Dear 16-Year-Old Me,
Just you wait.
Oh, how I cringe when I hear those three words.
I cringe because what is inferred is this: you don’t have a clue, you haven’t seen anything yet because the life you have led thus far doesn’t measure up to what someone else has experienced.
Truth is, I don’t want you to wait.
I do not want you ever feeling as if what you know—and who you are—are just shy of another person’s version of what being enough is.
You are enough.
And you are empowered to define what being enough is for you.
Life is not linear. Our journey is filled with undulation, crossroads, intersections, detours, bumps, and a whole lot of open roads. There will be days, months, even years when you will wonder where the hell you are—hear me now—you are where you need to be.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
I’m not going to tell you what to avoid.
I don’t want to preach to you about what you might do differently. This is your journey, and you are equipped to take it.
Know this—you are strong enough, bright enough, brave enough, and love yourself and others enough.
What I do want to give you from out here in the future are a few beads of wisdom, things that no one should have to wait to learn, this is my gift to you.
Here they are…
Approach each day with a grateful heart. You get to choose the messages you fuel your heart and soul with so choose that which replenishes and makes you full.
Practice health. Nourish your body and mind with intention. Smile. Move. Laugh. Play. Dance. Sing. Stretch. Meditate. Listen. Sleep. Read. Learn. Write. Share.
Find your tribe. Seek people vested in positivity. People that choose to lead an examined life. People, who link arms, are empathetic and eager to grow.
Love freely. Know your values, who you are, and what you stand for.
Recognize when someone wants you to compromise all that you are—and if they do—have the courage to move away from them.
You are entitled to your emotional and physical safety.
Be brave with your voice. When you are brave with your voice, you will inspire others to be brave with theirs too.
Have an attitude that if it were contagious, you would be worth catching. Cultivate and grow a spirit of abundance. Lift others up and celebrate what they offer.
Get outside. Make time to sleep under starlit skies. Be still enough to hear the call of birds. Be awake when the sun breaks across the horizon. Walk barefoot on beaches and when you can, find more dirt under your soles than concrete.
Be involved. Do things that help. Be a good steward of the earth.
Be present. Now is what you have. Allow the moments to unfold. Your time here is a gift. Remain observant. Notice. Act.
Cherish the all of it. You get one spin on this merry-go-round called life that I know of—make it a great one.
You are enough.
And I love you as you are, right now.
Kim LePiane says
Beautifully written, with much to contemplate. I love this exercise. Thank you for sharing with us.
Thank you, Kim, I appreciate that and you.
Ruth Curran says
I am amending my best thing that happened to me this week list to include…reading this: “Approach each day with a grateful heart. You get to choose the messages you fuel your heart and soul with so choose that which replenishes and makes you full.” Amen and thank you for supplying that message that will most certainly fuel my heart and soul!
Aw Ruth…thank you! I am so touched to have made your list. xx
Helene Cohen Bludman says
Your writing is always eloquent and heartfelt, and this one was especially poignant. If only someone had told me, years ago — and I believed — “you are enough.” It’s something I am still wrestling with all these years later.
Thank you, Helene. Well for what it’s worth, I sure think you are enough. You are a light in this world and I am so happy that we met.
Tam Warner Minton says
Beautifully written. When exercises and questions like this come up, I always wonder, which 16 year old self? And can that 16 year old self have the knowledge the 50 year old self has? Imagine what a better world it would be if that was the case.
Indeed…I think it would be too, Tam. Thanks for your comment today.
Lois Alter Mark says
So beautiful, Elin. I hope you realize you are so much more than enough. I wish I had known your 16 year old self because I would have loved her as much as I love the 51 year old you.
Doreen McGettigan says
This is written so eloquently and is so heartfelt. I really wish I could have read something like this when I was 16. My life would have been so different.
Cathy Chester says
You are enough. You add value to the world. Your smile brightens my day. Your words warm my soul. Your 16 y/o self and who you are now are both angels to all who know you. You also are a brilliantly gifted writer.
I cannot wait to have my girls read this, it is so beautifully written! You have expressed what every girl should read at 16. Thank you.
Beautifully written and such a fun writing project too! I think I might have to have a go at one of these myself some day. 16 is a very difficult age. Thanks for sharing this with us.