficulty. No matter how happy some people claim their teenage years to have been, many of us find ourselves beset by insecurities and self-doubt in that pivotal decade.
Luckily, we’re not the only ones. If you’re still in the midst of adolescence, you can find comfort in the fact that some of our best loved and admired super-stars were once awkward and anxious teens too. And if those years are long gone, think for yourself:
what would you say to your younger self?
If there's a choice between companionship and anything else—especially career—choose companionship. It's the only thing that has the potential to last. Choose career and you'll spend unreasonable amounts of time attempting to look younger than you are and feeling you aren't succeeding. Fame is not acceptance.
Michael J. Fox
When the time comes to chase your dreams, and it will, they may seem elusive; but know you won't catch them all at once. Just one challenge at a time. When the unexpected and inconceivable intrudes on life, and it will, deal with life's actual events—don't obsess about perceived eventualities.
Relax—enjoy the ride.
If you spent a quarter of your time thinking about others instead of how much you hate your thighs, your level of contentment and self-worth would expand exponentially. Love yourself, think of others, and be grateful. I love you, I believe in you, and I look forward to respecting you.
PS: Follow your dreams not your boyfriends.
Don't ever let other people's opinion of you be your opinion of yourself.
Try to be more confident in yourself. Being bullied, all the different things that went on through school, pull your shoulders back and hold your head a little bit high. Have the confidence to know you deserve to be here, no matter what anyone says.
Positivity is everything. There will be low moments. But i know now how to get through it. Realise that you can’t change the past, all you can do is change the future. There’s so much potential in you. Give it everything.
My advice to you is never to chase love – it will find you when you least expect it. Have fun, have lots of safe sex and enjoy your sexuality.
Be proud of who you are and as you get older and wiser fight for gay rights – I’m 46 years older than you are, and we have a long way to go.
Stay away from drugs -- they're a waste of time. Stand up for every human being's rights. Be loving, kind and strong. Set an example. You're going to have a hell of a life!!
Contrary to the bill of goods you’ve been sold, life is not a competition. Stop comparing yourself to anyone or anything.
We are all on our own journey and YOU are the driver. There will be bumps in the road, detours to be taken and pit stops will have to be made, but you’ve got to fill ‘er up and keep going. You will lose your map, but never your intuition.
Dear Em (16),
I realise that you are young and in love and that nothing much that anyone old says seems relevant, but seeing as it's me — that is, you; that is, us, I think it's worth a go.
Two Top Tips from 50 to 16:
1) Don't EVER EVER EVER bother to go on a diet. I know you're obsessed and have that awful thing of standing in the 6th form canteen trying to choose between a yoghourt & a breathe of fresh air (whilst wanting chips & a cheese salad). Don't sweat it. Eat regularly, try & avoid rubbish and never diet. You'll end up the same size anyway, so drop it girl, & drop it NOW. Believe me — nobody cares. Diets are the best way of confusing your metabolism for the rest of your life. Just be you & get on with it, I cannot tell you how much time & energy you'll save & how much happier you'll be.
2) When he says he doesn't love you, believe him. He doesn't.
That's it. All the other mistakes you make are worth their weight in gold.
I love you — Em (50).
So there we have it.
8 people who have certifiably made it. 8 notes of warning, advice and encouragement to their self-doubting teenage selves. If you have three more minutes for a long read I encourage you to check out Stephen Fry's incredibly moving letter to his youthful self, too.