27 June 2010

list twenty: things I'd like to tell my 17 year-old self



1. you are not fat.

2. he is not The One. it will seem like he is, but he is not.

3. you do not have to smile for every single picture.

4. you are not going to believe this but you do not know everything. also, your parents are right. about soooo many things.

5. your studio art class will spend a whole quarter on photography. pay better attention.

6. that little 110 camera you love so much is a total piece of crap. people call it a toy camera now but really, it's crap. beg your parents to buy you an old used 35mm SLR. then shoot roll after roll after roll of film. and throw out the flash.

7. remember how good it feels to do a back handspring. in a few years, that skill will be long gone.

8. diet coke is not the answer.

9. do not listen to the people who tell you you cannot be a dancer because you don't have enough training, didn't start early enough and don't have the right body. more specifically, do not listen to that teacher who tells you to eat only saltine crackers for a week in order to drop a few pounds. in a few years, you'll discover modern dance and your world will crack wide open. suddenly, ballet will seem like a stupid idea and everything else will make sense. you will go on to do things you were told you could not do. and it will feel spectacular.

10. you know that awesome color photobooth at the kmart two minutes from your house? visit it regularly.

11. you're going to get a letter from that girl you stood up for in P.E. class. you thought what you did didn't really mean anything to her but it did, it really did. her letter will make you cry and you will be glad you took on the mean girls.

12. wear anything you want. because you can.

13. enjoy the widespread availability of polaroid film.

14. keep writing. keep writing. keep writing.

15. do not wear those vintage spectator pumps to that choir competition. your left heel will get caught in the crack of the risers and you will inadvertently flip it several feet into the air. it will land with a dull thud right in front of the table of judges and you will be forced to walk (one shoe on, one shoe off) in front of hundreds of people to the center of the gymnasium to retrieve it. you will not die from the embarrassment. but you will want to.

16. for pete's sake, take that typing class.

17. and when your mom offers to teach you how to sew, do not blow her off.

18. do not stop writing letters to your french penpal.

19. your hunch about vintage clothing was right on. stock up now before thrift stores everywhere are sucked dry by the masses.

20. make grandma corrona teach you how to make her bread. she will tell you it's nothing, that it's just ordinary bread but you will eventually come to realize that it is, in fact, the best bread in the world.

21. take bigger risks. because I promise, you really will regret it if you don't.

22. the boys, they are not worth it.

23. you really don't need all that black eyeliner. really.

24. and while we're on the subject, beware of all cosmetic counter makeovers.

25. you are never going to find that party on graduation night. you and your friend michelle will drive around for hours and hours and find yourselves in the middle of nowhere at three in the morning. you will feel a little scared but even worse, you will feel stupid. this is so not the way to spend graduation night. and so not the memory you will want to have.

26. do not slather yourself with baby oil and lay out on foil mats. furthermore, wear sunscreen. ALL. THE. TIME.

27. your dad is totally right about that whole time thing. twenty years, gone. just like that.

28. seriously, you are not fat.

(twenty down, thirty-two to go)

109 comments:

  1. My favourite yet. You are an awesome human being.

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  2. i absolutely love this!
    as a 17 yr old myself it's made me realise i should probably look at my life now and think about making the right choices (:

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  3. I love this list. I too, have many things I'd like to tell my 17 year-old self, I think we all do.

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  4. Going to chime in and say this list is fantastic!

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  5. Brilliant!
    Many thanks...
    ;o)
    - Lee

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  6. I love the list too .... but tell me. Would the 17-yr-old you listen?
    ;-)
    ==lennie==

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  7. i just found your blog and i'm so happy i did.
    i kinda cried a little reading this and i totally love it.

    if only i could back...

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  8. i often thought about making this too, but then...i'd probably never make those huge mistakes that brought me to this point in my life (that i love so so much...). well...i said probably, right?

    it is so great, though!
    i laughed out loud and i read few of them to my family too. :)

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  9. I've been having conversations between my current thirty-something year-old self and my imagined ninety year-old self in the hopes of making good decisions that matter in the big picture. They sound a lot like this list.

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  10. Andrea
    this is genius and so funny, I made me laugh out loud to remember the very similar feelings I had as a 17 year old! I may even be inspired enough to write my own list!
    Thank you,
    Emma ;0)

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  11. Aww, what a great list. I'm laughing about the shoe - good grief! A great photo - beautiful.

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  12. agreed. this list is wonderful. i got all swirled up inside reading it. how do you come up with your list topics?

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  13. This is so the best of all those "notes to younger self" things floating around.

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  14. this is amazing. i'm going to have to come up with a list of things now for my 17 year old self.

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  15. oh so many of these i could have written myself. perfect.

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  16. Magically put. That list could have been to me. Thank you for your wonderful lists.

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  17. you make me feel so much better. always.

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  18. This is really inspiring. I may have to try and make my own list for my birthday-- I'll be 27 this week, it seems fitting!

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  19. This is fantastic. Seriously. I should write a list to my own 17 year old self. And then write one to my 37 year-old self. :)

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  20. so so good. i could say very many of the same things to my seventeen year old self...

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  21. you forgot to tell yourself you are beautiful..

    (you are so special - such a great post)! i feel the same way about my grandma's bread....what were we thinking?

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  22. wow, best list ever!!! thank you so much for sharing! haha, totally had the same revelation about modern dance too! -trisha

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  23. A beautiful list... we should all take the time to reflect on our former and future selves in this way.

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  24. great list! there are def a number of things i'd tell my 17 yr old self...

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  25. That list is fantastic, if only we could. I found a diary that I wrote when I was 16 and it was appalling how much time I spent worrying about my weight.

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  26. This may be my all time favorite of your lists and that is saying something because I love a lot of them.

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  27. Wear sunscreen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI

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  28. i gotta write my 17 year-old self a similar letter. that had to be very cathartic. (sp?) I wish she could hear me. -Zo

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  29. Kinda like the book 'What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self,' but better. Much better. Love it!

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  30. I keep coming back to read this again - so great.

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  31. This is so beautiful!
    I wish someone gave me a list like this when I was 17.

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  32. oh girl. i wish i was that wise when i was 17. my advice - because now i know - (i'll be 30 in some weeks)- stick to your point 21! believe me. just do it. ;-)

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  33. This put a lump in my throat and a smile on my face. Very, very thought provoking, too. - Kathy

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  34. is it weird that i read this with tears and chills (esp. for #9). beautiful. thank you.

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  35. this is truly a beautiful idea. probably my favourite list yet.

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  36. wow, this is one of my favorite list of yours !

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  37. I wonder what I'll want to tell my 29 year-old self when I and 50. A wonderful perspective on life. Thanks for this, Andrea.

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  38. tears, andrea.
    full on crying sobbing tears...in a good way.
    thank you, my friend.
    you are amazing* * * * *

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  39. What a great list. Got me thinking about what I'd tell my 17-year-old self...thanks for posting another awesome one!

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  40. I'm so inspired to write to my 17-year-old self now. Maybe even my 27-year-old self. Yes, definitely her. She really needs to hear it.

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  41. You are one special lady.

    I needed to lighten up on the eyeliner too.

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  42. dang!! this is so amazing. now the only question do i have the courage to write my own letter to my 17 year old self.

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  43. i turned 28 last month and have my 10yr HS reunion coming up next month and i have totally been thinking about all of the things i wish i could tell my 17 yr-old self. i can relate to SO many of yours - the fat thing, the diet coke (for me it was diet dr pepper), i was a gymnast who would have to weigh in once a week before i could compete... andrea this is my favorite list yet. thank you for being so honest. *LOVE* thanks for posting this! XO

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  44. This could, quite possibly, be the best post I've ever read. Thank you!

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  45. so inspiring! love this. would love to think about what i'd tell my 17 year old self.

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  46. Very powerful words.
    Made me cry.

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  47. Yep, yep, and yep! Thanks for this.

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  48. beautiful, touching, honest...
    what a lovely introduction to your blog, which I had the pleasure to explore today.

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  49. i really love this list! and it makes me want to make one (even though 17 was only 7 years ago...but still...so much changes in 7 years.) Totally inspiring. Love it so much!

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  50. so good Andrea.
    you are a beautiful person (then and NOW).
    thank you for your words, your inspiration and for being you.

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  51. I loved this list also. I could have written a few of the same things to my 17 year old self.

    I wonder in another 15+years what I would be writing to my 33 year old self.

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  52. thanks for this. it was fun to read, and made me think about all the things i would have loved to hear from my future self too! love your blog!

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  53. Beautiful. It made me think of so many things I would need to tell myself at seventeen.

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  54. This is such a beautiful and touching post. Even one of the best I've seen lately!

    Thank you for sharing!

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  55. I just found your blog through "ramblins..." and this list is wonderful. I haven't ever thought back on the things that I would tell younger self, but now I think I'm going to. Seems like a good exercise. Thanks for sharing!

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  56. So wonderful! This made me smile and give myself a little hug. Life would be so different if we actually had just a few things figured out when we were 17.

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  57. we can't hear advice from our future selves because without all of our ridiculous mistakes, our future selves wouldn't be who they are.

    (this is an amazing post)

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  58. I'm late but this was beautiful.
    I don't know if I could write a letter to my teenage self... but I loved reading yours.

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  59. Read this while listening to part of the LOST soundtrack and it made me tear up a little bit. Beautiful letter to your 17 year old self.

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  60. this is so great! i agree with everyone - could completely, utterly relate :) thank you!

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  61. This was such a touching list! I'm inspired!

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  62. This is probably the most inspiring post I have read in a long time. Seriously. The things I have would told my 17 year-old self, heck, 14 cause high school was/is difficult.

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  63. amazing, fantastic, beautiful list/post. so many things that are still relevant to me at 24.

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  64. OMG, I am crying. That was amazing. Im such a sap. xoxo Aimee

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  65. LOVE no.11

    That comment alone makes being a good person worthwhile. Even though its not for me.

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  66. Adore the list. I just read it again for the second time out loud to my 15 year old daughter. We loved it, we are going to get out the old 35 m. camera out, never did have a flash that I know of.

    Thank you for the sweet moments I had with my daughter today thanks to you precious list.

    ;)

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  67. This was amazing. I read it three times :)
    - Brianna Phelan

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  68. There are so many things I'd like to say to "that me" but I think if I could tell me those things, I wouldn't, because that would ruin the surprise. Here are a couple though because you got me thinking about them:

    1. You will go out with that boy you like...but just once. But don't worry, you'll see him again...in France...with your husband. It will be awkward for all of you. But you'll laugh from deep in your belly every time you think about it.

    2. Just calm down

    3. Your unsure about these new friends, but get used to them, they're gonna be around for a long time.

    4. Don't be afraid to cut your hair.


    Ok, that's it...but I'm definitely gonna make this list on my own blog. Thanks for the inspiration...and you're totally right about the sunscreen.

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  69. Wow, you were a beautiful seventeen year old!!

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  70. LOVE THIS!!! had me laughing, weeping and nodding enthusiastically all at the same time.

    I was the same. When I was 17 I really thought I knew everything. Howl.

    I'm with you on the polaroid film stocking up. Man, we'd be zillionaires.

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  71. you are amazing. this list is awesome.

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  72. absolutely love. thank you.

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  73. Can I just say this again... you're the coolest girl on the internet. I love the things you think of. I'm so glad you exist.

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  74. I didn't think this was going to be my favorite--until I read it!! LOL. Perfect list.

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  75. What a wonderful list! I'm turning 41 (how did that happen?) later this month, and so much of your advice would easily apply to my 17-year-old self too... but I'm sure that's pretty true for anyone who was once a teenage girl. Just be glad that it didn't take you until you were 71 to realize the important things in your life.
    (PS: I'm a newbie to your blog, and so glad to be here!)

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  76. the first and the last things are exactly what i most wish i knew at 17...maybe i would have not been on a diet for the next 20 years and maybe i would have learned to appreciate my young bod :).

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  77. What a great list w/ so much wisdom throughout.

    P.S. It's tough being 17 (I don't think I'd ever want to be 17 again).

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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  78. stumbled upon your beautiful blog. love this list. really really love it.

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  79. What a Great and thoughtful list. Love it!
    And then I saw your beautiful Polaroids. LOVE THOSE TOO!
    You sound like an awesome person.

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  80. I wish someone had told me number 9 then and again a few years later and then a few more years after that.

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  81. How very lovely...and true.

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  82. I am so going to do this...I love this...thanks so much for sharing..you made me cry :)

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  83. this is so inspiring. it actually made me tear up. it's all SO true! thanks for sharing. i may have to create my own version for my daughters to read one day.

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  84. You have connected, you have touched our souls! Isn't it funny how we all thought some of the same old things? If only we could do some things over, or better, or at all.

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  85. wow. I just came across your blog and this post touched me in such a deep way. I'm sitting here wiping away tears because not only can I identify with your 17 year old advice, but also just how specifically some of them mirrored my own life. I had a dance teacher that nearly crushed my spirit. I wish that I had had the guts to tell her to go to you know where. I'm not sure if I will publish my own list, but either way I wanted to thank you for touching my heart so deeply.

    Hugs from Denmark!

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  86. This is AWESOME and inspirational. Thank you! :)

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  87. This is great. I might need to make a list like this myself... maybe we all should, seems like it really teaches you something about yourself, huh?

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  88. this. list. rocks. especially since I my hs friends and I are celebrating our 25 yrs this weekend. I may have to print this out to share it at Girl's Night Out tomorrow before the all alumns night this weekend.. thank you!!

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  89. first time visiting you blog and i love that this post is my initiation. it's fantastic.

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  90. such a wonderful list. should be read by 17 year-olds everywhere. awesome.

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  91. Oh, so lovely! I came over here after reading a list of same name at I saw you dancing.
    I wish my seventeen year old self had know about the fat thing too. Bless her. It took fifteen or so years and a foray into disordered eating for that song to stop playing in my head. It's gone now.

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  92. Thank you for sharing this, I'm sure there are a couple things that each of us could take from your list and tell our own 17 year old selves :)

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  93. This is SO wonderful....the things we would tell our 17-year-old selves, I mean, REALLY, there's SO MUCH I would tell myself! You nailed this!

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  94. wowza! this takes my breath away.

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  95. this made my day...week...month.
    perfection.

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  96. wonderful.
    (and also stuff to
    tell myself
    now)

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