Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#HAWMC - What would I tell my 16-year-old self?

Knowing what you know now, what would the older, wiser, Health Activist in you say to 16-year-old you? Would it be words of advice? Comfort? Truth? Would you warn of disease prevention and the importance of health? Or maybe there is someone else if your life you would like to send a message to.

This post was inspired by the “Dear 16-year-old Me” YouTube campaign video by The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund http://dcmf.ca/. Not all diseases and conditions have warning signs nor are all preventable. But we all have wisdom to share about life, relationships and health. What is your message?]

Dear sixteen-year-old me:

I am you, all grown up. We made it! We survived... You're gonna make it through just fine. You're going to have the insights you need, when you need them. It may not feel like it at the time, but hang in there. You've got the right stuff. Believe in you. Your liabilities can be your strengths, depending on the situation. You won't be successful at everything you try, but your failures are just as important. When a door is closed in your face, it will make you seek out new opportunities---things you wouldn't have found otherwise. You'll surprise yourself, in good and bad ways. But we love who we are, scars and all.

Pay off your credit cards. Pay off your student loans as quickly as possible. Save as much money as you can. (Follow your gut for investing. Don't listen to anyone else.) You're wiser than you give yourself credit for.

Take care of your teeth! Even though there's great technology out there, that technology costs money. It's just easier to keep the ones you have. Get a different flavored toothpaste from your dentist.

You're not always going to make the right choices, but life isn't about "getting things right." However, you're correct in your assessment; you didn't deserve to be treated like that. They can take responsibility for their actions. You'll forget that at times, but it won't mes you up too bad. Look at yourself from outside yourself. You're not as ugly as you think you are.

Don't let people talk you out of listening to yourself. Don't listen to their reasons. YOU are the one who has to live with the consequences, not them. Be true to yourself, as you would want someone to be true to you. You'll make it through well enough. I'm here, right?

You're going to get very sick starting at age 27. It's not your fault. There's nothing you could have done to prevent it. There's nothing you can do to stop it. You're going to go through hell like you have never imagined, at pain levels you've never imagined. There's no way we're going to be able to get around that. It's gonna happen. Keep searching and fighting for answers. That's what's going to pull you through. (You will finally be thankful for your stubborn streak.) In the meantime, there's no "Pain Contest." We don't have to prove how much we can take. Do us both a favor: if you're in pain, take the pills. Toughing it out is going to jack our nervous system in the long run.

Remember, you can do this.

I'll see ya when you get here.


  1. What a great letter! For me I would have told myself to travel abroad in my twenties, take that job with the FBI and be sure to get and keep long term disability on myself at all times. And oh yes, always...always...stop to smell the flowers.

  2. Yeah... I don't know that I would re-write my past. I use all my life experience to do what I do today. I was very f'n lucky the way I became disable. I accidently planned it *really* well. If I got rid of some part, would I still have the tools I need to do what I'm doing now? I don't know.

    I could have gone to MIT and didn't. Though I regret that... I don't regret the experiences and wisdom I gained by taking my *other* life path. Except maybe: "Leave the painting as it is! you know it's stunning! Let that layer dry and come back in if you have to..."

    Still, the painting sold, so who am I to judge? lol

  3. I would tell my 16 year old self that her doctor is full of crap when he asks her if she's faking her symptoms for attention. I would tell her that she needs to look her doctor in the eyes and tell him to OPEN A BOOK!
    I totally didn't get what he was saying until recently. When I was 16 my brother was very sick with what turned out to be Crohns Disease and Lupus. I guess he thought my brother was getting lots of attention? What an idiot. Who can fake swollen glands and whacked out bloodwork anyway?
    I think I hear my 16 year old self wishing I'd make a call to the guy as my 40ish self.

  4. I hear that, Amy... it's so devastating to have blood work and *still* be called a liar. Really? How's that science? Ugh!! The things we've been through at the hands of professions who where supposed to be take care of us... I totally hear you.