Today is my birthday eve. I usually do some sort of reflection around my birthday and at the end of the year. This year I have decided to write a letter to 16 year old self. Why 16? A lot of things happened that year for me. I got my drivers license, my dad died, and I moved to Maryland, not all at once of course. So here goes...
Dear 16 Year Old Adia,
Hey Adia, this is me, yourself at almost 31. I am writing you today to tell you some things that I have learned and how to better prepare you for your future. You will be having a lot that goes on this year. I want to encourage you to stay strong through it all, because it is going to be rough. However, I know that you will be able to get through everything and will be able to tell other people your story.
The first thing, do not lie about hanging out at your friend's house instead of going to art club to help decorate for homecoming. You end up not being able to see out of the back of the car and you backed up in to a ditch. You ended up messing up the car and you were grounded. Don't do that in the future. It kind of sucked.
Second thing, spend as much time with Dad as possible. You don't know this yet but dad's cancer is going to come back quickly and he is going to end up passing away in a month. I know it seems crazy to think about right now, but it will happen. Use this time by trying to find out as much about his family and his background as possible. Make sure you do it now, because it will bother you not knowing this information for the rest of your life. Also try not to act like a teenager with all that angst and anger, just be nice to him, because he really is a good guy. And if you have the chance, go with him more to the Community Center. Find out what he does so that you can learn, and do it in the future.
Next, forgive Mom. I know that sometimes she wasn't the nicest person growing up. Shoot at this point in your life, she still might not be the nicest, but she is your mom. It turns out that she may have had some issues while you were growing up. I didn't find out until more recently. But try to forgive her for the way she was in the past. Now she is totally different in many ways. She is going to need you and she will depend on you for the rest of your life. It will be a lot easier once you forgive her for how she acted in the past, because she won't even remember what happened. Plus she loves you despite the lack of saying it or the hugs. She will tell you a lot later on.
Save money! I know you don't have a job yet. Your first job will be working at Kmart in Maryland. I know it seems very random but it is true. There will be a time when you don't have a job. So now that you have the chance, put a little bit of your money away as much as you can and don't touch it. If you had started this when you were 17 you would be very rich right now haha.
Network! I don't even know what this means to a 16 year old. Your personality is going to continue to grow throughout your life. Take advantage of this. Get to know people, make friends, and keep in touch with people. You may need to call some favors along the way, and you may need to help people as well.
Go to church. Remember when you were younger? You said that once you got your license how you wanted to try out different religions and go to different churches until you found the right one? You never did that. You really only started regularly going to church in college. Start developing your relationship with God now. Otherwise, you're going to feel behind. It might seem overwhelming at first, but eventually you will feel like your relationship with God is the one thing you were missing all along.
Don't worry about boys. I mean I don't think you are really concerned about them. I know you change crushes as you change pants and that's fine. You are going to be a late bloomer. It's ok. There is no need to rush. And in your time about not worrying about dating, you are probably not seeing some of the guys who are interested in you. They are out there I promise. So make sure to open your eyes a little bit. Dress up sometimes and don't be afraid of makeup. Just to warn you, you will get your heart broken more than once and you feel like you will never be able to trust or love again, but you will. It will just take some time. Just trust your gut. If you feel like a guy isn't for you let him go sooner rather in later, it will be a hard lesson for you to learn in the future.
Finally, I just want to say self, I love you. You are a beautiful and amazing young lady. You are thoughtful, caring, and compassionate. You are going to grow up to make a difference in people's lives. It is not going to be an easy path and you are going to struggle, but you will make it. You have a good foundation that will prepare you for your future. I know that you are an overachiever, but stop always being so hard on yourself. I also know that you feel like you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. I don't know if that will ever change. But don't forget to lean in to your friends and family. You have an excellent support system! They love you and they are there for you. And also remember to have fun! Don't take life so seriously that you miss out on the fun of life.