It's utterly impossible to get through life without making a whole slew of mistakes. That especially applies to the teenage years.
Safe to say we were all pretty out of whack inside those puberty-driven bodies with half-formed brains.
So, of course, we'd love to find some way to communicate with that twerp of yesteryear. Imagine if you could speak to your teenage self while they still have a chance to live life according to the lessons you've learned the hard way. What would you advise?
One Reddit thread posed exactly that question. Redditors were asked to imagine exactly what a letter to their former teenage self would look like.
For some, the advice took a practical tone: investments, life-saving maneuvers, or education choices. For others, the advice was more abstract: how to live a life confidently, how to quell social anxieties.
An Unlikely Candidate
"Hello 14 year old me,"
"It's you from 15 years in the future. You don't know it yet but you're pretty dumb and you won't understand how stupid you currently are until you get older. Also stop trying to grow your hair longer, it just doesn't work and looks bad."
"P.S. that really awkward girl that embarrassed you and your freshmen buddies on your first day of JROTC...yeah that's your future wife."
Short and Sweet
"Buy Google stock and otherwise trust your instincts, because even when they're wrong, they're taking you somewhere good." -- alanpugh
"That's a good sentiment. You need experiences for your compass to adjust itself" -- ironphan24
"Make sure to add TSLA to the list" -- IhaveS0meQuesti0ns
Easier Said Than Done
"Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make..." -- the_spotless_mind
" 'You'll Worry Less About What People Think of You When You Realize How Seldom They Do' " - It took me a lifetime to realize that" -- grpagrati
"I thought of this but teenage me would just say no sh**, then continue caring what other people think because it was a deep rooted issue and not something that can be solved by telling someone to stop doing it." -- 911dabest
"Dear 17 year old me, when your dentist takes your braces off and says 'oops' make him fill all of the holes he just made, right then and there."
"Sincerely - 23 year old you that no longer smiles with his mouth open."
"Dear teenage me,"
"Don't leave home. I know you want to, and there's probably no changing your mind. If you do, call your mom and don't avoid your dad. He needs you more than you know. Have conversations. He needs it, and you do too whether you think so or not."
"Just talk to him like he is a person. Try to see past the bad stuff. He's a human and he's hurting. He probably wants your approval. Or acceptance at least. Just please check on him."
"You will miss him when he's gone regardless of the times you've prayed for his absence."
"You've got this,"
"23 year old me"
Advice Against Overthinking
"In every situation, listen to what your gut is telling you."
"Real friends don't constantly put you down. It'll take you a long time to find true friendship, but that's ok."
"Real love doesn't hurt, and it's waiting for you."
"I know you hate being the funny one. I know you hate the way people think they can just brush you aside because you're a girl and funny so you have to be stupid."
"They are the real idiots and you're doing great, your humor is appreciated by many and you put a smile on their faces and that is worth so much more than having a high grade then those guys."
"Do not under any circumstances join the f***ing army, you teenage knobhead. You will go to war in Iraq, and it will mess with your head for a good few years. Go be a goddamn Plumber like you want to. Safer, less drugs and give up smoking you di** cheese moron."
"With the utmost love and respect,"
"Your older, still as stupid self"
The Inverse of the Mid-Life Crisis
"You're gonna glow TF UP when you're in your 40's.. everything will be okay." -- everybodyjustwave
"Ay that gives me hope" -- TheLocalPlagueDoctor
"I hope you're me from the future because my 20's have been rough." -- phatgenesss
"Stay away from people who only connect with you when they need a favor." -- battlebornv775
"Damn good piece of advice there." -- icecoolsushobhan
"Hey dipsh**, I f***ing love you."
"P.S.You're an absolute moron, but don't worry, that doesn't change." -- Am_Your_Conscience
"the tenderness is overwhelming" -- plebeiandegenerate
Invest in an Absence of Flab
"Start exercising and building better eating habits now. You won't want man boobs and a flabby belly later on, believe me." -- bostero2
"Can you print that letter a couple hundred thousand times, demand for this is high." -- mudokin
Get Your Ducks in a Row Before 2020 Hits
"Hey foofie, its future us. In March of 2020 you will put off getting our hair cut... do not put this off! The quarantine induced mullet must be avoided at all costs!" -- foofie_fightie
"Can you forward this one to teenage me, please" -- Salicilic_Acid-13C6_
Helping Acceptance Come Earlier
"It's ok to be a lesbian and you're not going to burn in hell for it. Ignore the ones that say you're doing it for attention or it's a phase." -- Kay2705
"This. I've been waiting on this 'phase' to end for 14 years. I'm beginning to think I might just be gay." -- kaitlynnkidd
Some Self-Directed Advice, Some Selfless
"Apply yourself in school more, take that scholarship offer and do something with that brain, exercise and be active more so your back doesn't go out at 23, learn the difference between real friendship vs people just taking advantage of you, and remember to take your time in finding love."
"Forgive your dad sooner and be there for him. He misses you but doesn't know how to fix things. Spend more time with your sister and stop being so mean to her. Ask her what's on her mind so those decisions she made don't happen."
Pop Culture Held the Answers
"Yo dude, liking my chemical romance isn't a personality and it doesn't make you better than people who like pop you elitist cunt. Oh and yes, you did find spike from buffy hot as a kid and no, it wasn't a just a phase."
Hard to be Pragmatic at that Age
"You have to listen to your mom when she says that you should study chemistry or you are gonna regret it for the rest of you life especially when you notice that 'Communication studies' was a bad choice and you are going to be an useless person without any professional future."
"And also, when you are at the University don't be stupid and make a semester abroad, at least make that worth it."
"Don't worry, one day people would say that you are hot, and it would the good ones. You will also learn to get some confidence and won't be a doormat anymore."
"Sadly you will still stay the socially awkward little hobbit you are (but at least some people would find this cute)."
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.