life: super powers not included

Dear Teen Tracey

Universe out therephoto from we heart it

Hi, it’s me. You know, future Tracey. So, I’m 28 years old and married and have a steady job. Score one for your 10-year plan.

Listen, Teen Tracey. Seriously, put down that book and listen. There are some things I thought you should know before you go and grow up.

Print out this list. (Because you don’t need to waste an hour battling your dial-up Internet just to re-read this e-mail.) Tack it over your desk even though you think it will mess up the look of your room. Get over it. You have a framed photo of Matt Damon on your bureau—that is messing up the look of your room.

Girl Readingphoto by paul bence

1. Stop studying so much. I know you’re a perfectionist and cry yourself to sleep every time you get a grade lower than an A, but life’s more than perfect scores. Enjoy your high school years. You’re only a teen once so live it up. Explore the world. Go for a hike. Also, you will never, ever use trigonometry.

Let it gophoto by mare.bowe

2. Let it go. You know that thing at school that you-know-who did and OMG YOU CAN’T BELIEVE IT AND YOUR LIFE IS RUINED? Well, it’s not. You’ll get over it. And, truthfully, you won’t even remember it 10 years from now. Promise.

Big glassesphoto by we heart it

3. Embrace your glasses. Frames do not make you an automatic dork. Give your eyes a breather once in a while. (And for goodness’ sake, switch to a pair of clean contacts!) But do everyone a favor and opt for the thinnest lenses money can buy, four eyes.

Typewriterphoto by we heart it

4. Write. Remember how you started that novel but stopped 20 thousand words in when you realized you were only 16 and no one writes novels at 16? Well, they do. So don’t give up. All of that writing is what the publishing biz calls practice. And you know what practice makes…

Love your bodyphoto by we heart it

5. Appreciate your body. Dude, you don’t know how good you’ve got it. I won’t scare you with the facts of how your body will work in the future, but use that body for all it’s worth. Walk everywhere. Run. Stand for hours just because. Don’t spend a moment lolling around; make the most of each second.

Grammar Lessonphoto from we heart it

6. Teachers are people, too. Get this: I know some teachers now and they’re totally cool and definitely not out to get you. Sometimes they dread going to work just as much as you dread school. And vacation? They’re just as excited as you are. So the ones that suck—and I think we both know who I’m thinking of here—they’re not attacking you, personally.

Blown out candlephoto from we heart it

7. Give yourself a break for never remembering birthdays. In the future, there’s this thing called Facebook (it’s an online place where your friends update you on what they’re doing at any point in the day and you read it and make comments like “I love pizza too,” and somehow, someway it’s useful and not completely stupid) that reminds you when friends have a birthday.

Dorky socksphoto from we heart it

8. You’re fine. You know how you worry so much about how you look and whether you’re going to ace that test and if you’ll be the loser eating alone in the bathroom and WHY, OH WHY everyone in your western civ class knows each other EXCEPT FOR YOU!? It gets better. People really aren’t paying attention to how you look or what you wear. They couldn’t care less whether you know that band or if you’re allowed to see R-rated movies yet. (I know you’re not.) They’re much too fascinated by themselves to really pay that much attention to you.

Cracked Eggsphoto by d. sharon pruitt

9. Learn to cook. I know Mom still makes dinner and that’s all well and good. But when you finally live on your own (you had your own apartment with a queen bed, which was pure awesome, by the way) you’ll want to eat more than pasta and grilled cheese. Besides, cooking is fun. It opens your mind to new flavors and foods. Learn it now and be a pro by the time you’re flying solo.

Tire swingphoto from we heart it

10. Chill out. You know as well as I do that you’re one huge ball of stress. You’re one group project away from an aneurism. Do your best, don’t give up, but pull your head out of your books once in a while. There’s a lot going on out there. Enjoy it while you can.

That’s it. That’s what you need to know.

Love,

Tracey

P.S. My cell phone is more powerful than your current computer.

AND NOW!
Some of you decided to write letters to your teen selves, too. I’m so excited to read these. Check out these letters from the future.

Katie at Peace Be Me posted Dear Self, Then and Now, a post to her past and present self

Teresa at Teresa Tastes & Travels posted Dear Teen Teresa

Shannon at Freshman Year of Life posted Dear Teen Shannon

Maria at Done Dieting posted A Letter to Teen Me

If you blog about it, let me know and Ill post a link to your story. If youd like to write one but dont have a blog, no worries. Leave it in the comments here!

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66 comments

1 Estela @ Weekly Bite { 01.04.11 at 8:31 am }

What a cute post! I wore glasses in high school… I should’ve of embraced it more ;)

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2 Amy @ Second City Randomness { 01.04.11 at 8:40 am }

Dear Teenage Amy,
Don’t start smoking in college. You may have thought it would give you that “misunderstood cool college kid” look. Yeah… it didn’t. It ends up just being a huge money suck and hinders your love of running. Don’t be an idiot.
Thanks,
Amy B the non-smoker

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Tracey Reply:

Ha ha. I love this one!

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3 Anon { 01.04.11 at 8:51 am }

Love, love , love this. Gosh, you are an amazing writer.
I still can’t even decide on a blog name….wonder what that says about me…

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4 Jojo { 01.04.11 at 8:52 am }

The post is beautiful & inspiring. I’m a therapist & I am constantly trying to explain this concept to my female teenage clients; “you will survive & thrive.”

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5 Heather C { 01.04.11 at 10:35 am }

Love this!!!

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6 Nicole, RD { 01.04.11 at 11:08 am }

I love this post! I almost had ice water coming out my nose at:
it’s an online place where your friends update you on what they’re doing at any point in the day and you read it and make comments like “I love pizza too,” and somehow, someway it’s useful and not completely stupid.

Hilarious :)

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Tracey Reply:

Thanks. Honestly, I thought Facebook would never catch on, so I figured Teen Tracey needed a heads up.

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7 Alina @ Duty Free Foodie { 01.04.11 at 11:08 am }

I really enjoyed this letter! Re: enjoy your body, I think part of the awesomeness of something being fine is that you feel like you can afford to take it for granted. I know appreciation of what you have is important and all that, but taking things for granted is its own kind of happiness too, I think. Also:

Dear Teenage Alina,
Be nicer to yourself.
That is all.

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Tracey Reply:

I love yours. Short, sweet, to the point.

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8 Heather @ Side of Sneakers { 01.04.11 at 12:10 pm }

Just another reason why I think you rock.

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9 Susan { 01.04.11 at 12:11 pm }

I love love love this! I especially loved #2, #7, and #10. Good job Adult Tracey!

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10 Shanna, like Banana { 01.04.11 at 12:22 pm }

I was thinking of the same thing today! Writing a letter to my previous self and I would also say, let go about the grades thing and also live it up. Smile more. Be a little reckless. And never settle!

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Tracey Reply:

Oh yes, smile more! Good one.

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11 Dana { 01.04.11 at 12:46 pm }

I LOVE LOVE LOVED this post

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12 Lisa @Thrive Style { 01.04.11 at 1:27 pm }

Great post! I love it—and I wish I could back and give my young self some advice…I could totally have avoided most of my angst if I had just had insights from my older self!
Thanks for the entertaining and insightful post :)

~Lisa

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Tracey Reply:

I know, it’d be a total angst eliminator. But then who’d listen to emo bands?

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13 Ameena { 01.04.11 at 1:39 pm }

If I’d only known then what I know now! But I still have an issue wearing my glasses – must admit that I feel and look like a total nerd. Some people can carry them off and look distinguished and polished – I am NOT one of those people.

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Tracey Reply:

That’s how I felt, too. Celebrities can wear glasses and look elegant. I look like a dork. But finally I got over it. You can totally pull it off!

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14 FoodFitnessFreshair { 01.04.11 at 1:52 pm }

Beautiful post. I’m learning to embrace my glasses as well. They add for a sexy night time look if I do say so myself. Chilling out and un-stressing out is definitely something I’ve been taking on too and finally succeeding in…now I just have to keep myself from becoming lazy!

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15 Lu { 01.04.11 at 1:57 pm }

I absolutely love this post. I would love to have been able to get a letter from the current me. This was a fun, cool post. It made me think about my high school years and appreciate everything I know now.

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16 Maren { 01.04.11 at 2:09 pm }

Very clever. It’s crazy to think about the things the concerned us sooooo much back then and don’t really matter at all anymore. Like having more than two pairs of jeans, or having the finest brands money can buy. I always worried about how people thought I looked (even though I wore sweatpants and no make-up for the majority of hs). At the same time, I didn’t do what everyone wanted me to do, and although I got called “mom” a lot by my friends, I enjoyed being the mature one and I don’t regret it one bit.

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Tracey Reply:

I’m pretty sure no one regrets being the mature one as a teen. I think that helps you avoid a lot of other regrets. :)

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17 Katie { 01.04.11 at 3:10 pm }

I would say #5: Appreciate your body. I would say the same things you said, even to myself a couple of years ago. Drive all over the place, go grocery shopping, go to as many museums as you can, go sightseeing, and never take it for granted!

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Tracey Reply:

I love how you said go grocery shopping. YES!

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Katie Reply:

Hope it’s okay….but I wrote a post about this AND about what I would tell my present self in the future (like looking outside to see the things I still have that are good or should appreciate). It was a really nice reflection for me and kind of got really emotional but made me see things in a different way. It’s not as well-organized as yours but maybe others could think about what advice we could give to our PRESENT selves too?

http://peacebeme.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/dear-self-then-and-now/

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Tracey Reply:

I love that idea! I added it to the post!

18 Maura { 01.04.11 at 3:48 pm }

Something tells me I’ll need to write a letter like this to my 20 something self…I got some time though. The drama is too fresh (and alive) to be able to lecture myself just yet.

Great post.

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Tracey Reply:

You should! Then hide it and bring it out when you’re 40. :)

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19 creativecripple { 01.04.11 at 7:38 pm }

Wow! I so need to do one of these for myself…So many things my teen self needed to know about my future…

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20 nance { 01.04.11 at 8:23 pm }

I love, love, love this post! Maybe there’s a book or movie in this….great idea!

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Tracey Reply:

Thanks. I think there is–mysterious letter from future you…

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21 emma { 01.04.11 at 8:27 pm }

love this! you’re a great writer x

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Tracey Reply:

Thanks, Emma!

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22 Amanda (RunningOnCoffee) { 01.04.11 at 11:01 pm }

Great post!

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23 Hayley { 01.04.11 at 11:35 pm }

This is a beautiful post. I’ve often thought about all the things that I wish I could tell my younger self. A lot of them are on here. I also wish I had stressed less and appreciated my body more for what it could do (and how healthy it was).

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24 Leslie { 01.05.11 at 1:50 am }

Love this post–great job! Agree with some of yours. Here’s mine:

Dear Leslie,

1. Become a journalist. Don’t question it. One day, you’ll actually get paid to do what you love. I know–wow.

2. Learn to be a better swimmer. No seriously. It could make beach trips waaay more fun.

3. Appreciate life’s moments–good, bad, and boring. When you grow up, you’ll realize it all makes you YOU. Cheesy? Yes. But true.

Love,

Leslie

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Tracey Reply:

YES to No. 1. (I think the doubt comes from journalism teachers hammering home how impossible that dream is!)

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Teresa @ Teresa Tastes & Travels Reply:

Number 3 is actually very profound, isn’t it? And the best part? All those moments make for great “can you believe I actually did that?” or “yes, that really happened!” moments with your friends in the future over a bottle of wine.

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25 Karen { 01.05.11 at 9:49 am }

This post is sweet and honest and just perfect! Wouldn’t it be nice if someone had told us these things and we’d actually have listened?? Trouble is, you have to fall a bit to learn what you want your life to be like. And when you’re 16, there’s no way you’d listen to anyone anyway!
Love the part about facebook – hilarious!

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Tracey Reply:

Trouble is, you have to fall a bit to learn what you want your life to be like.

Very, very true.

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26 Natalia@TheHealthScript { 01.05.11 at 9:57 am }

Wow, I really needed to read this! Especially, “You know as well as I do that you’re one huge ball of stress.”

Dear Younger Teenage Natalia (I’m 19 now),
Life goes on. So calm the hell down because ironically life is supposed to be fun.

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Tracey Reply:

Glad I’m not the only one who was overstressed as a kid. Although I hear it’s becoming more and more common…

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27 Kristina @ life as kristina { 01.05.11 at 10:31 am }

Love this post! And your blog! Wish someone would have said”dear teen kristina-that boy is dumb, you aren’t going to marry him!”

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Tracey Reply:

I like that one. (I suppose there will be plenty of Dear So-And-So, that boy’s a dork but you’re going to marry him some day. :) )

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28 Shannon @ Freshman Yr of Life { 01.05.11 at 10:45 am }

Omg just found this link from @caitlinhtp on twitter. Love it. Love your blog. Will keep reading :)

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Tracey Reply:

Thanks for stopping over and reading!

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29 Che' @ Knight at the Restaurant { 01.05.11 at 11:11 am }

LOVE!!!

A few things…

1. That boy isn’t worth your tears. You’ll meet a much nicer one some day.

2. Acne comes and goes, but nice teeth are forever. Wear that lip bumper proudly, and always floss.

3. Enjoy sleep while you can.

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Tracey Reply:

I second #3. Definitely. :)

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30 Andrea @ CanYouStayForDinner.com { 01.05.11 at 12:35 pm }

This is absolutely perfect. Best post I’ve read in a very long time. You are amazing.

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31 Becca { 01.05.11 at 1:17 pm }

I found this through Twitter, too, and absolutely love it! :)

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Tracey Reply:

So glad you found it and stopped by!

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32 Dear Teen Teresa | Teresa Tastes & Travels { 01.05.11 at 2:30 pm }

[...] post was inspired by Tracy. I can’t imagine how awesome it would have been to really have received this when I was, say, [...]

33 Teresa @ Teresa Tastes & Travels { 01.05.11 at 2:33 pm }

This was truly awesome! Thanks for this post! And as per your request in today’s post, here’s the link where I wrote a letter to teen Teresa (but she’s really, REALLY stubborn so she probably won’t listen anyway)…

http://teresatastes.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/dear-teen-teresa/

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Tracey Reply:

Oh, Teen Tracey is super stuborn, too. I should have sent a swift kick in the shin along with my letter.

Also, a link to your post is up!

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Teresa @ Teresa Tastes & Travels Reply:

Thanks! This really is an interesting exercise. Me thinks you have the beginnings of a book pitch here (Think: longitudinal study in growing understanding of “self”) . :D

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Tracey Reply:

With that book title, me thinks you have the making of a book here. ;)

34 charlotte { 01.06.11 at 12:31 am }

I love it!! Could you please ‘cc my teenage self on this one too? My fave one was “You’re fine.” (And my fave pic was the your/you’re one!!)

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Tracey Reply:

I would like to tape that Your/You’re photo above my husband’s computer. The guy drives me nuts with his grammar. Glad you liked the post. :)

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35 Heather C { 01.06.11 at 4:43 pm }

Dear Teen Heather:

1) At some point you are going to have to let go of perfection. Everything is not either perfectly perfect or total crap. Halfway there is okay sometimes.

2) Your thighs are fine……………….seriously, get over it.

3) Get it through your head that when a boy asks you out, it really does mean that he kind of likes you. Think how much time this one will free up for you to obsess over other things (not your thighs though).

4) Wear sunscreen. It turns out you are not as okay with aging as your current self thinks you will be.

Love a much older, and wrinkly version of yourself who still sometimes questions those darn thighs.

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Tracey Reply:

I love this, Heather!

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36 Wei-Wei { 01.07.11 at 2:32 am }

Dear Teen Wei-Wei,
You need to chill out. It’s going to be fine. And stop trying to grow up so fast. You’re going to miss being 15.
Love, 15-year-old Wei-Wei

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Tracey Reply:

Love this. Yes, slow down and enjoy your teen years!!

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37 Tori @ FIToriBLOG.com { 01.11.11 at 9:38 pm }

I love these!! And, I love the pics too! I’m a picture girl! :)

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Tracey Reply:

Thanks, Tori. WeHeartIt.com has some awesome photos. But be prepared to spend at least an hour browsing.

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38 Coco { 05.12.11 at 8:59 pm }

Hi, I just found your blog and this post makes me laugh loud! So glad to find another dc blogger! :)

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