As I listened to the song, I tried to remember life at 16. I turned 16 in November of my sophomore year of high school. I drove a 1990 red Ford Ranger. It was manual. I didn't quite have the finer points of driving a standard vehicle down, so the first day I drove it to school, I coasted through every stop sign for fear that if I stopped I would stall. FFA was a huge part of my life, as were yearbook, speech/debate, and the school newspaper my friends and I started. I looked forward to the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month (4-H camp counselor and Jr. Fair Board meetings), because then I could see my good friends from other schools. I was convinced I was going to be a veterinarian when I grew up, and even though I didn't have a job at the time, I raised a menagerie of animals that provided a little extra income. I thought I knew most everything, but in hindsight, I was pretty clueless.
Cassie said it best: "I would tell myself a million things. Learn how to sew. Take value in all you read. Listen to the wisdom that is all around you. Do everything in high school you possibly can. Cherish your friendships. Be nicer to your family. Stop procrastinating! You end up with a great guy. Your children are going to be perfect. Save your money. Stop wasting time on people who don't think you're worth the same. Do things whole heartedly. Take out the trash for mom. Study! Don't stay up so late. Take unique classes. Volunteer. Learn how to change your own oil. Walk with purpose. People see everything you do."
I ditto that, but, without further adieu, here are the top five things, in no particular order, I would want me to know at 16.
- Don't Take Yourself So Seriously- This is a lesson I really didn't learn until I was in college, but I wish I would've known it sooner. 16-year old Rose, you don't have to be perfect. Nobody is. Take time to laugh at yourself. Be conscious of your imperfections, but don't dwell on them. Have fun. Smile more. Be you.
- Look for the Good in Others- Yes, there are idiots in the world. You went to high school with a good number of them. However, everyone has strengths. Focus on those. It can be hard, but instead of dwelling on what drives you nuts about other people, look for the things you admire. Ok, I admit, I'm still working on this one.
- You Can't Change Your Family, But You Can Choose Your Friends- There are things that about your family that you don't like, but you can't change. Deal with it. They're still your family, and they always will be. Accept them for who they are. Your friends, you can change those. Take time to choose your friends wisely, and invest time into building those relationships. One of my biggest regrets is letting friendships slide that used to be so important.
- Have Confidence- There is nobody who is a better you than you. Don't worry about what other people think. Be confident in your personality, in your appearance, and in your abilities. The people who don't like you aren't worth your time. Carry yourself with poise and grace, and don't spend so much time shirking in the corner.
- Learn Something New Every Day- It doesn't matter what it is. Don't waste a day not learning. Learn about others, learn about yourself, learn random facts, learn how to do new tasks. It keeps your mind sharp and makes you more unique.
So there you have it, five things I wish I knew at 16. Don't be a lurker, leave a comment so I know you were here! Tell me what you would add to this list.