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52 Things I’d Tell My Teenage Self

Being a twenty-something is like you’re in this stage of reluctant adulthood, but being a teenager feels like it was yesterday. And for some of us, maybe it was. If I could talk to the teenage version of myself, here’s what I’d tell her (and just about every other teenage girl out there):

  1. The mirror lies.
  2. You’re your own worst critic.
  3. Heels always seem like a good idea, until they feel like a bad one.
  4. Don’t ever apologize for being ambitious.
  5. You’re so much more than the series of numbers on a scale.
  6. Your heart will get broken — but it will heal, too.
  7. Don’t just love your mom, befriend her. She’ll swear she’s just your parent and not your friend, but you both know the unspoken truth.
  8. In the words of my 11th grade Spanish teacher, “Pretty girls do pretty things.” Make that your motto.
  9. Try and do one random act of kindness everyday. You’ll benefit yourself and your community.
  10. You’ll always be well-dressed if you’re wearing a smile.
  11. Being smart, kind, and honest trumps “sexy,” “hot,” and “pretty” any day.
  12. Always value people for their heart.
  13. You’re appreciated.
  14. Burn all your favorite Nickelodeon and Disney shows now, because they won’t be on Netflix in 5 years.
  15. Advocate for something that means a lot to you.
  16. You are more beautiful than you realize…honestly.
  17. Don’t let the ignorant and superficial opinions of others destroy your self-confidence. When in doubt, see number 16.
  18. You’re never too old to be “daddy’s little girl.”
  19. Cherish the children around you; kids provide so much hope and love in our lives.
  20. Learn the art of composure.
  21. Stand up for what’s right.
  22. You don’t have to be religious, but be spiritual. Discover what you believe in.
  23. You’ll never be younger than you are today. Comprehend the magnitude of that and enjoy every moment.
  24. Stop wishing away time so things you want to happen will “hurry up.” There will be a time, sooner than you know, when you’ll want to set the clock back.
  25. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Don’t forget to behold their character when deeming someone attractive.
  26. Dance! (Even if you think you can’t).
  27. “Things have a way of working out.”
  28. Treat your body well! Your current self will look and feel better, and your future self will thank you.
  29. “Everything happens for a reason.” Really.
  30. Say “I love you” whenever you  can. It never gets old.
  31. Treat yourself.
  32. …But save money! Save up  for big things and put away money for a rainy day.
  33. You can’t put a price on happiness.
  34. “A smooth ship never made a skilled sailor.”
  35. Keep marching to the beat of your own drum.
  36. Your bullies will be eating their words in a few years. It’s okay to prove people wrong…especially when they doubt and/or ridicule you.
  37. Volunteer.
  38. Don’t be afraid to branch out and make new friends.
  39. Blood is thicker than water.
  40. If you have siblings, make sure they know you love them endlessly.
  41. Follow your mom’s advice: “Don’t leave the house looking like a slob.” If you do, you’ll run into everyone you know.
  42. Confidence not only attracts people, but opportunities and situations as well. Keep working at it.
  43. Make a conscious effort to love yourself.
  44. Go with your gut. It rarely fails.
  45. Follow your heart, because you may just be following your happiness, too.
  46. It’s okay, eat another slice of pizza.
  47. Own your own body and remember that you make the rules. This goes for all things emotionally, physically, and romantically. Your body, your rules.
  48. Enjoy snow days while you have them.
  49. You’re never too old to watch cartoons.
  50. You’re here for a reason, and you’re loved, too.
  51. Whenever you hit a glass ceiling — smash it. Believe me, you can do it.
  52. No dream is unattainable.

What would YOU tell your teenage self?

Image: D Sharon Pruitt
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Alexis Dent

Alexis exudes both class and sass, and she does it well. (Or so she thinks.) Alexis has an appreciation for Chipotle, thrift shops, pop culture, Oxford commas, and cupcakes. But she doesn't have an appreciation for mayonnaise, because...ew.

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  • Archie Flanagan

    Preach!

  • Leah Fessler

    Such a great list, I would agree with them all!