Oh God, where to even start. As we all know, our high-school days, at least the early ones, are a mess of acne-prone skin and awkward relationships. Of course, there are those kids who were popular in high school, but let’s not pretend they didn’t have their phases too. There are so many times I wish I would’ve known better, would’ve had more common sense or at least a friend with some.
Firstly, I think I would tell young me the usual things. You know the “you’re pretty enough, you’re good enough, you’re skinny enough…you don’t need the approval of others to affirm your self-worth.” Kind of pep talk. The kind that everyone has heard from their mothers a million times and have stopped believing are true.
But then, I think I would reprimand her. In high school, I was a notorious goody-two-shoes. Still am, probably, maybe just mellowed out by the freedom of college. I would tell my younger self that it’s okay to be stupid sometimes, to be young and dumb because that’s what the teenage years are all about. The whole point of being an awkward adolescent is to learn how not to be a terrible adult (Though some do better than others).
It didn’t help that I switched schools halfway through sophomore year, leaving behind a large public school for a tiny private one. My graduating class was 47 people. Had I stayed at my former school, it would’ve been closer to 500. To say the least, I didn’t really fit in. I wish I could go back and just tell myself that the more I retreat into my shyness the worse it will become.
It would be really easy to go back and warn my past self about the bad decisions I’d make, like that one blond kid in ROTC I ended up “dating.” Oh, how naïve I was. But some things, as terrible and heartbreaking and messy as they are, are meant to happen, and we can only ride out the aftermath. Some experiences are so apart of who we are and how we behave that we don’t even realize it, don’t even realize that the heartbreak has made us stronger than we were before.
There are always things we wish we could fix, and ways we could’ve done better. We’re all human, perfection doesn’t suit us. Mostly, I just wish I could go back and tell my past self that everything she’s going through is temporary. That life I lived was only a precursor to what will come, the sunlight that will help me find myself.
We all have something we wish we could tell our younger selves, something that would’ve made us feel less alone, less confused, less unhappy. But ultimately, until a time machine is created, none of us will be able to fulfill that wish. So that means we just have to live with our experiences as best we can.