On the last morning of 2012 my Dad surprised me when he declared “I’ve got a challenge for you.” Of course, without first asking what I was getting myself in to, I accepted. We sat down separately to write a letter to our 16 year old selves, giving simple advice to our youthful spirits that we wish we had have known. I’ve kept a copy of my Dad’s and have already mused over it when in need of a reality check. Intuitively I think we all know this stuff, but as a free spirited teen wishing to carve out the beginning of a magnificent life, the shiny bright lights may have distracted us from common sense. These are the words of wisdom I wish my tender self paid attention to back then.
Dear 16 Year Old Joscelin,
I’m offering you these words of advice from a place you’re about to travel, in the hope that they will guide you through the bumps on your wild, undiscovered path.
Live with an open mind. There are always lessons to be learned and every situation and person who comes into your life is there as a teacher. Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand on your own. Spend more time reading about the things that make your heart sing.
Cherish your family and be around to make the memories you’ll wish you had more of. Value your parents and respect their ideas, they shaped who you are today and they really are there for the long haul.
Friends come and go, and that’s OK, although choose your friends wisely. You don’t have to impress a true friend. Sometimes a very special friend will come along later than you expected. Look out for them, they will make your world bigger and brighter than you imagined.
When you find your soul mate, remember that you are two people. Hold onto your friendships, the things you love and continue to create your own identity too. Allow each other to evolve, and as you each grow, so too will your love.
Think before you act. Don’t hurt people’s feelings. Imagine how it would feel to have your heart broken. Think again.
Know WHY you want it. With a big enough WHY there is nothing that can get in the way of your success. You can have anything you want as long as you are open to opportunities and willing to work your butt off for it.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are not as fat as you think!
Your health is THE most valuable possession you have. You LITERALLY are what you eat. Your body reacts perfectly in the conditions you put it in; continue to look after it and it will look after you. Eat real food.
Count your blessings every day. Be grateful for the smallest things you find in your day and seek out your own happiness. A smile goes a very long way. I love you, I believe in you.