33 Things Women Wish They Could Tell Their Teenage Selves

33 Things Women Wish They Could Tell Their Teenage Selves

What advice do you wish you could have given yourself to survive the teen years?


By: Leah Maxwell

The trouble with teenagers is that no matter how much good advice is thrown their way, they’re hardly ever in the mood to listen. The teenage years are all about asserting independence and figuring out how to navigate life by your own rules, and even the most well-intentioned wisdom often falls on deaf ears. For teenagers who think they alone have all the answers, the perfect solution would be to have their older, wiser selves come back from the future to tell them what’s what, but in lieu of a time machine, we have the next best thing: 33 women sharing what they wish they could tell their teenage selves.

1. “You’ll be very proud of yourself someday, so be who you really are. Very few of the things that matter now will matter later.” -- Nora R., 37, Westport, Connecticut

2. “You can learn something from everyone. Even (especially) the people you think know less than you. Listen.” -- Blythe B., 43, Portland, Oregon

3. “You won’t hate your parents forever. That’s just the hormones talking.” -- Tamara B., 38, Los Angeles, California

4. “Playing dumb doesn’t serve you or anyone else. Stop trying to hide the fact that you are smart and funny.” -- Wendy R., 36, St. Paul, Minnesota

5. “Stop dressing like a boy. You’re curvy and fabulous.” -- Linnea W., 34, Dallas, Texas

6. “SUNSCREEN. Holy cats, are you crazy with the tanning?” -- Sue D., 53, Ventura, California

7. “Trust your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You are the best judge of you!” -- Jamie D., 35, Chicago, Illinois

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8. “Your parents are right – don’t pop your pimples, it’ll leave scars. Zits are fleeting, the scars are still here 20 years later!” -- Courtney G., 35, Takoma Park, Maryland

9. “Do stuff that challenges you academically, even if you have to risk your GPA.” -- Katrina R., 28, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

10. “You can absolutely start now. You don’t have to wait until you are ‘older.’" -- Amber M., 32, Brooklyn, New York

11. “Do more short-term things. Don’t feel like you can’t travel/take an internship/quit a job after three months, especially because of a relationship. Smart risks and experiments early on are the best kind of career counseling and education.” -- Laurie W., 43, Olney, Maryland

12. “I wish I had not tried to be an A student at Adulting. I wish I had spent my 20s broke and traveling more.” -- Lisa S., 42, Alameda, California

13. “Be you far more unapologetically. People love the real you. (And if they don’t, it’s no great loss. Really.)” -- Rebecca M., 32, Dublin, California

14. “Enjoy that metabolism.” -- Erin J., 32, Memphis, Tennessee

15. “Ask for help. Seek out help. Don’t think that because no one is offering, you have to suffer and settle.” -- Ellen G., 47, Westchester County, New York

16. “Nobody is criticizing you the way you criticize yourself – they’re wrapped up in their own problems. Take a deep breath.” -- Miriel R., 27, Rochester, Minnesota

17. “Actually, really trying at something will be OK, even if you fail. [If you don’t,] you’ll always wonder what you could have achieved if you had jumped in with both feet.” -- Elizabeth D., 33, Clinton, New Jersey

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18. “There’s really no need to jump from long-term relationship to long-term relationship. Flirt and date around without settling down!” -- Stephanie M., 32, Yorba Linda, California

19. “Stay in touch with people. People are one of the best parts of this ride.” -- Tara W., 43, Seattle, Washington

20. “Be less afraid to be yourself, girl. Keeping up with others’ expectations is unnecessary and exhausting.” -- Tessa C., 38, Phoenix, Arizona

21. “Go to class!” -- Jenn W., 46, St. Louis, Missouri

22. “I guarantee you, in five years none of this will matter. In 10 years you won't even think about it.” -- Angela C., 39, Seattle, Washington

23. “You’re not fat.” -- Jonna R., 39, Framingham, Massachusetts

24. “Don’t worry so much about the boys. Spend time with your girlfriends. They’ll still be around in 20 years, the boys won’t.” -- Leandra N., 42, Athens, Georgia

25. “It DOES get better! College WILL be better than high school.” -- Julia G., 32, San Francisco, California

26. “Stop with the perms already. -- Jenna M., 42, Leesburg, Virginia

27. “You’re smart.” -- Alison R., 36, Boston, Massachusetts

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28. “Everyone else is just as insecure as you are. Stop worrying about what they think, and focus on figuring out what YOU think.” -- Kristin C., 41, Seattle, Washington

29. “Save lots, spend lots, and don’t go into debt.” -- Emily K., 26, Calgary, Alberta

30. “Boys can wait; school is so much more important than having a boyfriend.” -- Katie G., 32, Sterling Heights, Michigan

31. “Worry a little bit more about boys and have some fun. I studied and was so good, I could have used more fun.” -- Jen K., 37, Elmwood Park, Illinois

32. “You’re beautiful. People pay good money for skin that amazing.” -- Nicole L., 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

33. “Your life is not supposed to be like a movie. Those are fake.” -- Elizabeth D., 34, Kamloops, British Columbia

What do you wish you could tell your teenage self?


Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

Image ©iStock.com/Fodor90


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