Anna Caltabiano
July 30, 2015 8:00 am

Summer is a time of change and transition. We often look back at ourselves these past few months or even past few years, to see how far we’ve come and how much we’ve changed.

Often, we find that we’re pretty darn similar—we laugh while reading BuzzFeed articles, remember all the lyrics to “The Piña Colada Song” (we also know that the song’s actually called something else but we never remember the actual title), and we cry every. single. time. we catch the end of The Notebook on The Hallmark Channel. But in other ways, we’ve changed—we no longer believe that the joy of glitter nail polish is worth the pain of trying to get it off, we now can see that those “fashion-forward” overalls we wore on our 15th birthday weren’t actually flattering, and that guy was totally not worth it.

So in celebration of looking back at our former selves as familiar strangers, here’s a letter to my 14 year-old self—the self that first started writing:

Dear 14 year-old me,

You’re starting high school and think that you have things relatively under control…That’ll change soon. Freshman year’s a big year and you’ll have a blast in high school. That being said, here are a few words of advice for surviving the next four years:

  • SLEEP. Seriously. It feels good and it’s good for you. What other reasons do you need?
  • Do random little things that make you happy at least once a day, like painting your nails and watching Hannibal. Smiling, at the very least, once a day isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity.
  • Don’t stare too intently at strangers. They don’t know that you’re daydreaming alternate lives they could have lived in King Arthur’s time. People will think there’s something wrong with you.
  • Sure, you often think that you’re barely getting by with schoolwork (and life in general), but remember to go out with friends. And do it often enough. A little procrastination never killed anyone. Learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. You’ll learn valuable things from these people.
  • That being said, don’t procrastinate too much. It’ll bite you in the butt. Trust me.

  • I know I put “SLEEP” as number 1 on this list because it’s so important, but I also know you. You’re horrible at following directions. So for the times that number 1 doesn’t happen for some reason or another (staying up for the Royal Wedding perhaps?) 2 a.m. one-person dance parties in your room to Grouplove is always a good idea.
  • When you walk or eat alone, you may think that people are silently judging you, but really no one notices. This is the biggest secret the adults are keeping from you. They have better things to think about, so go for a solitary walk and have lunch alone occasionally. You don’t have to feel weird about not wanting be around people 24/7.
  • Everything in moderation. Including chocolate. Especially chocolate.
  • I know signing up for a doggie and me yoga class sounds like a great idea. But that doesn’t mean you should do it. (Portia isn’t the most flexible dog on the block. And neither are you, might I add!)
  • Listen to this advice, but don’t do anything differently. You ended up with great friends, (amazingly) survived high school, and found a passion you want to continue for the rest of your life. If that’s not luck, I don’t know what is.

(Image via here.)