Letter To My Younger Self

Dear Fourteen-Year-Old:

I know you may not want to read a letter from a middle-aged woman. As a teenager, you think adults know less than you. I promise, you know so little. And no one knows you better than me. I am an older, wiser you.

Let me start by saying that you will make mistakes. Everyone does. Get over it, hold no regrets. Your decisions will eventually lead you to a wonderful marriage and children that will be a constant source of joy. But you will have one recurring issue to deal with that could have easily been prevented starting at your age.

I have one very important piece of advice to share with you. Do not leave the house – ever – without sunscreen on your face. When you go to the beach, lather it all over. You’ll never be tan like your friends. It’s not in your genetic makeup, so stop trying. And don’t let the comments about how white you are deter you from doing this.

When you go to Florida with your boyfriend, heed his advice and wear a wide-brimmed hat, even though you think you’ll look goofy. He suggested it because he thought you’d look cute. And he’s the one who will watch you go to the doctor every six months for the next twenty years, leaving pieces of yourself behind.

Nothing is cute about scars on your face.

As you walk out the door, remember, a little sunscreen will prevent you having to listen to your plastic surgeon snip the cartilage in your ear to try to make it symmetrical to the other one after a hefty Moh’s surgery. Your fourth one.

The sun is not your friend. Keep to the shade. Wear a hat and protective clothing. You’re beautiful just as you are. Appreciate what you have. Take care of yourself now and in thirty years, you won’t have to write this letter.


Your Forty-Seven-Year Old Self

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