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Alexis Jane Torre Headshot

Dear 16-Year-Old Me...

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So, let me preface this by saying that I know that it seems strange that I'm writing a letter/ advice to myself at 16 years old when I still am a teenager (a whole 18 years old). But I really do think I've grown and changed quite a bit over the past two years. I think people are always changing, especially when you're young and still trying to figure out pretty much your whole life. The past two years have been eventful, chaotic and memorable, putting me in situations that made me rethink my previous viewpoints and sometimes, change my ways...

Dear 16-Year-Old Me,

Isn't it kind of exciting to be 16? It's that age where you grow up, have real relationships, get a job and learn to drive -- or at least that's how it's portrayed in the movies. Well, to start this off, I just want to say that you're going to be looking back at these days years from now, when you're in college, and you will look at this year as one of the most fun and exciting years yet. You'll also look at it as a year of change. It's when you got your first job, got the confidence to show your skin despite your skin condition, and started to understand what you wanted out of life. In retrospect, this year of being 16 was awesome. Right now it may not feel that way -- it may feel like you're trying so hard to figure everything out. What study methods work? Do I actually know how to do my job? How did I end up in six clubs and holding officer positions in half of them? When did my friends and I all end up too busy to hang out? And -- a question that you still haven't answered yet at 18 years old -- why am I the world's most awkward person ever?

Let me tell you right now that you need to calm down. You need to remember that you are 16 years old -- why in the world would you have life figured out at this point? I get that it kind of frustrates you because you feel like everyone else you know has everything figured out, but remember that they're 16, too. They probably are just trying to make it through high school, too. And, there will be one day when you learn to just accept that you don't know everything, that you never will, and that it's totally okay. You'll understand that the beauty of being young is not knowing things and learning little life lessons every day.

But here's something that you actually really should know: You aren't totally lame when you don't have a boyfriend. You'll eventually realize that there is actually no direct correlation between having a boyfriend and not being lame. All the movies, shows, and songs tell you that when you're 16 years old, you just have a boyfriend and a cutesy relationship. It just happens somehow. And like I said before, the year of being 16 was a terrific year. My only problem with that year is how much time was spent stressing out over boys. You're constantly asking yourself things like: What does he see in her that he didn't see in me? Why did he just stop texting me back? How come I just can't ever make things work with a guy?

But here's something that you're still trying to learn and accept: You need to learn how to define yourself without a guy. There's a lot more to life than just being so-and-so's girlfriend or the girl talking to that guy on the soccer team. This is kind of tough to learn. You're still learning how to just be single, not crushing, liking, or talking to a guy. But it's something that you have to realize. Like Taylor Swift said, "In your life you'll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team" (or just any athletic team really).

So, 16-year-old me, you're doing a pretty good job, even though you probably don't feel like you are. Just remember to breathe, calm down, and enjoy being 16.

Sincerely,

18-Year-Old Me