August 24, 2010

Letter to my 16-year-old self

Dear Rachel,

Go to bed! Ok, read this first and then go to bed. But do try to get more sleep! Staying up until 2 am to do homework is not healthy, and not worth it. You have the rest of your life to experience the wired world of caffeine. So, drink more water. It’s good for your skin.

Also, stop listening to “Dreaming of You” by Selena, every night on your disc man. Your current crush is NOT listening to the same song at the exact same time. He’s not even tuned in to Lights out Love Songs, dreaming of you too. He’s not. In fact, the guys are all listening to Dr. Drew. Listen to him sometime—you might learn something.

You can drive! Congrats! But while you’re at it, why not learn to drive a stick too? Maybe then your future self won’t have to practice driving with your future husband in some future parking lot on a future weekend.

Talk to your dad about the details of your track races, even if you’re sick of it. And let him coach you too, even though the only advice he ever gives is “pump your arms.” He critiques you because he loves to watch you run.

In fact, give your dad an extra big hug when he comes home from work tomorrow. And ask him about teaching, and married life, and parenting! Someday you’ll want to ask him a bunch of questions, but you won’t be able to. Spend some quality time with him today.

Let your sister read your Seventeen magazine. There is no need to rush out to the mailbox to grab it first. It’s not like the stuff in there is that great anyway. Except those cargo pants. Go to Abercrombie and get yourself a pair of those puppies.

A cheese bagel and an Emerald City smoothie do not constitute a real lunch. Neither do Otis Spunkmeyer cookies.

Say a swear word now and then. I mean it. Your friends will keep trying to get you to say “the sh word” so, surprise them…and throw a “d word” in if you want to. Why not?

Oh, and read your Bible. Seriously. Read it.

Listen to your parents when they tell you to join the cross country team and phase out soccer in your life. Soccer will still be there in the form of adult leagues when you’re older. But with running comes the feeling of exhilarating success, some great friendships, and one true love.

Pay attention in Spanish class. You’ll use it later.

Donate your hair.

Keep your blankie. Your future husband won’t mind.

Start putting dressing on your salad already! It adds such spice to life!

Stop going to the tanning salon! It takes years off your life!

Try to secretly learn a lot about the Internet. Then, start an online community where people can join, create profiles, post status updates, give virtual thumbs ups, and poke each other. You’re confused? Don’t worry, you’ll get it someday.

Family vacations to Mexico, birthday parties, your dad’s guitar music as you go to sleep, the mountain view from your house, your mom’s meals, your grandparents’ stories (record them or write them down), your sister’s sense of humor, swapping clothes with girlfriends, and slumber parties. These are all good things.

It sounds cliché, but be happy with who you are. Notice all of the things you have and the people in your life that love you. If you do, you'll be content.

And don’t forget—God is with you, even when life doesn’t seem to make sense. He will fill it again with overwhelming beauty and love.

Your friend,

to read more entries on the "Letter to my 16-year-old self" simul-blog, read Alisha's and click on the links below it


  1. Wow, this is a great letter! It had me laughing AND crying. Thanks so much for taking the time to write one and to participate. :) I had to laugh at the first bit of advice to go to bed because I ended up staying up till 3am last night working on my letter! Some things never change though I do value sleep a lot more now!

  2. I love this one. It's awesome. I will try to write a letter to my 16 year old self one of these days too.

  3. Rachel, this was simply lovely- I too laughed and cried reading it. Thanks for sharing more wedding pics too- never get tired of looking at those!

  4. I love this letter. I totally remember those pants your girls are wearing in that picture. I'm pretty sure I had them too. If I didn't, I remember wanting to get them.

    And the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies were delicious! I particularly liked the sugar cookies. I remember they came in bags of three but I could only eat one and a half before the sugar got to me.

    I'm pretty sure you got me through spanish class. Well, you and my mom. I remember you were our go to person in class.

    I loved reading this post, it was both sweet and funny.

  5. Love this letter. Being happy in your own skin is so vital at any age. (And drinking more water - always a good idea!) I wrote my own letter, and loved the experience of doing it. Such a great way to reflect.

  6. You are one amazing lady. I am so glad I got to know you then and get to know you now! You've always been great!

  7. water better for your skin? i think you have the best skin i must have done something right those pictures of you look so young and fresh.

    glad you joined in the fun...sorry we didn't get together while jane was here...but let's do it soon!