Look at what I chanced upon today: Dear Me: a Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self
If you had a chance to write to your 16-year old self, what would you say? In this book, some of the world’s most well-known and most-beloved personalities do just that. I read a few of these missives-to-self, and I was charmed especially by Emma Thompson’s letter. I may be biased; I love Emma, always have. But she makes it so easy. Have a look:
May 29th 2009
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)
Then there was also Elton John’s letter to take note of. The last line is a sureshot smile-maker:
March 8th 2009.
You are a very young 16. you know nothing about sex — you don’t even know what a “queer” is. Trust me when I tell you — you are “queer”; you are a gay boy. I made the mistake of not having sex until I was 23! I loved being with another man and felt relieved that I finally knew who I was. I made the mistake of falling in love too soon because I was naive and romantic. 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. In certain countries we are still not treated as equals, especially by the so-called “Christian” Church. I made a lot of mistakes. 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!!
PS. CHANGE YOUR NAME
So, of course I think this is just a terribly cute idea. And of course I now want to write mine. Before I do, I’d like to ask you to write your letters and share them here with me. If that’s okay, of course. For now, here’s mine:
It’s not the end of the world. It’s not the end of your life. It’s not even the end.
I know it seems as though everything keeps changing and that it hurts beyond belief. The thing is, it’s about the most predictable thing about life there is. I won’t promise it gets better, but you will get better at dealing with it and taking it all in your stride. You will. From where I am now, you’ve aced it already. Well, nearly.
You’re not ugly. Your parents should know better than to keep telling you that you are, but they just don’t. In time, that will be okay too. You will learn to forgive them. Seems impossible now, stupid even. But you don’t have the heart to be any other way. I’m proud of this.
Don’t forget to forgive yourself, and love yourself. Set an alarm, if it helps, or get a tattoo. But don’t forget. I can’t stress on this enough.
You will fall in love more times than you can count, and have your heart broken so often you will think life has no meaning but death. The fact is, there is someone meant only for you. I can tell you this for certain from where I am today, and although I can’t say who, I will say that when you see that someone, you will know it immediately.
Slowly learn to stop running after love. Don’t try to make love stay. You don’t need to cling to everything you cherish. Deep inside, you know this already. Imagine what would happen if you just let it all go. It’s a lot like holding onto balloons. One moment you’re clutching at strings, and the next you’re staring up at the sky and watching magic happen.
Know, that I will always be somewhere waiting for you with love, twenty years down the line.
M. + 20