Advice to my 15 year-old self

Today, a friend on Facebook posted a link to a simple, interesting article that encouraged an exercise I found helpful – writing a list of things you’d want your 15 year-old self to know – in celebration of the first annual International Day of the Girl (which was yesterday, October 11, 2012). Wisdom is something we gain through experience, and as we learn, we want to share that wisdom.

The article’s probably right, though – I would have ignored most of this advice and continued on my path, but I still found the exercise enlightening. This was a way for me to reflect on the kinds of things I would teach a daughter, a niece, a young girl friend.

Here’s my list:

  1. Being single is a gift, not a curse. Take a break. (Also, if you do date, choose that guy in math class your senior year). Also, don’t fret that you need to marry by a certain age. Be absolutely sure before you take the plunge (and don’t do it before age 25).
  2. Exercise is a good thing – keep doing it, and build strong muscles. Also, band is not exercise.
  3. Read more, write more, and if given the opportunity, go to college early – it’s SO much more fun than high school.
  4. Eat more vegetables. Learn to like new foods. You don’t want to learn how to eat at age 23 and 55 lbs overweight.
  5. Go to counseling regularly. Head off these dark feelings now – you’ll be much more centered and content with your life if you do. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy – it means you are passionate. You can channel that passion into positive things with the right tools. It’s worth the effort and money. Do it.
  6. Women can be strong leaders and ministers. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And yes, you have the capacity to be pastoral.
  7. Not everyone in the church is like THEM. There are wonderful communities of believers to be a part of. Don’t be afraid to go to different kinds of churches. And don’t be afraid to doubt and ask hard questions about faith and church and moral issues.
  8. You’re adorable and a catch. Don’t let any guy into your heart that tells you otherwise. If he tells you what to do, or ever scares you (even once), get out immediately. Long before marriage. Abuse is not just physical, and it is always damaging.
  9. You aren’t supermodel material – sorry, you’re short, and you’re skin is too preciously white and sensitive to tan regularly. You’ll also probably never be a famous singer. But you’re amazingly strong, beautiful, intelligent, and capable of much more than you think right now.
  10. Have fun. Not everything in life is worth worrying about. Dance and play and never forget how to be vibrant and silly.

So, how about you? What would you tell your 15 year-old self? What would you tell your daughter/niece/young girl friend (or son/nephew/young guy friend if you’re male)?

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