10 Women Share What They Wish They Could Tell Their 13-Year-Old Selves

After you’ve lived and learned for a bit, it’s crazy how clear it becomes that all those years you swore you knew everything, you really knew nothing at all. Part of growing up is learning from your mistakes but sometimes it just seems a little unfair we have to go through all of these hardships to gain wisdom. I asked 10 women I know what they would tell their 13-year-old selves if given the chance and here’s what they had to say, myself included.

  1. Don’t take life too seriously. – Nora, 35 Honestly, this is essential. Things are going to happen that will be beyond your control and wasting too much time and energy worrying will cause a lot of negative emotions to happen that are totally avoidable. Laugh at yourself and at situations. Try and be as easy-going as possible and it will save a lot of stress.
  2. Good, bad, ugly, extraordinarily beautiful—live it all fearlessly – Amy, 45 It’s so easy to give into fear and not let yourself experience opportunities presented to you. Once you stop closing yourself off you can truly live. How can you know good if you don’t have any bad? All parts of life are precious, even the ones that seem absolutely devastating, but try and embrace it all and you will feel fulfilled.
  3. Always bring a jacket. – Veronica, 24 Seems simple but extremely important. This is one of those things that your mom probably always told you growing up and I bet everyone can think of at least one time they’d wished they’d listened. Metaphorically, this is all about being prepared for whatever may come your way, and that’s some pretty damn good advice.
  4. Go to college, no matter what. It’ll help in the long run no matter how obnoxious it seems at the time. -Tammy, 57 College may not be for everyone but we’re getting to a point as a society where having a degree can sometimes make or break your career. Whether that’s fair or not isn’t necessarily the point, but if you’re able to continue schooling and learning, it can only be to your benefit and may open doors you otherwise wouldn’t have had presented to you.
  5. Stop worrying about what others think of you. Be a leader yourself, not a follower. Set an example. – Sandy, 57 In truth, what other people think about you really won’t matter in the big picture, yet so many people waste time worrying about just this. Stay true to yourself, trust your gut and make decisions ultimately that YOU can live with. Set your own example and sometimes go against the crowd, especially if you feel passionate about something. This will bring a confidence that will make you successful throughout your life.
  6. Relationships shouldn’t always be easy, but they also shouldn’t be super difficult. – Jordan, 32 There are always horror stories of how hard marriages and long-term relationships are. The longer you’re with someone, you’re bound to hit roadblocks and it does take a solid foundation to get through them together. However, it shouldn’t be miserable the majority of the time. Hardships will happen and you should come out of them stronger, not angrier with each other. Take time to notice the difference.
  7. Don’t be over-trusting. It’s okay to have your guard up. It’ll help you determine if you have the right people in your life. – Chryshele, 36 Sometimes when you only try to see the good in people it can truly come back to bite you. That doesn’t mean to become super cynical and doubt everyone but pay attention. Learn to read people and protect your feelings if you feel you need to. The people that are genuine will be around regardless and you won’t doubt their motives.
  8. Even if other people don’t understand your feelings, they’re real and valid. – Regina, 31 There are times we get so deep in our own heads that it’s hard to determine exactly what is real and what our minds are making up. Things that are absolutely illogical seem like the most logical thing on earth and it’s hard to make others understand that to you this is a reality, they just see you as crazy. Keep in mind, if you’ve ever felt this way, chances are others do too, so always remember even if you don’t get it, it’s real to the other person and try and be as understanding as possible.
  9. There will come a point when you just know you’re done—trust it. -Kaylee, 39 After years and years of back and forth within a relationship, a bad job, or a number of other things, you WILL reach your breaking point. Sometimes you see it coming and sometimes you don’t, but it will happen and once you’re done, you’re done. If you’re stuck in a bad cycle, try to be patient that there will come a moment of relief and you’ll truly be ready to move on. Don’t force it.
  10. Always maintain your independence. – Kayla, 37 It’s so easy to become reliant on other people, especially those that make it easy and are always willing to help. As great as it is to have supportive people in your life willing to step up for you, keep a certain level of self-sufficiency. That way if others aren’t around, you won’t feel stranded or stuck and you’ll be able to tackle whatever comes your way.
jordan is a writer from salt lake city who enjoys a good steak, her dog, and conversations about how radiohead is awesome. she hopes to be a talking head on some VH1 pop-culture show someday and can curate a playlist for any occasion. when she grows up she wants to be an olsen twin.