It’s hard to imagine that half my live ago (literally) I was turning “Sweet 16.” I’m not sure anything was all that sweet about me, except for maybe my tooth. Just like most teenage girls, I listened to my parents but often let the advice run in one ear and out the other. Had I really listened, something might have stuck and filled that brain of mine.
Now that I am 32, I wish I could go back and relive some of those moments since I know what I know now. Brad Paisley wrote a letter to his adolescent self, so I thought it would not hurt to humor myself as well. And while experience is always the best teacher, I would like to think that somewhere there is a 16-year-old girl who really listens and can benefit from what I know now that I wish I had known then.
Dear 16-year-old Kaci,
Here is a little advice that will make your life a lot better. How do I know? Because I lived it all. I don’t want to make your life that of a Disney Princess, as God knows that would be boring. (Even a good Hallmark movie includes a little mishaps.) But there are simply some mistakes that could have easily been avoided had you thought twice before acting.
First, lets talk about guys. Just because someone is a football star and every other girl wants to date him does not make him a good fit for you. Wait for a guy who is what you want. You will have a lot more fun over the next two years if you just hang out with your friends. Trust me, you’ll meet a respectful, blue-eyed cowboy in college.
It is good you like cheerleading and practice a lot. This will later earn you a free year in college (community college, but still an education), and help set the stage for your love of exercise. FYI: You will also get a little side money by teaching cheerleading to younger girls one day. Oh yeah, FYI means “for your information.” There will be a major tech boom near the end of your college days, leading to online sites much better than AOL messenger and a weird typing tool called “texting.” I am writing to you via a cool site now, right from my own Web site! (And dial up is so last century!)
Now about your driving . . . it sucks. This is not 1800, so you cannot get through life on a horse or four-wheeler (as four-wheelers did not exist in 1800). You must learn to drive a car better! This will save you lots of fender benders. Most importantly, don’t eat and drive! At least not with a fork. Even Taco Casa is not worth a busted up leg, crutches, and deep scar. And that little crying game you play when a cop pulls you over for speeding will catch up to you in a few years when your older cousin pulls you over and has no mercy!
Mean girls. So annoying that there will one day be an entire movie named after them. Ignore them. People who spend that much time picking you apart obviously have their own issues. Don’t retaliate their meanness, but instead read Proverbs. The Bible assures you that those who continue in evil will not have a great life, but those who respect God and others will. Trust me, some of them get a lot nicer and feel bad about what they did . . . and the rest end out in trailer parks with divorce papers rather than degree certificates.
As for your appearance, you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14). Weight is just a number, and you will never really be fat. Even at eight and a half months pregnant you will weigh less than most people and look like a grasshopper rather than a pumpkin. Sure, your feet and face will blow up in the end, but it is not all that bad. The only thing that can come from obsessing about weight is an eating disorder, and the only thing good that can come from that is a book. But even the book isn’t worth the pain.
Write, write and write some more. You love it and will find in college that you want to major in journalism. You are also good at this, and it will make you money. Not a “ton” of money like a doctor or lawyer or Powerball winner, but a decent living. And most of all you will enjoy it. Save yourself some time and minor in theater, join an Improv troupe, and take script writing while in college. You will be glad you did years later.
Oh, and a few final notes of helpful information on random topics:
Y2K is a bunch of bull. Don’t worry about it. (Although when your dad hits the breaker at your New Year’s Eve party it will make for some good laughs a minute later.)
Start drinking less Diet Mountain Dew now (As gross as it sounds, you switch to diet in college.), and you will save yourself a lot of trouble later. And drink water!
Buy stock in Apple. I know this seems hilarious, but it will pay off BIG in about 10 years.
Your parents fight all the time. It will get better, but not in the way you think. Pray for both of them and have patience with them. It will all eventually get a lot better.
Don’t be so hard on your younger sister stealing your clothes. She will one day be a shopaholic and give your frugal self lots of cute hand-me-downs.
You are close to and love all your grandparents. That is awesome. Cherish all the time you have with each of them.
That’s about all I can think of for now. I hope you take my advice, but even if you still let this wisdom run in one ear and out the other, your life will still turn out great. You have a wonderful and handsome husband, cute little boy, smart dog, good career, and lots of awesome people in your life. Plus, you’re still skinny and your car is paid off!