Dear Teen Me edited by Miranda Kenneally and E Kristin Anderson is a collection of advice written by over 70 YA authors to their teenage selves. Please check out the awesomeness here: http://dearteenme.com/. In honor of the publication of their anthology, I’ve written my own ‘Dear Teen Me’ and I encourage you to do the same.
Dear Teen Me:
I bet you thought that after college, the perfect job would just appear. I’m sorry to break it to you that is not the case. You currently work at a bookstore where you’ve worked for four years. You did have a stint at a vanity publisher, but you left that to move to Indianapolis. Your perfect or near-perfect or survivable job is still out there. It’s just proving elusive to find at the moment.
Also, just so you know, everything isn’t black and white. There are about fifty shades of gray (you’ll get this reference in time, but please don’t jump on that bandwagon.) There is no perfect answer. Sometimes there isn’t even a right answer. More often than not, there are twenty answers and you have to dive into the ocean to find a suitable one. And you don’t get goggles.Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. But it is better that you are realistic. I want you to know that life will be tough. Not near-starvation, life-threatening tough, but it won’t be easy.
There are so many things I wish I could tell you. Life-changing things, but somehow those are not easy to put into words. The experiences will have to speak for themselves, when the time comes.
|Me at age 15|
But here are a few tips that might help you over the next ten years:
· Always give the right-of-way when driving. If you let the other person go first, you might grumble a bit but you won’t feel guilty for hours about cutting someone off.
· Stop rushing. Yes, you can walk fast and you can work fast. You might end up with more time in the end, but you could also end up with more work and more fatigue.
· Exercise. I know you don’t want to. Do it anyway.
· Wear a bikini. Wear flip-flops. Wear shorts. Don’t be self-conscious of your feet, legs or body. You’ve only gained a little weight since high school but you are still an average American (size wise). So wear what you want, without wearing too little.
· Talk to people. Stop being afraid of being outgoing. Share something about yourself, and you’ll learn something in return. Maybe you’ll even make a new friend.
· At one point, in third grade, you wanted to be a writer. (Hopefully you remember this. If not, think about Mrs. Decker’s class and the story about a unicorn.) There were so many dreams that you’ve had since then (architect, journalist, ambassador), but now you’re back to writer. So please write. Write now.You might scoff at this. You’ve always been a little stubborn, and not great about taking advice. But at least promise me that you will keep these notions in the back of your fifteen year-old mind. Someday they might come in handy.
-- Jamie, 2012