Dear Teen Me

Dear Teen Me,

First of all, you don’t die before adulthood. I don’t know where you got that ridiculous idea. You probably just didn’t want to have to plan for the future, or you thought it would be romantic. Anyway, get to work, because I’m 39 and still here! I don’t want to tell you too much, because though I’m not rich or anything (sorry, but that’s partly your lazy butt’s fault) things could be a lot worse, and you know how we feel about little changes making big differences. Wait, maybe you don’t know. Have you seen Back To The Future yet?

But maybe I could tell you a few things. Most importantly, life will be more pleasant if you floss your teeth. Oh my gosh this is just like Quantum Leap! You’re the only one who could understand my excitement. In tonight’s episode, Scott Bakula goes back in time to tell girl to floss teeth. Yes!

And sorry, but hours of staring at yourself in the mirror do not shrink your nose. Lots of people have big noses. Get over it. You still get married and everything. And even if you didn’t, big deal. Stop making faces and go call a friend or something. Or help mom with the dishes. You don’t do that enough.

While you do end up making some money with a music degree, could you also try to get some of your writing published? I could use a little beef in my query letters – I’m dyin’ here. Wait, let me check my email for agent responses.

Nope, guess you didn’t do it. That’s okay. You’re busy playing softball and watching Quantum Leap and evaluating which expression makes your nose look smallest. Or maybe you were just afraid to change the future. I totally get it.

Do NOT go to that party at R’s where his parents aren’t going to be home. You make a fool of yourself, and Mom finds out you lied about the parents being there. And speaking of Mom, don’t give her a hard time for bawling out the yearbook teacher on your behalf. To this day I’ve only seen her cry twice. Once was when the dog died, and, great job, your giving her a hard time was the other one. She was just trying to help.

You DO have musical talent. Somehow you are going to be first chair in the state honor band and STILL not believe in yourself. You are going to go to college and have a boy tell you that you got in the top band because you were a girl. That guy was an idiot.

By now you have figured out that you do graduate from high school. It’s not pretty, and involves a chemistry teacher telling you and Mom and Dad you got a D, and you cheering, and the teacher saying, “No, not a B. I said D.” And you saying, “I know!”

That’s all I feel comfortable telling you, really. It’s so tempting to tell you about how you meet your husband, and how you get through the rough patches, and how much you mean to this world, but the thing is, you have to learn most stuff for yourself. You already have Mom and Dad and your sisters and your teachers telling you you’re great, and I’m not sure that even my telling you will help. But maybe it will encourage you, even just a little, to know that for at least a few bright moments between you and me, you’ll believe it.

39-year-old You

PS, Hey, here’s a note from 70 year old me. Should I read it?


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9 responses to “Dear Teen Me

  1. Mary

    Great post Re! I was present for several of these events. Ah, Quantum Leap… I’m headed to the dentist in about an hour, I’m off to floss! 😉 Love you, Mary

  2. I should have told myself how close I end up living to you! Thank goodness you were there for all those things! Love you too 🙂

  3. What a fun exercise. I think I’d have to write Teen Me a whole book, but then Teen Me wouldn’t believe it.

  4. Becky Maloney

    Hey, I didn’t know you have a thing about your nose too! I always hated the bump on mine. I also didn’t help mom with the dishes enough. And Quantum Leap… is it in reruns any where? I could lay around and watch a marathon right now. But what would my future me have to say about that? BTW, Mom yelled at the yearbook teacher for me too. Maybe he had something to learn.

  5. Dear Teen BitterWarrior,
    Guess what? I wrote a poem on being 92 and I’ve still got a loooooong ways to go to get there, so stop fussing over dying before being an adult. (Yeah, yeah, you probably think some adults are as exciting as dead you-name-it.)
    My teen self recently took over & I ended up doing a stupid stunt that dumped me in the hospital, so think before you leap! And, hmmm, yes everyone loves music, so keep at it. Keep writing!

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