People Share The Three Word Message They'd Share With Their 13-Year-Old Self
Jeremy Bishop/Unsplash

Sometimes I sit around and wish I could go back and deliver a message to my younger self.

I think about ways I could encourage her or people I would help her avoid. I think about the people I'd tell her to wait for.

I think about the years of crap medical care we could avoid.

And then I remember 13-year-old me didn't listen to anybody anyway. Me and my Sony Sports Walkman had better things to do than listen to some time traveler.


Reddit user KiwiPangolin asked:

"You meet your 13 year old self, but you can only tell them 3 words. What do you say and why?"

They say humans really only want health, wealth, and happiness ...

Turns out Reddit is not only much more hopeful about their 13-year-old selves than I am, but the answers pretty much all fell into one of those categories. Happiness won by a mile, though.

Warning: Unexpected Feels Trips Ahead.

Health - Your Teeth

Dentist GIF Giphy

"Brush your teeth."

- mynameisusama

"My teeth feel so much better since I started flossing after every meal a couple years ago."

"I floss after every meal I eat at home and it's a huge improvement."

- Zerilentix

"Can I show them my teeth as well? My 13 year old self wouldn't give a feck what my 30 year old self says unless I give physical examples. My teeth are, unfortunately, great examples of why."

- Andminus

Health - Don't

" 'Don't smoke, dumbass' "

"I smoked from 14 to 30. I tried quitting about 12 times and it never took."

"Then I talked to my doctor and she had me try a medication. After two or three weeks I didn't want to smoke. I finished the full two months prescription and have been nicotine free for six years."

"Don't give up. It is possible to quit, you just need to keep trying until you find what's right for you."

"Even if you can't quit completely, just try smoking less often."

- chef_in_va

"I told my Dad not to smoke every single day growing up."

"I used to throw fits when I was a kid because I knew how bad it was for him and I had watched my grandmother die from it at 64."

"He's made it to 73, but he virtually immobile due to COPD."

- AKSupplyLife

Wealth - Invest

"Invest Amazon 2003"

- uncaringbear

"Ah yes, because 13 year old who just hears an adult stranger saying 'invest amazon 2003' is totally going to start investing their pocket money in that."

- FartingBob

"You heavily invest in the Amazon rainforest only to have 70% of it destroyed by 2030."

"You are destitute."

- captaingigglesworth

Wealth - A Little Slap

Big Brother Fight GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Giphy

" 'No student loans.' "

"Then I'd slap myself to drive the point home."

- TravelingGleeman87

"And for me, a double slap—'Don’t ever co-sign!!' ”

- Sarcastic_babs

Happiness - Jeff

"DON'T MARRY JEFF"

- AlmostAlwaysADR

"This is mine too, and it’s the same name. Jeff is a prick."

- noimneverserious

"I seriously dislike every person I've met named Jeff. It's incredible."

"My born again Christian uncle, a co-worker at a movie theater who was a close friend and then stabbed me in the back, a co-worker I had about two years ago who was so f*cking annoying and incompetent... all Jeff."

"I don't hate a lot of people but that's three people I do. Like 90 percent of people I hate are named Jeff."

- catsinspace

"Must be a Jeff thing. My 3 words would be 'Don't date Jeff' "

- [Reddit]

Happiness - 5 Years To Make A Difference

"Here’s what I’d do: first I’d show young-me my college ID pic that I took at 18 years old. I’m 23 now, so the image looks enough like me and enough like him for him to understand and believe who I am."

"Then I’d shout slowly but as loud as I can:"

“ 'Dad pancan 2017' ”

"Hopefully he’d look up what 'pancan' is, and see that it refers to pancreatic cancer."

"2017 is the year he got diagnosed with stage 4, he died 2 years later, but if we had checked even earlier we might’ve detected it sooner and at a smaller stage, he may have survived."

"I was 13 in 2012 so I’d have 5 years to make a difference if I got that message to myself."

"Hope I was smart enough at 13 where if this scenario had occurred I could’ve done something about it. If not, well… at least I’d know how much time I had left with him."

"Definitely could’ve appreciated him more, he was the best dad in the goddamn world."

- Philander_Chase

Happiness - Talk About It

water sea GIF Giphy

"Talk about drowning."

"When I was 12, I almost died in a rip tide on a trip with a friends family."

"The family I was with told my parents it was nothing (afraid of lawsuit perhaps) but told me that they had told my parents the whole story."

"Basically, the lifeguard saved me at the last minute, and the rip tides were so bad the beach was shut down for days afterwards."

"My parents never knew a life guard had to save me and were told I got scared and over reacted."

"The ptsd from almost dying (I had given up and was dying when the lifeguard reached me) led to depression and drug use as a teen."

"If my parents had known I truly gave up and thought I was dying and was ok with it, they would have gotten me therapy and my whole life would have been different."

- sassycatastrophe

Happiness - 30s Rock

" 'Wait two decades.' "

"She struggled with suicidal thoughts in her later teenage years and when her baby was first born."

"Knowing that The Good Sh*t (tm) happens when she's in her 30s should keep her going... and hopeful."

- insertcaffeine

"Mine was '30’s are AWESOME!' "

"My childhood and teenage years were good. My late 20s were the hardest years you can imagine."

"My life didn’t truly start until my 30’s. And I’m sure to tell as many teenagers as I can!"

- iluvcuppycakes


"35 here, and this is the truest thing."

"I was a young teen mom who struggled and struggled… just one thing after another, homeless for a short time, broke, domestic violence, etc, etc… until my 30s."

"Finally got to finish school, I don’t literally have to work 7 days a week while trying to be a good mom, and I’ve found a great 'balance' ”

"I’ve been looking for something my entire life. Not anymore."

"I’m able to prioritize being healthy and I’ve overcome the negative body issues (thinking I’m fat no matter what), but I’m still young enough to look and feel good."

"In all honesty, my 30s are the best times of my life, so far."

"I have time to listen and enjoy my kids, support their hobbies, businesses, and dreams. I finally own a home. I can finally go on vacations. 30s rock for me."

- Embarrassed-Tap9458

Happiness - Kimmy

" 'Yes Kimmy California.' "

"My sister wanted to move to California near where I was living."

"My life was really complicated at the time and I actively discouraged it. My marriage was a mess and I was afraid it would make it worse."

"She stayed where she was. About a year later she was killed by a drunk driver."

"My marriage ended."

"I would do literally anything to still have my sister here."

"Maybe that message to 13 year old me would make sense when it came up later and I would know to say yes when she asked about moving."

- purplecrazypants2

Happiness - Choose Art (?)

" 'Choose Art School.' "

"My entire college career was based on:"

" 'This will let me earn $X. Do business, do CS, do Cybersec. It’ll impress dad and the family. Artists starve and money = happiness anyways.' ”

"Made really good money in the business world before graduating and realised how little my degree helped me."

"All I wanted to do was animation for other people and that’s all I ever dream about."

"Should have done what I wanted to do instead of being a people-pleaser for so many years."

- Bryans-Ghost

"I did go to art school, and I was going to tell myself the exact opposite:"

" 'No art school!' "

"I wish I had done something practical like CS because it sucks to be financially unstable."

- lacksleepdna

So what would YOU tell your 13 -year-old self?

And do you think you'd have listened anyway?

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