Dear 10-Year-Old Me,
As a lover of lists and things that align numerically, it seems only perfect, and necessary, to create a list of 10 things I’d love for you to acknowledge as a 10-year-old.
1) Appreciate the time your immediate family spends together. Over time, the occasions where you, your sister and your parents will be in the same place at the same time will become fewer and farther between. For better and for worse, they will never be like they were when you were a kid. Take advantage of family time while you can, even if it frequently involves a considerable amount of bickering between you and your sister.
2) Bicker less with your sister. It will help your relationship grow, and it will surely decrease your parents’ headaches. Though you share many similarities, your sister’s differences create chasms you are too young to fully appreciate and understand. Rather than argue, try to understand your sister and her differences. Or, at the very least, let her do her thing and respect her choices.
3) Let your sister do her thing and you focus on yours. Don’t wait until she’s grown up and out of the house to start forging your own path. Being the youngest, it is easy to follow your older sister in her footsteps—especially if hers seem well worth following—but find something that is uniquely yours, something she has not yet discovered or delved into. The world is full of exciting new opportunities waiting for your individual exploration.
4) Keep as firm of a grasp as possible on the close friendships you have now, but understand that some—even your very closest—will become diluted or completely vanish over time. Remember that the dissolution is no one’s fault, but rather a differing of interests and subsequent paths taken. Try to reconnect with some of your childhood friends when you are older and see where each of your lives has taken you. You may be surprised with how easily a long-disbanded friendship can be reactivated.
5) Kiss the boy. You know the one. He will die much too young, and though you will have wonderful memories (like the time you shoveled horse manure together as punishment for violating field trip rules), you will not have the one where you brazenly, unabashedly plant your lips on his. It’s important to maintain a good moral compass, but sometimes it’s okay to be a tad, smidgen, iota, shred, wee, tiny bit less of a stuffed shirt and goody-goody.
6) Be a tad, smidgen less sarcastic. Secretly revel in your intelligence and wit, but learn that a more intelligent person knows when to let sarcasm fly and when to rein it in. Know that it is not always the best tool for humor in all settings and scenarios.
7) Like that of your father and sister, your hair will become categorically, without exception, frustratingly-at-times, undeniably curly. Appreciate its straightness now, and its curliness when it transforms. Rather than cursing it for changing, and trying to destroy it by using a flat iron day after day to straighten it, learn to manage your curly hair as your genetics intended. Or, at the very least, amass a large quantity of ponytail holders.
8) Run, run, run until your lungs burn and your legs ache. And then keep running. One day shin problems will make routine running only a fond memory and faraway dream. Run as much as you can before your body poses its aggravating limitations.
9) Don’t routinely settle for second best or merely rely on your genetics and natural talent. Without reservation, put 100 percent of your time and effort into something, just to see what the outcome is. You may excel or you may not even come close to meeting your expectations, but you won’t know until you really give it your all. No doubt being well-rounded has its upsides, but working insanely hard at one specific thing to see what you can truly achieve has its own unrivaled rewards.
10) Learn to dance. You will dance on countless occasions in your life and being moderately good at it would be fun, while also decreasing the chance that friends will tease, “She sure can run, but she sure can’t dance!” When you are older, you will lose some of your gumption for trying things you have accepted are “not your thing.” Make dancing your thing. Or, at the very least, take a few proper classes.
What would you want your past self (at any age) to know? Share it in the comments!