Sixteen 2

A Letter to My 16 Year Old Self

A few weeks ago my oldest girl turned 16. As with any parent I always hope that all is well.

16 can be a tough time. Our minds are constantly moving. The world is stuck in the fast forward mode with catastrophe waiting on every corner.

Overall my girl is a smart kid. She is confident and has a lot of friends. But of course I will worry and I’m sure my grandparents did the same.

When I was that age I seriously doubt I paid much attention to my grandparents concern. If anything I was probably way too consumed in myself and embarrassed to be seen with them.

What I do remember about my younger self were the annoying pimples and the endless pop-tarts. I think I just figured out where the pimples came from.


What would I say?

So I asked myself what would I do if I could go back and talk to that kid that looked and sounded a lot like me.

First off, let’s pretend he’ll listen and if he did what valuable piece of information could I deliver?

Before all of this was possible I’d have to fire up the Zippy-Way-Back Machine. Make a note: The crank is wearing out.

If I arrived during the summer of that 16th year I would find him in Southern California. It was a huge summer. For the first time in his life he traveled out of the state of Washington all the way to San Diego.

He was visiting his dad and staying at the hotel his father managed. He was amazed at the local Safeway and how much it resembled the one in his home town.

Aside from the Safeway experience and the pop-tart consumption what would I say?

I gave this some serious thought. Below are the things that came to mind:

  • Your small town is not the center of the universe. Find a way out. You can always come back.
  • Talk to people about your worries. You are not alone.
  • Sneaking a beer out of the refrigerator is NOT your greatest achievement.
  • Your world will not come to an end if the cute girl in algebra doesn’t say hi.
  • Please try to match your clothes. It’s a nice habit to get in to.
  • Comb your damn hair!
  • Speaking of hair – Enjoy it while it lasts.
  • The high-school football star is not a world celebrity.
  • The fears you have now will seem ridiculous five years from now.
  • Get a part-time job. The experience will pay off.
  • Hang out with the kids in the drama class instead of the people you think you should be with. Of course they’re weird but so are you. Plus, they understand you and that is what friendship is all about.
  • Owning a car isn’t everything. Bumming a ride is good for you.
  • Your uncle is right. Professional Wrestling is fake.
  • Lose the polyester shirt and the rainbow bell bottom pants. Please!
  • In the fall of your sophomore year someone will steal your favorite Washington Husky hat. You will never see it again. Keep it on your head or keep it at home.
  • And finally: Please listen to others. You do not have all the answers. Make it a habit to keep your ears open and your mouth shut. Think of this as my bonus to you.

Above all else, please save the Husky hat!!!!!!!!


Happy Friday Everyone!!!



20 thoughts on “SPONTANEOUS FRIDAY

  1. great post! I had to grin at the beer and football star, most of them had me LOL! So true! I’m printing this for my son who is very anxious about starting Middle School Tuesday 🙂


  2. If I can help your boy in the tiniest of bits my work is done.

    We didn’t have middle school in my day. We went from grade school (1st through 8th) to high-school. My daughters had middle school. It was rough at first but things smoothed out.

    As long as he doesn’t wear polyester shirts he’ll do fine. 🙂


  3. This is great, Bryan! Made me wonder what I would say to my 16-year old self (and yes, I caught the part where you suggest a 16 yo would actually listen 😀 I think I’d tell her to keep working on the writing, and to give my mom a break and spend some quality time with her now, because she’ll pass away before my own kids really get a chance to know her.


  4. I’m with you Julie. I would tell him to give his grandparents a break and appreciate them. They won’t be here forever. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go back and whisper good advice.

    Thank you for stopping by. Happy you enjoyed it.


  5. Ah. I also have a 16 year old – son – and wondering how to advise him as he starts the last two critical years of school (British system). This method seems a great idea.


  6. lol what a great post! I think we’d all love to go back and give our younger selves some advice, or maybe a kick in the pants for some of the stupid things we did 🙂


  7. Great post, Bryan. Thank you for sharing it.

    Your advice looks solid to me. I don’t have any kids, but some years ago, a strange thing happened. A large collection of kids 20 years younger than me — in their teens and twenties — befriended me. We all went to the same coffee shop.

    I believe they were looking for an adult not their parents or relative to basically help them transition into the adult world. I know I used adults that way when I was a kid. Your advice would have been helpful to anyone of those kids.

    Three of the things I found out about young women in your daughter’s age range. First, if they had a good relationship with their father, that was a sign they’d avoid or quickly exit any abusive relationships they got into. Not always, but usually. I think that might be because their father has taught them by his example how they should be treated by a man.

    Second, if they have some major interest in life — anything from art to horses to mathematics — they tended to be less susceptible to peer pressure.

    And last, they need to hear — over and over until it sinks in — to be true to themselves around boys, rather than try to be someone the boys will like. Only if they’re true to themselves, of course, will they attract boys who value them for themselves.

    Anyway, those three things have stuck in my mind for years.


  8. Hey Paul – Sorry it took a week to reply. Your post got buried in my mess of e-mails. I need to hire an e-mail assistant.

    You need to do a post on your blog of your experience. I have a feeling you only touched the surface. It would be fascinating to read what other things you learned. Please think about it. This would be an excellent post.

    I totally agree with girls and their fathers. The biggest promise I made was to be there. Zero daddy issues. You nailed it on that topic.

    Thanks for stopping by and again, my apologies.

    Liked by 1 person

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