What I Wish I’d Known

A little while ago, I was asked to write a letter to myself, my teenage self, by Dear Teen Me. It was what I, as an adult, would say to me as a teen. I gave it a lot of thought and I decided it was worth sharing here.

Dear Teen Me,

You know that boy you’re certain is going to break up with you because you don’t want to go all the way, and you know you’ll die when he does? Well, you are wrong. Not that he won’t break up with you. He will. But you won’t die. You made the right decision. I know it’s hard being you. I know you feel as if you don’t fit in. Even saying ‘here’ when the teacher calls your name makes you cringe. But don’t worry, once you find your real passion in life, all those insecurities fade away. Heck, you can even use those insecurities to help you achieve success in your career. Someday, you’ll stand up in front of thousands and give talks. You’ll make them laugh; you’ll encourage them to believe in themselves like you have learned to do.

I know you think I’m lying because you feel as if you’re not good at anything. The one thing you felt you could have been successful at was gymnastics. So short. So limber. Then you got boobs in fifth grade, before everyone else, and you were too embarrassed to do flips in front of people because they jiggled. Guess what? They’re going to jiggle a lot more when you’re older. But don’t worry, gymnastics didn’t turn out to be your passion. And yeah, school is really hard. You feel stupid, and those report cards validate that. Well, when you’re an adult, you’ll discover that you’re dyslexic, and you never were stupid. As a matter of fact, you’re not nearly as bad as you think you are.

But here’s the one thing you’re going to love knowing. Remember all those teachers and adults who told you if you didn’t get your head out of the clouds you’d never amount to anything? Little did they know that’s how you’d make your living—that, young lady, is your passion. Funny how you didn’t even consider being a writer. But getting lost in your head, in your dreams, creating those stories about all those cute guys, that wasn’t a waste of time. That was grist for mill, a writer in training. As an adult, you even took those tough times as a teen–your parents getting a divorce, losing a family member, getting pushed aside because you wouldn’t sleep with a guy–and you plagiarized your own life to create your character Kylie Galen in the Shadow Falls Series. Yeah, you’ll have to work hard to learn to put your stories down on paper, but you’ll eventually prove all those people wrong. You’re gonna make it. So don’t give up.

Oh, I know you’re going to make mistakes. Getting married so young. That wasn’t smart, but you know what? All those mistakes you’ve made molded and shaped you into the person you are today. So don’t worry so much about the mistakes, just learn from them. Because making a mistake isn’t so bad, it’s repeating them that makes us failures. So take a deep breath, get though the tough times of the teenage years, and the not happy early twenties years, you have a lot of life to live.

The Adult Me


So that’s what I wish I’d said to myself or at least someone would have told me when I was a teen. Of course if it would have been my mom telling me, I probably wouldn’t have listened. But life would have been a lot easier for me if I had.

Now, tell me what is it you wished you’d known when you were younger, or what do you think you’ll be telling younger self when you’re older ?


Last week’s winner of a Shadow Falls t-shirt is Carolyn McMahon. Congratulations, Carolyn! Please email your mailing address and t-shirt size to cc@cchunterbooks.com.

30 thoughts on “What I Wish I’d Known

  1. I wish someone would have told me that it was ok to be different. Then I wouldn’t have spent the money I had saved for a new laptop for school on designer clothes. And maybe I would have passed my freshman year…

  2. First of all, I had to laugh at the boob part, no offense. Anyways, if I could say something to my younger self, I would tell myself that life was going to get harder. You think it’s hard now, wait a couple years. You’re young now, you don’t have to worry about the future so much. And I know that after that accident you felt as if you didn’t belong anymore. Well, you are different. Just like everybody else. You can get past the bullying and teasing. You will stand up to the people that make fun of you, and stare at your brace. You will tell them, “Take a picture it will last longer.” Not in a mean way, but to make them realize how much it hurts. YOU can get past this. You are strong, persistent, and you are amazing at decorating cakes and writing. Do what you love and it will all turn out okay. 🙂 I really wish I would have known how some things were going to turn out, but that doesn’t happen. Wow, I started crying while writing this and C.C., your letter made me realize some things, too. Thank you.

  3. That is funny because the other night I wrote in my diary a letter to my older self. I don’t wanna share it all but I always wanted to be famous as a little kid and if that doesn’t work out I’m going to be a lawyer. I also told my future self to try to get taller and bigger boobs so Nae Nae can shut up.( She makes fun of me for being short and having itty bitty titties)
    The rest is sort of embarrassing. But I wrote that because I knew an older version of me would keep the dairy because its my first diary and is mostly gonna look at it while I’m in college:-) and I thought it would be cute.

  4. I’ll probably be telling my younger self that I shouldn’t have stressed myself out as much, because I practically have panic attacks all the time.

  5. i be telling my older self that all the crushes and enemys that you have are going to be best friends even though you’ll argue 1,000 times you’ll make up 1,000 times you’ll argue with your parnents and sibblings but they become great shoulders to cry on and that don’t just give up on all that homework because it will be important later on. and the boyfriends you have will become great people to talk to after a few years and that just make sure to never give up on anybody in your future because it will all become good

  6. What I would tell my teenage self: when grandma asks you not to go away for college (I am the oldest grandchild on my dad’s side), nod and smile & then go anyway! It’s the only way you won’t get caught up in life and finish school (because that’s my personality).

  7. This is awesome. I know you had to put alot of thought into that. I can sit here and say there is alot I wish I’d known when I was younger but I cant really spit any of those things out without sitting to think about it. I think I would at least tell myself that even when I dont agree with or dont want to listen to my mom to do it anyways cause she really DOES know. She might not know exactly, but she knows cause she’s been there and done that and it’s a whole lot better to learn from other peoples’ mistakes than to ignore them and make that same mistake yourself and then learn from it.

    Oh! and I swear its like some universal balance that your first born kid is just like you and you get to deal with all the same stuff you put your parents through! I tell you, I apologize to my mom for my behavior as a child on a daily basis because of my son!

  8. I would love to have my older self say to me that everything will turn out okay. I am at a very stressful point in my lifetime, and I am losing things and making huge choices left and right. If I could tak to my older self, I would hope that I would say that I made all of the right calls and chose the right things to do. I would also let my older self know that I am scared of my choices, and my dreams are all nightmares. I just hope that my future self doesn’t cringe when I look back! Just knowing that the future has a safe and sound life with 2 good legs and a job in law or sports mediciene is all I need to feel better.

  9. If I could write a letter to my younger self, I would try to convince myself that hanging out with friends my last 2 years of high school, isn’t more important than keeping my grades up. I would tell myself that it’s okay to be alone sometimes…that just because you date someone for years, it’s no reason to feel obligated to stay with that person when he doesn’t make you happy. I would tell myself to give my parents a break. Yes they are adults but that doesn’t make them any more capable of dealing with their problems. (I would also tell myself not to video tape every party I attended and leave said video tape out for my step-mother to find it. Eeek!!)

  10. If I could have told my younger self anything it would have been be patient when it comes to love. Wait for the right one. Also I would say not to care what others think of you snd to be yourself because when you get older it will make it easier to know who you s re and whst role you play in life.

  11. I think I would tell myself that you still have to work hard for what you want and follow your dreams, it is okay to be a dreamer but you have to be responsible too. Not to get married and have a child so young, really not the best move, even though it will work out. All the things your stressing about now will seem minor in comparison when you are older (of course I have been telling my sons all of this for year, but like you said if they listen or not now is another story). The career you were dead set on as a teenager does not always work out and the career you end up having might surprise you!

  12. You are such an inspiration! Even some of the things you said I could relate to. The one thing I would tell my younger self (even though I’m not that old) is life goes on. No matter how much I wanted to just crawl up on my bed and hide from the world, I would have liked to been told that what I was going through would make be a better and stronger person. I’m proud of who I am today 🙂

  13. I wish I’d known that today would be the last day I’d ever see my best friend. This is seriously the worst last day of school I’ve ever had. She’s moving to a different country and I don’t know what I’m going to do. I wish I could have told myself how hard this was going to be, I wish I told myself that we would have a argument in January that would make us not talk until we found out she was moving. Lastly I wish that I could’ve told myself to spend more time with her this year. :'( I LOVE YOU SO MUCH M AND IM GOING TO MISS YOU TO DEATH!!!

    • Just because she is moving to a different country doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never see your friend again. The world is getting smaller and with computers you can talk and see each other online. It may take a bit of effort, but friendship is worth it. Maybe you can even visit her one day.

  14. I would have told my younger self to abandon the thought of becoming a vet because that needs some science skills, and man, science is definitely not my thing. Like, at all. Instead i would have said to become a writer, to try writing and writing more stories. To also try spending more time with my dad before i couldn’t even see him. Every time someone would say something mean, to fight back, spit venom in their faces, not give them the satisfaction of bringing me down. Every time a person told me i can’t do something, to take the ‘t’ off. And to generally be a nicer person to people who i care about, to sometimes let them see that i’m not OK, not act all cold so they would go away and not see how much a needed a hug at the time.

  15. wait, hi is dellas series gonna start of from when she just turned into a vampire or is it gonna go from kylies last book?

    i would tell myself that i shouldnt have been hard on my self, that maybe if i tried like i did without being hard on myself it would have been easier, i also would say that boys could wait until i got out of highschool so i could focus on just my school work

  16. i would say that even tho most of ur relationships didnt work, u will turn out to b a strong person. u shouldnt have been as mean but u are a great basketball and volleyball player who will make good choices, hopefully, in the future

  17. id tell myself to be prepared. because you have a parents divorce, a really bad breakup with the same guy twice, and a ruined moms-wedding day because your soon-to-be step sisters are gonna get into a seriously bad car wreck 2 days before the wedding that leads to 3 fractures, physical therapy, and brain damage for the youngest girl involved who is 13, and to be prepared for her new and worsened personality with major emotional explosions and outbursts. I would tell myself don’t date him, don’t let them drive tonight this late, don’t listen to your parents fighting.. a lot more, too. but then i would tell myself about all the good things that come after the blood bath: like a new baby brother from my dad and step mom who i LOVE. and that your step sister, after many many MANY months generally overcomes her brain damage, and that you and ur ex go back to being the best friends in the world, and that no he isn’t ignoring you for 2 weeks straight, he was at camp and they took his phone away. id tell myself that even though my brother is leaving for boarding school, i still have ellie and evan to be my siblings, its all gonna be okay. id tell myself to shut up, stop crying, and just sit back and smile at the little things instead of wailing at the bad. id tell myself to trust that God hasn’t abandoned me and that i WILL eventually push through the load of bull that my life has been these past 6 months. and most importantly i would tell myself to just learn to quit fighting the current, because sometimes you just need to float with the flow.

  18. what I wish I’d known,
    I wished i’d tell my self I I could go back in time. i’d tell me that life is not all that its cracked up to be when you get into high school. you’d have a few boyfriends that would break you heart, and you’d forgive them eventually and that your aunt was getting remarried and the guy was a good guy.
    then I’d tell my young self that the guy your mom’s dating behind your dads back was as you think a no good too timing loser. and that your grandma was going to pass away a year before you graduate, and you’d go though a tuff time you dress all in black and you’d dye your hair jet black and have a tuff time getting back to blond, for your 12th grade pictures.
    most of all i’d say you still have family that loves you and a brother hat will get on your nerves and every thing is going to turn out as it should, just be on your toes because you never know what might change in your life for the better or worse.

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