I was thinking the other day how my life would’ve turned out if I just knew then what I know now…
Dear 15 year old me…
– The first thing I’d tell you is don’t be so afraid. Don’t worry so much what other people think or that you might fail. Your shyness is a huge barrier to you having the best experiences both growing up and into your twenties. I want you to get out there and really live! Enjoy yourself, go places, explore, see things, write about them, take photos and make memories. Because I can tell you that right now almost forty years later, I don’t remember much about things we did or places we went and I want to remember. So it’s up to you to make those memories for us.
– The second thing I want to tell you is spend more time with mom and dad. I know, I know, they’re boring, and the last thing you want to do is hang out with them. But I’m going to tell you that there is going to come a day when you will wish you had and it will be too late. Dad dreams of traveling, he longs to learn to play an instrument, and not just that annoying harmonica he blasts reveille at you with on the weekends. Teach him guitar, teach him piano, he’d love it and it will be a great memory. Take trips with him; mom doesn’t want to go and would be ok staying home. Go out and explore, he wants to go to Spain, go with him. You will be giving him a gift, and in turn you will get experiences that will last our lifetime. Mom is an amazing cook as you know; learn from her, experiment with her. Get a cookbook from the library and try things. You will learn how to make food like her, and one day I’m going to wish I knew how. Learn for me. Ask them about their childhoods in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Turn on the Spanish music and dance with them. Oh how they will laugh, and how they will love it. I know because I did it for them all the time and it made them really happy. Make those memories that I can cherish when they’re gone.
– The third thing is please study more. I know you’re bored in school, but do it anyway. Learn every single thing you can, learn history, learn geography, learn how to write, in fact write for the school paper. Don’t be afraid, you can do it. Read books and learn – because writing is fun and you love it and you will be a better writer when you know more stuff. Go to college, at least get a two-year degree. This means you are going to have to try harder in high school and get better grades. You can do it. Get that degree because I wish I had it now and life got in the way.
– Fourth, I could tell you about different relationships to avoid in your life, (you are going to be involved with a long line of idiots, starting in high school), but if I told you who to avoid you wouldn’t be who I am, so I can’t. Pick wisely, and if you see the idiot coming out, walk away. I’m telling you right now, life is short don’t waste energy or time on a putz. I will also tell you this; do not go to beauty school. It is a colossal waste of time. You will work at it and then hate it. Its 8 hours a day on your feet with no future. Go to x-ray technician school or something and learn that, it’s more lucrative and hey you might even meet a cute Dr. Heheh. Work out more, be physically fit and strong, get on that bike and ride all over the place. You know you love it. Instead of getting a car ask for a truck and put your bike in the back and just go. And that fybroid cyst thing in your right breast, don’t listen to the Dr’s, get it taken out. You can do it. Be brave. It’s important.
– And the fifth thing, know that you are so much stronger than you could even imagine. I mean you have a core of inner strength and faith that is like steel. Never feel like you won’t get through things that happen to you or that you don’t deserve things. You can get through anything life throws at you and you deserve all kinds of things among them happiness, success and love. But also a fulfillment of dreams and hopes. My dreams are yours although at this age you are now I don’t remember you having any beyond being a writer. Of course that’s one you never told anyone about – but follow it little one, pursue it with all you have without fear or reservation. You can do it and I’ll be right here waiting for you.
by Norma Pitzer-Kelly