An Open Letter to 13-Year-Old Me

Dear 13-Year-Old Me,

You’ve just become a teenager. I am writing this a week after my 20th birthday, when I have now officially completed my teenage years. There’ll be some ups and downs but take it from someone who knows – you’ll make it through (relatively) unscarred. So here’s a few tidbits from someone who’s been there, to hopefully make the next seven years runs as smoothly as possible.

For starters, don’t give up performing. You’ve done a little bit of this in the past but the theatre will become one of the most important parts of your life, your social circles, your personality. You will learn a lot, meet some of the most important people you’ll come across and become a better version of yourself. I mean, you’re alright now but there’s always room for improvement. Besides, you’ll have a tonne of fun. That I can guarantee. And you’ll be surprised where it’ll lead you and what opportunities it will bring in the future.

Speaking of important people, don’t get too caught up in the drama of life and friendships in a single-sex school. As cliche as it is, people will continue to come in and out of your life and it is not worth the angst and tears to worry about every falling-out. Trust me, you’re in for a fair few of them. But don’t resent it when it happens. These people will be some of the most important in your life at various times, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. Appreciate these friendships for what they are and how they help you change, and let them go when the time comes. Desperately holding on to something that has already passed won’t help you.

Starting high school means a lot of pressure. Pressure to make friends, pressure to get good grades, pressure to decide what your future will be. My advice? Don’t sweat it. Whilst I won’t screw with your natural progression of aspirations and dreams by giving away too much, your ideas of what you’ll be doing in fifteen years will be vastly different by the time you graduate. And a word of warning; there will be misguided pressure to ‘make the most of your potential’. To pursue particular paths simply because you’re a bit of an overachiever. DON’T listen to them. The best decision you’ll ever make is simply to do what you love, what inspires you and what you are interested in. Doing well will flow naturally from this.

That being said, you’re going to make some bad decisions too. It’s inevitable, everyone does it – though I understand that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. There will come a time in the next few years when you’ll be faced with the reality that you’re not the person you want to be. To be honest, I won’t even tell you how to avoid it because it’s possible that in some way, it was meant to happen. You’ll get through it. But keep a clear view on the qualities and values that make you, you. Some people will try to change this and it’s only through recognising your mistakes that you’ll realise where you should be heading.

This is the point when you turn around and say “Hey, strange older version of me, writing from the future! This isn’t helping! Hows about you just tell me what I’m going to do wrong so I can stop it happening and coast through the next few years without any hassles? Is that too much to ask? Why all the mystery?” And that’s a fair call. I know from experience that there’ll be times you hate what’s happening to you and wish that you could do anything to change your situation. “You’re doing it again.” I know. But that’s my point – looking back at it now, those times were horrible to go through… “Watch it” – BUT you won’t regret them. They will help you better yourself in their own way, perhaps in an even more profound way than some of your successes – of which there’ll be plenty, don’t worry. “That’s more like it.”

And hey, I’m no expert. I won’t be writing a self-help book anytime soon, preaching my failsafe tips for conquering life as a teenage girl and emerging into adulthood a success. “Ain’t that the truth.” But you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. Look after yourself. Keep doing what makes you happy. Challenge yourself – cause let’s face it, you tend to coast a bit. “And what’s wrong with tha-You’ve got a lot of attitude for a scared little pre-teen, you know that? Get back in my head. Anyway, what’s wrong with that is that you’ve got a lot of potential. And the people who will help you the most in the long run will be the people who recognise this and help you cash in on it. Take it from the uni student who is currently beginning five months of holidays – taking it easy may sound like fun but you’ll get too restless if you try to coast for too long. Exercise your intellect wherever possible. Cause we both know actual exercise isn’t your forte. But you’ll keep trying at that too.

“You talk a lot for someone who said they didn’t want to give too much away.” I know. That’s another thing – keep writing. One day you’ll have a blog that is read by approximately no one but that keeps you happy. “So how do our twenties look? Promising?” I think so. Give me ten years and I’ll write another letter for you when you get here.

Yours with love,
Twenty-Year-Old You

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2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to 13-Year-Old Me

  1. Timeless – this sounds very much like the 13- 20 year old I was more years ago than I care to count. Imagine if 13 years old realised that we were all going through the same life experiences – would they feel better about themselves? A powerfully written blog post that provided me with an opportunity to reminisce.

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