Few days back I was cleaning my cupboards, managing my old stuff for ‘clear the clutter.’ Suddenly I saw my old diaries, and to my surprise, I found out that I had started writing for myself when I was just about 10 or 12 years old! I have no idea when I made so many plans and from where I got so much inspiration at that time. I have never wrote about my personal life in those diaries. I wrote about the emotions I got after meeting new people and the experiences I had – that too, only the positive ones! And as Naina said (Arey vohi Naina… Ye Jawani Hai Deewani Wali… 😉 Humari pyari Deepika Padukone) “Yaadein mithai ke dibbe ki tarah hoti hai; ek baar khula to sirf ek tukda nahi kha paoge!” So true… and I kept moving to my ‘yaadein.’
When I read a few of my write-ups, I realized how I have changed from time to time. I can literally feel the difference in my thoughts and behaviors. Just like most of us, I also have made some ‘amazing’ mistakes, and even today, when I think about them, I don’t feel any regret. I believe THEY WERE NEEDED! The maturity or weirdness I have today is because of those wonderful and beautiful mistakes of my life.
But, there are a few things I wish I had known when I was 16 – may be I could be better or might have enjoyed that phase a little more. In this article, I want to write about those things which could have helped me to live at its best, so that the other 16 years old angels out there get a chance to revive their confusing ‘sweet 16’!!!
A Letter to 16 Year Old ‘Self’
- Dear 16-year-old self, you should START READING now. I know it’s boring. I know you have a lot of pressure because of boards. I know you get only 1 or 2 hours for actual entertainments. But still, I suggest you to start reading. It is a fuel for your mind which will help you to think better, do better, and grow better. Control your urges of the idiot box and read. 20 pages a day are excellent. Just start.
- Dear 16-year-old self, DON’T ARGUE WITH PARENTS. They are the only people who think best for you without being selfish. You will soon realize that there are very few people who will stay true to you, and even fewer who will STAY! You will quickly understand that the person for whom you fight with your parents is also going to leave you at some point of time; because they too have a career to make! LISTEN to your parents and have faith in their advice.
- Dear 16-year-old self, GO AND PLAY! Involve yourself in some ground/field games. You will want a perfect height, perfect weight, and a perfect figure. Currently, you believe that it is easy to get. NOOO, it is not! You can’t get it from some crash courses of 3 months! You have to invest your time NOW and from NOW ONWARDS! Whatever you like, basketball, football, tennis, table tennis, badminton, or cricket – don’t be lazy, step outside and start playing.
- Dear 16-year-old self, EAT RIGHT. Why are you always compromise when it comes to eating? Why is that movie at 12 more important than your meal? Why you just can’t eat on time? I am sure you love junk food and THAT’S FINE! You are allowed to eat junk once a week because you are burning those calories while playing, right? But eat well and on time! After 10 years, you will be relieved knowing that your inner organs are healthy and active because you have taken care of them at your teenage!
- Dear 16-year-old self, TRAVEL HARD. I know your parents may not allow you to travel alone. It’s okay, that’s their right. Find a company and make sure your parents trust that person or the whole bunch of people. Go to some touristic place at first, and then start exploring some unexplored places. You should also try summer camps. Do hiking, rafting, paragliding, and scuba diving. I know you have been dreaming for all these stuff since you were a kid. Now as you are a big and responsible person, make them real. But before you leave, promise your parents that you will always stay safe and will not involve in any immoral/illegal matters. You will never lie to them and always keep in touch without being irritated. (And still, if they are not convinced, let them talk to me. ;))
- Dear 16-year-old self, PLAN for your future. Planning is and will become an essential element in your life. You may find it annoying when your parents tell you to plan your day. Don’t plan if you don’t feel like, but at least THINK AND VISUALIZE. Decide what you want to do in life. Find your passion and work hard for it. Follow your heart, but be logical. I always tell all the parents out there to allow children to fail during the journey of finding passion. But being a child, you should always be practical. Have a vision of the next five years and start preparing for that.
- Dear 16-year-old self, VOLUNTEER. You are a youngster now. You are energetic and resourceful. Trust me; there are a lot of people who need your help. If you don’t like to do social work, do something for yourself. It’s simple, you should just stop wasting your time here are there. Find some work where you can volunteer. Make someone’s life less miserable and always learn something new.
Dear 16-year-old self, You may think that this is too much! But trust me my 16-year-old self, after ten years, you will also write something like this and I sincerely wish that there should not be any guilt or regret. BE YOUNG – WILD – FREE, with a pinch of sensibility, responsibility, respect, and courage.
Some of the things I have followed, and for some of them, I wish I could have managed to develop. So, here they are; for all those teenagers who want something extra from life. Always remember… You are truly loved and blessed. Live, Love, Laugh!