Looking Back: 4 Pieces of Advice to Give Your Ten-Year-Old Self [Teen Article]

Gema is an 18-year old from Miami, FL. She loves reading and writing young adult fiction and claims to pass out in the presence of sterile wit.
talk to your ten year old self
I’m a firm believer in having no regrets. I think that our mistakes and our reactions to them are what make up our personalities. However, I’ll admit that in the past, there have been times when I wish that I knew something in advance. I don’t mean an entire outline of my future, but just bits of information that would’ve made my tween and teen years easier. So if I had a chance to go back in time and have a conversation with my ten year old self, my one-sided conversation (because my ten year old self would be too astonished to speak) would go like this:

  1. School: Luckily, you’ll always be in the honor roll. Keep your ambitions. Aim to pass all your exams and give math a little more effort than any other subject. Sure, you’ll be two years ahead, but you’re a writer; math is your natural nemesis, the Joker to your Batman. However, don’t get carried away. Tests like the FCAT (Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test) and SAT are not a measure of your ability but that of your teachers. Don’t take school too seriously. Even though you’ll get into some of the best universities, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to go. For all you know, you might end up in a community college anyways. (Not that it’s a bad thing.) I’m not saying to not think of the future, but like any time traveler, remember that your home is in the present. Enjoy yourself.
  2. Enjoy Yourself: You only have about seven years left of fun and a year to stress about being an adult. You’ll spend most of those seven years learning about the world through books and the stories your friends tell you. This isn’t good thing. Put the books down and take a stroll in the park. Accept more party invitations. It’s good to be safe, but there are some things that can’t be taught by reading. Some joys you can’t feel through a character. You just need to experience things yourself. Do that. Adulthood will come all too soon.
  3. Boys: They aren’t the eighth wonder of the world, and while you know a very limited amount that have an even more limited interest you, the world has an abundance of all things male. There will come a time when they will come to their senses and give you attention, just make sure to know that you’re not obligated to make them all happy. Weed out the jerks, then move forward.
  4. Image: You are not as fat as you imagine. And sure, they’ll be bumps on your cheeks and a huge zit on your upper lip for you sixth grade yearbook picture, but everyone will be so obsessed with how bad they look that it will go unnoticed.  This is how it will be from now on. There’s no need to stress about buying the most expensive dress or shoes to the school dances. In the end, they are minor details compared to the importance of actually enjoying the experience. While you think you’re the ugliest thing since the color pink, someone else wishes to be you. Remember that confidence is two-thirds of beauty.

My ten-year-old self would listen attentively. But like most at that age, her mind will slip to wondering how on earth it is that I was able to time travel. Then she’ll take my advice as a pity speech. She’ll nod, saying she’ll understand and just go right back to repeating my mistakes. Some things you just have to go through in order to learn.

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