Some Notes to my Fifteen-Year-Old Self

Dear Laura,

These are just a few things the thirty-three-year-old me would say to you, if I could. I apologize in advance for the sentimentality of such a letter, but it is graduation season, and I suppose that has gotten the best of me.

Gym class does suck (except for the rollerskating unit — by all means, follow your instincts and make up all your missed gym classes that week), but exercise is actually not all bad. I know you think the kids going to tae kwan do look like they’re wearing bulky white pajamas, but martial arts are actually pretty cool (and furthermore, when we do take them up, we will get to wear black gis).

Just go ahead and ask Mom to help you learn to put in a tampon. Trust me, the initial embarrassment will be more than made up for by not feeling like you’re wearing diapers.

Everything you think or suspect about the fallibility of the U.S. government, particularly with regard to human rights, labor rights, and foreign policy, is correct. I wish it weren’t, but it is. And you know that letter to the editor you wrote about how the sanctions placed on Iraq after the Gulf War would make them a lot like Germany after WWI? I’m both proud and sad to say you were right about that, too.

Learn about the internet as soon as you can. Trust me, I know you think computers are kind of boring, but you are going to love this thing called the World Wide Web when it rolls around.

You are going to get over the body you’re in now, at least somewhat, and eventually we even get a wardrobe we like pretty well. I wish I could make that happen for us sooner, but not quite enough to make me tell you to get a job already. We spend quite awhile in our twenties being unemployed, which kind of sucks, but the hours are good.

One day you are going to run into Nick Ettinger at a party and not recognize him. Really.

Things really do get better in college, although not exactly in the ways you hope and expect.

Keep writing. It’ll help keep you sane and give you a way to while away several years in our twenties.

All the things that seem so terrible now will eventually not seem so terrible, although sometimes that will be because they are replaced by even more terrible things. But sometimes not. Sometimes things just get better.

When we are in college, Gran will tell us that you never know when people are going to turn up in your life again, and that is true, too. People don’t really leave; they just sometimes disappear for awhile. Don’t worry. The important ones will all come back to us.

I know you’re short on sleep, so I’ll cut this off now and just let you know that, for the most part, life is worth showing up for, even in high school. Well, at least occasionally in high school. Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair (also, you need to rethink your opinion of Bruce Springsteen — well, you will, so I guess you don’t need to right this minute — oh, the heck with these time shifts). Get some rest.

Love,
Laura

3 thoughts on “Some Notes to my Fifteen-Year-Old Self”

  1. “Gran will tell us that you never know when people are going to turn up in your life again, and that is true, too. People don’t really leave; they just sometimes disappear for awhile. Don’t worry. The important ones will all come back to us.”

    Wonderful lesson, and so true.

    Like

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