11 July 2011
I recently went through all my old photographs, and I had to pause when I came to this one. I was seventeen in this picture. Even though I don't look a whole lot different now, I feel like this was lifetimes ago. 

At the same time, I can still see myself clearly in that girl in the picture. The beginnings of who I would become 
 who I'm still becoming  are written in its every detail. Carefree with cut-off jeans, a goofy expression, a hint of whimsy, a severed unicorn head hanging from a stick... clearly this is a girl that marches to her own drummer. 

What I see more than anything is a rare moment of uninhibited confidence and spunk from an otherwise shy teenage girl. I wish I had let my guard down more often.

That got me thinking. If I could write a letter to my teenage self and send it back in time, what would I say? Come out of your shell? Speak up more? Honestly, I don't know. If I wasn't so quiet in school, I might not be the same person I am today. Depending on what time travel rules we're following (sci-fi nerd), who I am right now might fade away forever.

Joking aside, I don't harbor any serious regrets, especially because I don't always know where I'm headed. Sometimes even stumbling can get you where you need to go. 

So if I could send a letter back in time, the advice that I would give myself would probably be to just enjoy it more. What would you say?



sarahwedgbrow said...

I love this picture...makes me chuckle. I would probably not have changed my survival techniques in high school, but I would like to tell my 16-year old self to be confident. I didn't find this until college.

sonje said...

I wouldn't change anything for the same reasons you cited. Everything that happened in the past made me who I am today, and I definitely lead a charmed life. Not a perfect one, but no life is perfect. We humans make sure of that!

Kristan said...

Ditto what Sonje said! Also, UNICORN HEAD ON A STICK? Do tell.

Love the cutoff jeans. You look SO cute in that pic!

Btw, a bunch of YA authors and publishing peeps started a site along these lines: http://dearteenme.com/

Joelle said...

If I could tell my 16 yr old self anything I suppose it would be to get a different camera the one you have isn't going to last. And also believe in yourself more.

Juliann Wetz said...

I don't know what I would tell my teen-age self. But I'm pretty sure my teen-age self wouldn't have listened anyway.

(My poor Mom!)

doreen said...

I am very far from 16 but actually wrote about being 16 last night. I would not change anything because I had to be there to get here:)
Here is kind of okay!

kaye (paper reader) said...

What a fabulous picture, so carefree. :)

If I could change one thing, I might. All else I'd keep the same, just nudge myself every once in awhile. Mistakes suck, but if we don't have them every once in awhile we'll never learn. And that's what life's all about!

Courtney Koschel said...

Great post =) There are many things I could have done differently to make my life easier or less difficult, but who knows how I would have turned out if I had chosen a different/easier path.

Thank you for sharing, and love the picture!

Stephanie Mooney said...

Sarah, I became more confident in college too. I think that's kind of common. You get out of high school and you realize that what your class mates thought never mattered.

Sonje, I feel exactly the same. :)

Kristan, it was from a pinata at a birthday party. LOL. Thanks for the link.

Joelle, why you gotta hate on the camera??? LOL.

Juliann, I really think I would have listened to a letter from the future. I was always desperate to know where my life was taking me.

Doreen, Kaye, and Courtney, totally agree! Thanks! :)

Courtney Manale said...

I love this picture! I didn't know you when you were seventeen but I definitely still see the Steph I do know in this picture! Your personality is so fun.

I have always thought about changing the past and going back in time to tell your self how to fix the mistakes you made. But now that I've gotten older, I wouldn't want to go back or change anything. I think the best gift in life is not knowing and seeking it out on your own. It is a privilege to not have all the answers. Thanks for the reminder!!



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