Dear 16 year old……..

Me (on the left) just before I turned 16. Not much changes, eh?

Dear Emma,

Hello from the future! As I am now almost twice your age and since it seems to be quite the thing to do  I thought the time had come to drop you a line and share some of the lessons I’ve learnt along the way. However knowing you (knowing me, aha.) you won’t listen.

I suppose the most important thing I can tell you is give yourself a break. No-one will ever be as hard on you as you are on yourself, I can say that for certain. You’ll hit some of the targets you set for yourself, but others you won’t. What’s more interesting is you’ll find yourself doing things you never expected, that never crossed your mind as possible. Without spoiling the ending, life at 32 is not going to resemble the picture you have in your head. However, it’s pretty damn good.

When it comes to boys (yes they do come along eventually) you’ll make some stupid decisions and kiss the occasional frog. They don’t turn into princes; I hate to break it to you. Native wit means you steer clear of the biggest losers, but not the gays unfortunately. A word to the wise, no good will come of it. You’ll get yourself involved in something that seems like a good idea, and then have no idea how to get yourself out of it. It happens; give yourself a break, ok? Remember more than anything, you deserve the very, very best. If he doesn’t rock your world, then you have to move on, but try to do it kindly if you can. Unfortunately some things don’t change – the ones you fancy never fancy you back. You still get the most enormous crushes too, sorry about that. The boys who do chase you range from total idiots who talk to your breasts rather than your face, to decent chaps who don’t quite fit the bill. Deal with them appropriately and remember your manners! I’d love to tell you that you get better with navigating it all, but you don’t. Certain individuals will still reduce you to a sweaty palmed, heart racing, dry mouthed wreck.

Friends. Strange as it may seem, the people who you are closest to now will gradually drift away. No-one does anything wrong, it’s just one of those things. However, don’t panic. You’re going to meet some brilliant people and build a fantastic urban family. Just remember though, some people are only supposed to be around for a little while. You’ll know the ones worth fighting to hang on to 🙂 Beware the toxic friend – they’re trouble! Anyone who feels the need to constantly put you down is not a friend, however much they might dress it up as ‘honesty’.

Family. Again, I hate spoiling the ending, but everything will turn out ok with Mum and Dad. Both of them will be happy and one day you’ll look at them and wonder how they ever got together in the first place. You’ll have some making up to do though – D and R deserve better than the treatment you give them, so stop being a brat mmmkay?

Continue to find wisdom and solace in pop music.

Remember to use sunscreen for heaven’s sake. You’re deathly pale, you burn far too easily and it hurts.

Be brave. It won’t always pan out the way you’d like, but you’ll seldom regret it. Anyway the alternative (sleepless nights while you wonder what to do) is no fun and gets you absolutely nowhere.

Don’t leave things to the last minute. Last minute cramming of anything does nothing for your mental state. You’ll ignore this one though, I know for sure.

High heels are rarely a good idea. You’re far too much of a stomper.

Overall though, give yourself a break. You are not as bad as you imagine you are during the long dark cocktail hours of the soul. If you figure out how to do that though, please let me know. And trust me on the sunscreen.

Yours sincerely


P.S – Don’t worry, you pass your maths GCSE.

P.P.S – I know you won’t care right now, because you’re in your indie music phase, but Take That split up, then reform and it’s the most amazing thing ever!


About paddymade

Thirtysomething PR type, Northern Ireland born and bred, now residing in Aberdeen. I drink tea (a lot), swear (loudly) and craft (badly) This is my little corner of the internet, pull up a chair and get comfortable :)
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