We’re all aware of what occurred in Santa Barbara last week and that his actions were unfortunately due to loneliness and rejection. Although God and the Universe clearly had other plans for him, given how young he was, there is no telling what wonderful directions his life could have taken if he had actually received the help he so desperately needed.
At some point we have ALL wished our younger selves knew then what we know now. Today’s post on a blog I follow, Daily (w)rite, asked what relationship advice would you give your 16 year-old self? I have thought about this a lot since I read it. Sweet 16 (which was actually anything but) was one of the most pivotal years of my life. May of 1996 I was finishing up my sophomore year of high school. I was preparing to go to France with my French teacher and a group of my fellow students, not only my first time out of the country, but also on a plane! I was finalizing the first extremely difficult decision I ever had to make, the one to leave my mother’s house and move in with my dad. And I was about to land my first job. At a movie theater.
What I would absolutely tell myself
1. Try not to wait till 34 to realize how awesome you are. You won’t be in Denton forever (girl, you spend three years in LA!) and invisible to guys your entire life (though you’ll always feel that way to an extent). I promise it gets better. You end up dating the widest variety of guys ever. One of them even writes for really popular television shows!
2. Whatever you do, when you walk into Mrs. House’s keyboard class next year and she puts you in alphabetical order, do not speak to the guy to your left. Continue to think he is a jerk like you’ve done the past two years. You will save yourself a two-year, miserable crush and countless hours of humiliation and social suicide. Just TRUST ME on this.
3. That little Thai girl you’ve called your best friend since middle school? You two are in for the long haul. There will be weeks or months you’ll go without conversation over the years, but it doesn’t matter. You two always pick up where you left off. You’ll still have conversations exactly like you do now, mainly about boys and food, over a thing called “text messaging.”
4. Spend time with your cousin Jacob. Like, now. And next month. And as much as you possibly can. I know you’re not close like when you were little and he drove you insane, but in less than 4 1/2 years you’ll never get to see him again.
5. When you move in with your dad after Paris, it will break your mom’s heart. There’s no way around it. But you’re doing it for the right reasons and it pays off, it just takes a lot longer than you expect. But you’ll wake up when you turn 30 and realize she is one of the best friends you have.
6. It’s SO not a big deal you don’t make drum major again. You actually have to quit band after junior year to focus on newspaper and French and well, once you all go to college your instructor lands in prison for having an affair with a student. So there’s that.
7. You’re not going to marry Petr Buzek. Or Brenden Morrow. Just go ahead and deal with that now.
What I would want to tell myself, but wouldn’t
1. You get married at 24 because you think it will be your only chance. Shockingly, it doesn’t turn out well. You get divorced at 28. But you’re going to be okay. You’ll realize it was all meant to be and that the next time you do it, it will be for all the right reasons.
2. When you walk into the mall, fill out that application at the theater and they hire you on the spot because they’re short handed? That ONE moment will set off a chain events that affects the remainder of your life. You cannot possibly fathom the experiences you will have because of it.
3. Your beloved Dallas Stars…they win the Stanley Cup in three years. And it’s even more wonderful than you can imagine. Your hockey adventures have only just begun.
I have to believe I would refrain from telling myself those last three things, as hard as it would be, because these represent experiences I had to go through without any warning and multitudes of surprises I wouldn’t want to ruin. That made me realize (at long last!) as much as I would love to know who I marry and when, when I’ll actually have babies and what type of job I’ll have in five years…I actually don’t want me or anyone else to spoil those experiences and surprises either. Forty-four year-old Nikki is already looking back at me now, rolling her eyes at how ridiculous I can be. Thinking of the things she wishes she could come back and tell me. And all of the things she can’t wait for me to discover on my own.