Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old-Self

Dear Steve,

I know it is hard for you to believe you could ever receive a letter from the future, but this has become a reality; though your calendar shows it’s 1996, for me it is already 2013. It is almost dawn, and in a couple of hours I will have to get up (if I even go to bed) and go to work. But don’t worry, work is interesting, and I am fully satisfied with it. Why am I saying “don’t worry?” Well, because I am you; I am a 33-year-old Steve writing a letter to myself, when I was just 16. note to self

I’ve got so many things to tell you, and so many details of my life, both happy and sad. But I think I would have to write a book to describe it all; so I will just focus on what is important for you in those difficult times you will have in 1996.

You don’t need to be that devastated by what Sally did to you. I know it hurts, it is unfair, and nothing seems to be the same anymore, but try not to do anything stupid only to decrease pain, because you will only hurt some nice people for no reason. Anyways, your grief will vanish without a trace in a month or so. Here is one little tip for you: on September 16, at 2pm, go to a bus station near your school. Just ask a girl standing there with Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in her hands something about poetry. This simple act of curiosity will change your entire life, I promise.

Listen to yourself, to your own wishes and beliefs. I know it sounds unoriginal, but it works. Now you feel oppressed by the expectations of your parents, relatives, friends, and society. It may be hard to step over your parents’ wishes on your account. But it is just how everything goes: it’s you or everybody else. You have only two options: either spend your entire life doing not exactly what you wanted and trying to please people around you, or you can do something for yourself, live a happier life, and make others adapt to your decisions. By the way, don’t worry: you will make the right decision. Thank you for that.

And, in a nutshell, just a couple more tips. Don’t start smoking cigarettes. I know (believe me) you think smoking cigarettes looks cool and rebellious, but the truth is that tobacco will turn you into a walking ruin even before you reach 30. Don’t drive so fast on May 11, 2003; learning how to walk and using help when going to bathrooms is reasonable only in childhood, but not when you are 23. Boldly accept that weird job offer in 2006 despite all your doubts; it will help you keep afloat when everyone around you will be losing their jobs two years later. Finally, just stay as positive and open-hearted as you’ve always been. In any complicated situation, remember that in the end, it will all be for the better.

Your life will be great, believe me!

Sincerely,

Steve

P.S. My (your) wonderful son Mike says hi to you. He is already five. I wish I could send you some of his photos! He has your eyes.

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