My 16 Year Old Self Would Live My Life Differently

By Iris L. Kitching

I wonder sometimes what my life would have been like if I were exuberantly intrigued by what life offered. I imagine telling my 16 year old self five things to change how my life is today:

1. “Just get over it”

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. Norman Cousins.

I realized recently that I died inside when I was a pre-teen and have carried the corpse within me. Yeah, life threw nasty curve balls –difficult to predict, hard to swing at. A close friend loves to tell people “Just get over it”, but I couldn’t, I didn’t. To my 16 year old self I’d yell, “Just get over it”, have the grit, gut, and confidence to swing, hit a home run, and slide into home plate if she wanted. Slugger was my nickname when I played school softball; how about a life do-over.

2. Carry that first love feeling everywhere

When you discover first love as a teenager, your whole life revolves around it and you open yourself up to it. Patrick Dempsey

We have all experienced first love — butterflies in the stomach, heartfelt sentiments, sitting on top of the world. Imagine having that same enthusiasm and optimism in life. Personal goals would expand, family interaction would flourish, work responsibilities would take on new meaning, church and community endeavors would be impactful. I would tell the teen version of me to cherish those first love feelings and be curiously open to what life offers.

3. Go for it!

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. Muhammad Ali

Not taking risks is my biggest downfall. I’m like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh — pessimistic, gloomy, depressed, dragging through life by default — those characteristics masked in me, stifled in various ways from childhood to old age. I would give my 16 year old self a swift kick in the butt, make her dare to develop her talents, choose a different career, or get her college degree early in life. Look how far Muhammad Ali got by taking risks!

4. Your Family is God’s Gift

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. Desmond Tutu

Family is to be cherished. They are our admirers, supporters, encouragers, comforters, reality check, and lots more. We often take them for granted figuring they’ll always be there. Not! I would say to that sixteen year old: Your family is a treasure, a gift. Acknowledge and appreciate them no matter what. I think she’d agree.

5. Keep things poppin!

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. Maya Angelou

Isn’t life’s ultimate goal to be passionate, have compassion, laugh, learn, love in our own unique way? I would tell my 16 year old self to keep up the good work, that she keeps things poppin and still lives within me. I would thank her for opening my eyes, assure her that a new me is emerging, and that, no doubt, she would be very proud!

This is my Day 4 post for the 30 Day Writing Challenge in the Speak Write Now Community


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