A couple of weeks ago on Twitter, someone asked, “do u think ur 16 y/o self would be impressed with u?” She got lots of responses … some sad, some touching, some hilarious. (I especially laughed at the one where a guy wrote, “yes bc i’ve had s*x. which, if i’m remembering correctly, is all i wanted to grow up to be when i was sixteen.”)
I love this question, because I’ve thought a lot about what grown-up me would say to teen me if I could go back and do those years over again, but I’d never stopped to think what teen me might have to say to me now.
One thing I’ll bet she’d say is the same thing I’d tell her: Don’t be so hard on yourself.
The thing is, most of us tend to beat up on ourselves in ways we would never do to our friends or even complete strangers. In THE BOYFRIEND WHISPERER, my main character, Lexi, helps her classmates find love. In doing so, she becomes a cheerleader for them, reminding them of who they are and why they deserve to love and be loved, yet she gets down on herself for being unable to snag her own dream crush, telling herself things she would never tell her clients. She basically does that destructive thing so many of us do inside our own heads where we convince ourselves we’re not good enough.
Think about it. What would Past You (or maybe Future You) have to say to you now? Sure, there may be some tough love, maybe even a bit of eye rolling, but I’ll bet you wouldn’t beat yourself up the way Present You does sometimes.
So … what would 16-year-old Linda (yes, that’s her up there, rocking the bangs) think of adult Linda? Back then, I believe I had three main interests: boys, music, and my friends (though not always in that order). So how am I doing?
First, BOYS: Pretty sure 16-year-old me would take one look at my husband and be like:
So, yeah, I get a passing grade in that department.
Next, MUSIC: Here’s where teen me might want to puke a little bit in her mouth.
Nowadays I have a much broader appreciation for music (i.e., I catch myself dancing around the kitchen to stuff I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to at 16). But you know what? I was kind of pretentious about my music selections back then, so I’m okay with that.
Finally, FRIENDS: I’m guessing teen me would be shocked at some of the people from high school I am now friends with on Facebook.
So many of those high school insecurities that were the genesis of the all the clique drama are gone, and (who knew?) my classmates for the most part have turned out to be more than their labels and their crowd and their reputation. They actually have individual personalities and layers.
So would 16-year-old me be impressed with current me? I’m not sure. She was not easily impressed. But she’d probably give me a hug and tell me that even though I am kind of boring and lame and way too pro-establishment, she’s glad I’m happy and doing what I love to do.
What about you? Would Younger You be impressed?