Welp, today is my last day of being 25 and I took the day off work and I'm being a bit nostalgic. I remember the day before my 16 birthday (scoff, a whole decade ago!) and how I literally was going nuts to turn 16 and "be an adult..." Oh, Lil Jessie! So, inspired by these other ladies' posts, here are 26 things I learned the past decade that I wish I could have told myself on my sweet 16:
- I know you're jazzed about getting your license, but be careful. A garage door opener will prove to be your nemesis (swear to God), you'll wreck your Mom's car, and have some serious issues about reversing for the next 10 years. Don't worry, you'll get a sweet car eventually with a back-up camera and your reversing/parallel parking skills will significantly improve. You'll laugh at this story someday.
- Be kind to your body, it's beautiful and the only one you get!
- Liking school and loving to learn IS actually cool. The guy you're dating now and a couple after that will tease you about it, and you'll try to hide your bookworm tendencies. Own it. Being smart IS sexy and eventually you'll believe it and find a man who loves this about you most.
- I know you've missed your sister while she's been away at college, but you'll get the chance to live with her again.
- Keep writing. You've been writing short stories and poems and essays. Be thankful you've already discovered this passion that will stick with you. Keep writing. It will serve you well in college and in your career. Keep writing.
- Your family will heal itself. This is a really tough time for you and the whole family, I know. Next year, things will start to get better once Dad has his first surgery. It will be a rollercoaster, but it will get better and your family will heal and become stronger and closer. Which leads me to my next point...
- Family first. I know you think your friends will always be there for you, but most of them will lose touch with you or grow in other directions or turn out not to be good for you. So appreciate your family and always put them first. Stop being a little wiener.
- Drink lots of water. It'll make your skin prettier.
- Your dance moves will only continue to improve...
From the freshman year lean back belly rub... To the senior year hair swing raise the roof!
- Your empathy is your best quality and worst quality, choose wisely. You have a kind heart and feel for others, but don't let them take advantage of you. You're extraordinarily loyal, but don't lose a sense of self by trying to help others solve their problems. Help others who help themselves.
- Stop obsessing. Your mind is like a hamster on a wheel, always spinning. Your thought habit of worrying and catastrophizing scenarios in your head are useless. So stop now...
- Okay, so you didn't listen about worrying about things that will most likely never happen... Now you have to deal with anxiety. And that's okay too. It will not kill you--it may feel like it will in the moment, but I promise the panic attack will subside. "This too shall pass" will become your fateful mantra, so learn to love it and live it.
- You'll forgo a high school graduation party in exchange for a trip to NYC to celebrate your graduation and 18th birthday with your sis. Great decision.
- You'll get big boobs.
- Don't lose your sense of humor. Once a goofball, always a goofball. If you can laugh during a difficult situation, you win.
- I know you're rolling your eyes at your Dad's advice now, but seriously, the guy's a trained clinical psychologist, and has got some years of life experience. "Push yourself. Don't take anyone's shit. Remember your breathing. Count your blessings. Say your prayers. Keep your spiritual light on."
- You will never grow into your big feet. Sorry to burst your bubble kid, but 5'5 will be as good as it gets.
- There will be a monster hurricane that hits New Orleans as you begin your first week of college. It will haunt you and nag you. You'll write a paper about it, and become committed to finding a way to help. You'll get to the chance to go down there and build a house.
- Be authentic. Being yourself will make you far happier than trying to fit in or being someone you're not. It will help you navigate many future interactions and life decisions.
- Fart jokes and people tripping or falling will still make you laugh 10 years from now.
- Trust your intuition. Your gut will prove to be right nearly 9 out of 10 times.
- Everyone grieves differently, be kind to yourself. Haters gonna hate. This will be a tough lesson for you to learn after you lose one of your best friends but will make you stronger.
Remember his love and light and laughter
- Your Mom always encouraged you to appreciate the simple beauty, the awe of nature, the creativity of art, and the magnificence of ancient architecture. It sounds corny now, but you will come to realize what a wonderful appreciation she passed along to you.
- The girl you met on your first day of high school is your homegirl by age 16. She's a good egg and will stick by you through the best of times and worst of times. She'll still be your best friend 10 years later and many more to come.
- You'll start a blog when you're 24. It will revolutionize your world and finally give you another learning challenge post-schooling. You will make amazing friends, push yourself to be more adventurous, satisfy your hunger to begin creative writing again, and have awesome opportunities along the way.
- Your journey is unfolding exactly as it should be. Reread that once again. One you believe in this, your entire world will open up. Keep JAMmin!