A letter FROM my 15-year-old self with responses from my 32-year-old self

A letter FROM my 15-year-old self with responses from my 32-year-old self

by Lindsay on September 12, 2012

in Attitude, Inspiration, Personal Growth

Now I understand why people used to ask me if  I was Amish

Remember being 15? Of course you do. High school is a time in our lives we’ll never forget, no matter how much many of us want to. Like most 15 year olds, I wondered about what life would be like for me once I moved out of the family house and created a life of my own. At 15, your independence is so close you can taste it. Yet you have no real idea what it feels like.

Because I’ve always been a writer, I used to write myself letters. When I was 15, I wrote a letter to myself to be opened and read 15 years later. Here we are 17 years later: a couple years past letter reading time. Yes, I read it before I turned 30. Will power isn’t my strongest gift. When I was 15, I thought 32 sounded old. Now even 65 sounds young to me. I’m not writing myself letters anymore. Instead, I’m writing them to my children to be opened years later: a time capsule in words, from my heart.

Here are some clips of the letter I wrote to myself many moons ago, with my responses to that very young girl below:

Dear Lindsay, 

Hi! Ever since I heard the idea of writing to yourself, I had to do it. I thought it would be cool to read this letter when I’m 30. It sure does feel weird writing to myself, though. 

Well, kid: you get even weirder. Not only do you write to yourself as an adult, you write responses to your old letters on a very public website.

So, right now I am a sophomore in high school. I was a Varsity Cheerleader until I quit. All of the getting up in front of large groups of people and the girls who were two-faced was too much for me. I was emotionally drained. 

Good for you for doing right by yourself. Even as an adult you don’t do well getting up in front of large groups of people and can’t stand two-faced people. In fact, your tolerance for both of these things decreases as the years go by. Embrace it – you’re an introvert who likes honest, forthcoming people.

I might as well talk about my future plans now. I want to get out of this town and go to an out-of-state college and major in either occupational therapy or journalism. I want to see the world. 

Good news: you’ll see lots of the world by the time you’re 30. You’ll fly on an airplane for the first time when you’re 18. You’ll do even better than out of state: you’ll move out of the country because you fall in love with a Canadian and can’t live without her. You won’t major in occupational therapy or journalism, but by the time you hit 30, you’ll be doing energy healing work and writing. Almost the same thing?

As for guys, my love chart = less than a zero. I really don’t know what my problem is, I’m not even that shy, but when it comes to guys, it’s like my lips are glued and my heart is sealed off. I just can’t seem to get into them. 

You never will. In fact, a year from now you will have kissed a girl and liked it. You never – not even 17 years later – look back and worry about what your “problem is” when it comes to guys. You’re gay and you’ll wear that badge proudly without a moment of shame or regret once you finally figure out what it is.

Even though I don’t plan on having children until I’m a lot older, I thought I’d write down the names I like right now to see how much they change or don’t change. Girls: Madison Taylor, Olivia Madison, Julianna Danielle. Boys: Grant Daniel, Noah Christopher and Jacob Craig. 

Your taste in names has changed quite a bit, young grasshopper. Funny you should read this years later when you are expecting a baby and picking out names. Now you wouldn’t use most of those names even if someone paid you but hey – it’s fun to read ’em. When you’re in your early 20’s, you have a daughter named Noa. So I guess one of those names on the lists makes its way into your heart, even all these years later.

Why this pic? Because if I’m going to humiliate my teen self online, my sister might as well go down with me

Reading this letter to myself (from myself) helped me see just how much I’ve changed – for the better! – over the past decade and a half. It’s also helped me see into the heart I once had. The hope I had for the future, when the possibilites are endless. They still are. I’m still a nerd who writes letters. I still talk to myself. I still love life and have so much hope for what lies ahead. Some things never change. And I’m glad they don’t.

Did you write yourself letters to be opened years later? Do you now? What would you say to your 15 year old self if given the chance? 

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne September 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm

L:

You are more than wise to have not only written to yourself, but answered with a ‘true heart’. Hard to do – at any age. Writing letters and keeping a journal:not the same thing, huh?!

Thanks for turning that one around for us to read. And, fabulous picutres! I swear, if I can find the one of me in the prairie skirt and braces, I’ll post it, as I careen off of your bravery :) . I’d rather have someone think I’m Amish instead of the frightening Reba McIntyre -gone- wrong look I took on (by accident, mind you).

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Lindsay September 13, 2012 at 5:27 pm

LOL Anne would you believe I laughed out loud at work picturing your Reba McIntyre gone wrong look? I’ve GOT to see a photo or two of that! I’d say writing letters vs. writing in a journal is pretty different. Unless you’re like 8-year-old me who began every entry with “Dear Diary” and talked to it as if it was your best friend. haha

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AJ | OpenPsychic September 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

Oh, I love this! I wish I wrote a letter to myself. I wonder if I could channel my 15 year old self and write a letter from that perspective and then respond to it today. Overkill? I think it would be interesting :)

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Lindsay September 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Oh my gosh if you could CHANNEL young AJ that would be wicked awesome! You should try it and see what happens!

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Julie | A Clear Sign September 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I remember exactly what 15 felt like because that was the year my Mom got sick. I suspect I am a lot closer now to how I was then than I was in most of the intervening 30 years. Awesome how you actually have it in a letter so your memory can’t deceive you. We all have those awkward photos, don’t we?? Was anyone cute at 15? Now I write a journal once a year to my oldest son, and you’ve reminded me that I’m 2 years behind. Things have changed so dramatically just since I had HIM let alone reflecting back too much further than that :)

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Lindsay September 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Wow, that was a BIG year for you then. It’s interesting that you say you’ve changed dramatically since having Fred. Do you think it’s parenting that changed it all so much or a combination of parenting + other things? I am looking forward to the journey ahead.

And no – no one is cute at 15. Ugly stage starts at 12 and ends around 16/17. I want to see young Julie pics!

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Teri September 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I’m so proud/glad to say that I was friends with 15-yr-old Lindsay. Glad for the memories we made, the stupid things we did, & the experiences we shared! I look back so fondly on our friendship (and wish that do many miles didn’t separate us now)!

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Lindsay September 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I often wish we lived closer. We could have so much fun together with your girls and my girl in utero! I have so many good memories of our friendship and I still have so many of our notes, too!

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Teri September 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Oh and I’m most grateful that *I* didn’t end up in one of your lovely photos of yesteryear!! :)

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Lindsay September 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Oh my goodness you ALMOST DID! You were wearing some kind of white t-shirt with jungle animals on the front. Long hair, braces. I think you’d make a special trip up here for a knuckle sandwich if I post it! Teri you were adorable. :)

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Teri September 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Oh gosh! Yeah, I know that shirt! Why did we think we were awesome wearing big, baggy t-shirts??

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Karly September 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm

What a cool idea, Lindsay! I wish I thought of that at 15… then again, I’m sort of glad I didn’t, LOL. I was a completely different person back then, as I’m sure we all were at that age. I look back and say, “what on earth was I thinking?!” I’ve grown so much, learned so many lessons, and had so many different people come in and out of my live since then. Sometimes I wish I could do it all over, but nahhh… I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t go through the things I went through!

p.s. I think it’s the white shawl that produced the Amish questions 😀

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Lindsay September 13, 2012 at 5:28 pm

You’re totally right about the shawl. Why did it make my shoulders look like they belong on a linebacker, too? More importantly: WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME I LOOKED AWFUL?! Good grief.

It’s incredible how much we change in such a relatively short period of time isn’t it, Karly? We’ll be looking back at our current selves 15 years from now and thinking, “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!” haha

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Karly September 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm

*life… sorry, I’m just like you and a total stickler for grammar, haha!

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Heather September 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I never wrote letters to myself. I did have a journal on and off but never kept it. I wish I would have. I do actually remember 2 morose poems that I wrote during that time. For some reason they’ve always stuck with me.

Here’s the first one: Life comes down like rain. Drop by drop I go insane. It drenches my core. It rains no more. Now all I feel is pain.

Here’s the second one: Bit by bit I’m swallowing life and it’s eating my insides. I can’t help but think my stomach must be a bloody mess.

Very gloom and doom. This should give you a small glimpse into my teenage years. I could never imagine writing something like that now.

I recently wrote a letter to my teenage self. I let her know that she is and always has been loved and understood and that every thing will be alright.

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Lindsay September 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

Oh my goodness Heather, those are a couple of very morose poems you wrote! Your energy feels very different now – you’ve grown and changed a lot! I’d love to read the letter you wrote to your teenage self…unless it’s private, of course!

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J October 11, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Hi Lindsay,

I was introduced to your site a while back by my girlfriend and I thought it was great then but never thought to subscribe or check back in. I just now stumbled onto it as “said gf” has been using my iPad — which she has added to the favourites menu. Your energy and insight is refreshing and I have enjoyed reading your recent posts especially since I haven’t felt very spiritually connected lately.

Thank you…

JG

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Lindsay October 12, 2012 at 9:44 am

Hi JG,

Thank you so much for your kind words! Sometimes I just feel like the blog requires so much energy and I want to just throw in the writing towel (at least for a little while). Your comment came at just the right time. Thank you! And thanks to your girlfriend for ‘introducing’ us, too!

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