Last week, The Guardian published a heartfelt letter that writer Stephen Fry had penned to his 16-year-old self in which he wrote : “Tears splash on to my keyboard now. I am perhaps happier now than I have ever been and yet I cannot but recognize that I would trade all that I am to be you, the eternally unhappy, nervous, wild, wondering and despairing 16-year-old Stephen: angry, angst-ridden and awkward but alive. Because you know how to feel, and knowing how to feel is more important than how you feel. Deadness of soul is the only unpardonable crime, and if there is one thing happiness can do it is mask deadness of soul.” Hundreds of readers responded to the letter with notes to their own 16-year-old selves, warning of everything from fast-approaching baldness, unfulfilled dreams, and death of friends and family. Some gave advice: “Marry that fab posh girl in about three years, not seven. Life’s too short to wait, but any sooner will freak her out.” Others gave hints of good things to come: “Amazingly, not only will you get a boyfriend but he is lovely and you will live together in London on the other side of the world.” What would you say to your 16-year-old self? After the jump, a letter to myself at half the age I am now — and, yes, that makes me 32.
Among the things you should embrace now while you can: your naturally red hair, clear skin, healthy joints, ability to eat french fries at every meal without gaining a pound, and an existence free from money, relationship, and health worries.
Speaking of worries, among those that aren’t worth your time and energy: math class (you’ll never need algebra for anything!), people who don’t like you (they’ll always be there and they’re no reflection of your character), unreciprocated romantic feelings (everything will suck in the relationship department for the next 13 years, but then a lovely man you’ll adore will come along and sweep you off your feet).
You’ll feel all kinds of emotions that are fleeting and cyclical, but love will be constant, so ground yourself in it whenever you feel lost.
Oh, and drink one glass of water for every cocktail you consume.