Rachel’s Letter to Teen Me

by Rachel Brady

My friend, author Bekka Black, recently wrote a letter to her teen self, and I thought that looked like some fun, so I’ve jumped aboard.

Dear Teen Me,

I have more than twice your life experience now.

I considered telling you how much smarter you’ll be in twenty years, but the truth is that you’re already smart about all the important things. So instead I’ll tip you off about some minor points that will really help you out.

Your dad is right. There is no movie star on late night television whose interview is more important than a full night’s sleep. Please turn off Arsenio Hall and go to bed. You’ll feel so much better in first period English tomorrow.

I’m sorry to report that your struggles with driving are not due to inexperience, as we thought, but are genetically encoded into you. Lower your insurance deductible now. In 2003, a moment will come when you are shopping for a minivan. You will decide that those little backup sensors in the rear bumper aren’t worth the money. Please reconsider.

Lately you spend inordinate amounts of time worrying over whether to major in English or engineering. You’ll end up going with engineering and you’ll love your career. In about twelve years, you’ll try your hand at writing and finish a book. (I know! Crazy!) The book will get published! Sorry to ruin that surprise, but I want you to understand that sometimes in life, huge choices are not necessarily mutually exclusive like they seem at the time. Have the cake. Eat it too. You just might have to wait to eat it.

Speaking of which, the answer to your question about whether there is any fish in the world that does not taste disgusting is Yes! Tilapia. You won’t know that until you’re in your thirties. For now, stick with chicken.

Keep running. That will turn into a lifelong thing for you. One day, your best friends will be people you met on the trails.

Stop poofing up your bangs until they stand up ten inches in the air. We have an ozone problem now.

Tell your grandfather how much you admire him. By the time you’re mature enough to understand why that’s important, you will have missed your chance.

The boy in study hall likes you too. You’ll date for a couple of years, but he isn’t the One. Actually, you’re headed for a string of guys who aren’t the one. There is something important to learn from all those relationships, though, so love fully and love hard because it’s time well spent.

You will become a mother to three amazing kids! When you worry about whether you’re parenting them well enough, try to remember: Make the best decisions you can with the information you have at the time. Yes, you will look back and wish you’d done better here or there. But if you can look back and know you did the best you could with what you knew at the time, it’s a lot easier on your Mom Guilt.

In fact, let that be a guiding principle in all your choices.

Looking back at the choices you’re making now and how they’ve influenced the me of today, you should know you’ve done just fine.

Oh, one last thing. Your Thermodynamics professor will screw you on the final exam. She’s not going to grade on a curve like she says she will. Brush up on standard enthalpy.

Good luck. Grow out your bangs.


12 replies
  1. The Stiletto Gang
    The Stiletto Gang says:

    Great letter, Rachel. I think all of the Stiletto-ers need to do this. It's an interesting exercise in reviewing–and then happily letting go of–the past. I would remind myself to pay very close attention to the cute guy sitting to my left in French class and not the guy in front of him…he's THE ONE. You'd have another year of loving him if you had just paid attention. Maggie

  2. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    Rachel, I love it! I agree with Maggie, all the Stiletto Gangers should do this. 🙂

    Happy New Year, everybody!


  3. Carol M
    Carol M says:

    This is a wonderful idea! Too bad the letter couldn't actually back in time so your teen self could read it! lol

    Happy New Year!

  4. Rebecca Cantrell
    Rebecca Cantrell says:

    Loved your letter, Rachel! And the bangs looked great back in the day.

    Sounds like you always had your head screwed on right!

  5. moonsword
    moonsword says:

    Thanks so much for sharing…what a great letter! I may suggest this idea to my family before our next reunion so we can all have some good chuckles over our letters to ourselves. Happy New Year!

  6. Salar37_Shushan
    Salar37_Shushan says:

    That was a very enjoyable post. 🙂

    I am sorry to say that writing my teen self wouldn't have helped me as much. I had fewer choices despite being an all "A" student. A lot of my worst struggles came from externals. Best thing I could tell myself is what I told myself anyway… "Hang in there and don't lose faith." Okay, I could have used more faith…in myself and my Creator, but my bangs were all naturale. lol

    Anyway, Happy New Year. Praying its a better year for us all!

    Susan M

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