28 Feb, 2012 @ 09:40
3 mins read

A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self

I RECENTLY started an evening book club for people living in the area between San Pedro de Alcantara and Estepona on the Costa del Sol.

We’ve been enjoying selecting a different book to read each month, and the lively discussion that follows. To outsiders, the idea of a book club may sound dull or boring. What can I say? Our club is as interesting or as boring as our members want to make it and believe me, we’re not dull!

Other people I’ve talked to about the book club have mentioned that they wouldn’t want to be told what they have to read. We each take it turns to nominate three books, and then vote on which one we’d like to read. It’s really broadening my horizons and encouraging me to read all sorts of genres that I wouldn’t have bothered with before.

With all the holidays at the beginning of the year, and members travelling to and from friends and family, we decided to read a “dip in, dip out” book which wouldn’t take too much time or energy. We voted on Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self edited by Joseph Galliano, a collection of letters penned by personalities (some better well known than others) full of advice to their sixteen year old selves.

The book received a mixed response from our members, not least because most of the letters are handwritten and some were very difficult to decipher! On the whole, we liked the letters written by celebrities we knew, and enjoyed googling those who we didn’t. Some of the personalities disappointed us with their somewhat pompous decrees to their younger selves, while others charmed us with their honesty and humour.

A couple of us felt inspired enough to write our own letters and so I thought I would share mine with you:

Dear Me: A letter to my 16 year old self

Forgive my tone if I sound patronising. You don’t listen to anyone else so let’s see if you’ll listen to your older self. 

First of all, you’re the slimmest you’ll ever be so don’t listen to the nigglings in your head and just embrace it. 

You’re not good at drinking so don’t bother trying to get better at it. 

Please work a bit harder in your A-levels. Despite having breezed through your GCSEs, you will disappoint. Ask for help on how to learn the things you need to know – you’re hopeless at revision and this will stay with you forever unless you can change things now. 

But don’t panic that you’re not ready for university at 18 – greater things are going to come your way before more study. There’s plenty of time and opportunity for learning the academic way in the future. You need to live a little first and, dare I say, grow up a bit. 

Have fun with your boyfriend – he’s an amazing person and although it won’t last forever, you’ll have a fantastic time together until you both decide to drift apart. Despite what others may say, he’ll actually turn out to be a great husband and father, although in someone else’s life.

Periods are tedious so don’t wish your life away waiting for them. I know Mum’s embarrassing on this score but that’s just the way she is. And on the subject of the parents, be nice to Mum and Dad as you’ll be spending an awful lot of time with them. More than you might think!

Understand you’ve had a very privileged upbringing. For you, it’s not all about money in the future and while your life choices may panic Dad, they will hopefully work out in the end. I’m still testing this theory but I’ll let you know. 

You don’t always have to fight back and the sooner you learn, the calmer you’ll be. Cherish your friends and their children, as although they may be few and spread across the globe, they are very important. The good ones will forgive any misdemeanours you’ve made so far, so apologise and stick by them. 

The love of your life that you meet at 22 will provide you with more worry, stress, anxiety, happiness and laughter than you can imagine. Learn to manage the dark days and the good days will reward you. It might be an idea to accept the marriage proposal he makes when you’ve only known him for two weeks. As shocking as it may seem, you will, with any luck, be with him forever, although he might never ask for your hand in marriage again. 

And finally, don’t take any notice of the junior school teacher who told you to avoid writing and journalism. Otherwise her flippant comments will stick with you throughout life and may be responsible for a number of rubbish career moves and choices! Do what makes you happy, with due consideration for others and you should turn out just fine. 

Much love from, 

Your 37 year old self

For more information on our book club or to see what we’re reading next, visit our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GlitteratiBookclub

Charlotte Hanson

Copywriter, content writer, proofreader, feature writer and blogger enjoying life near the beach in Estepona, Costa del Sol, Spain with my other half and our beloved labrador, Bailey. We live a fairly uncomplicated life revolving around work and walking, oh and me trying to be a domesticated goddess.

1 Comment

  1. well done to jayne redfern re the nudity behavour on cabopino beach, we do not want to see mens things being waggled about,a true naturist just sunbathes not parades himself, it is not nice to see.

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