For the next 30 days, I will be participating in the WEGO Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge by blogging about a predetermined topic each morning. Please visit http://blog.wegohealth.com to learn more - and please check back each evening for your regularly scheduled programming.
Dear 16-year-old Emily:
Wow. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting in the corner of my bedroom, surrounded by dozens of Brad Pitt photos cut out of magazines, flipping through YM, and being yelled at from downstairs to hang up with BJ since someone needed the Internet.
But, it wasn't yesterday. It was 12 years ago.
And a lot has happened in that time.
I have learned so, so much.
First, 16-year-old Emily, let me stress to you this:
Second, younger me, let me remind you of the importance of girlfriends.
There will be boys in your life. Yes, there will be boys. But you know what? Those boys - even the ones that you think will be around forever and ever - will disappear.
And you know what else? You know who won't disappear, no matter what? Your girlfriends.
Your girlfriends will be there when those boys disappear. Your girlfriends will bring you wine and Kleenex and let you cry until you can't cry anymore. Your girlfriends will tell you when you need to put on your big girl panties and get over him. Your girlfriends will make you laugh more than you thought possible. Your girlfriends will hold your hair back when you're sick. Your girlfriends will help you choose just the right outfit for your first date. Your girlfriend will text you and call you and come over in the middle of the night to hear all about that first kiss. Your girlfriends will have your back, even when you all know you are wrong. Your girlfriends will get in trouble with you. Your girlfriends will love you, even when you don't love yourself.
Your girlfriends are way more important than any boy.
And you, 16-year-old Emily, will have the best girlfriends a girl could ever want:
And third, mini-me, let's have a little lesson on boys.
Right now, you are with who you think is the love of your life. And you will be with him for four wonderful years. But you know what, young Emily? He is not the man for you. But, stay with him: you need to really see what a good boy is like. And furthermore, you should remember - you should never forget - how you were the center of the universe for that boy.
Throughout the years, you will remember how great that boy was - but only when other relationships have already failed. Sixteen-year-old Emily, I want you to remember how your first love treated you even when you are in the midst of other relationships. Because if you had remembered that as often as you should have, there is no way you would have made some of the mistakes that you did.
However, young Emily, understand that those mistakes you made - whether they were with boys, with friends, with missed opportunities - understand that those mistakes make you into the person you become. All of those failures - and all of your many, many successes - shape you.
Finally, 16-year-old Emily, keep being you. Keep loving your family with all of your being. Keep telling people you care about them. Keep sticking up for the underdog. Keep trying to make the world a better place. Keep caring more than you should. Keep doing what is right. Keep being idealistic. Keep believing that people are good. Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep running. Keep saying please, thank you, and excuse me. Keep standing up for your beliefs. Keep smiling, even when life gets you down. Keep being way too emotional. Keep having fun. Keep making mistakes - and keep learning. Keep remembering - and keep making memories.