A Letter To My Teenage Self: 20 Things I Know You Need | by Jane Kareem

Hello baby girl,

It’s such a pleasure to have lived your life so far. It is a special one.

Here are some tips I’ve gathered for you from this point in your life. I really would do anything to actually have it delivered to you from here.

Anyway, here you go:

1. Perfectionism is a scam

It definitely sounds like a lie to you, but it is the truth. I know you take pride in how much detail you put in your work, how you go the extra mile to get things right, how much you detest mistakes but these mistakes are part of life. Accept them. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Don’t you see it’s limiting just how much you can achieve? Live through them. You’ll come out better.

2. Everyone seems to know what they want except you. Trust me, they don’t

They think they do, some actually do, but most of them don’t. And for you, there’s no rush. You’ll be fine. I know how it makes you crazy not being able to figure everything out right now, but your eureka moment is coming, so hold on.

3. It seems like you’re living a pretty boring life…

You spend most of your time indoors, your movements are so predictable – church, school, home. Actually, it is kind of boring but it only bothers you because you’re looking at it in the light of things that other people do that seem exciting, but this is who you are. Take pleasure in your solitude.

4. You really don’t have to be strong all by yourself

Reach out to someone, talk to them. I know you don’t want them to see you as weak or flawed, but if only you knew how much harm you’re doing to yourself, you would reach out. It’s hard to do when even in your reluctance you did it, but it didn’t turn out the way you wanted. Still, don’t keep shut. Seek help.

5. You cannot please everyone, so stop trying

You will only end up hurting yourself and others too. It’s good to want to ‘be at peace’ with everyone but it’s kind of impossible because really, not everyone will like you.

6. You’re smart, but you’re young

No matter how much you try to avoid it, you will make mistakes and there isn’t much you can do about it honestly. There’s a lot of foolishness you display right now that you don’t see, but don’t worry you will outgrow it.

7. You’re not weird for not being materialistic or being so into money

The time is coming when it will pay off.

8. Feed your curiosity

It’s a good thing, a really good thing.

9. Stop worrying

Stop it right now – about how you look, about how others see you, about your parents, your siblings, school, boys… just stop worrying. It won’t change anything.

10. You’re a strong strong girl

Not many people know since you won’t share your struggles anyway.

11. Hold on to God

You might not know much about Him now and I know you’re doing all you can to know Him better, keep at it. I also know that you try to please Him in your own way which is funny, now that I think of it, but hold on to Him. You’ll find what you seek.

12. Start reading now

I mean right now. Academic books, non-academic books… start now!

13. Do a little more research on this school matter

JAMB is a trash organisation and the education system in Nigeria is messed up, very messed up. Just make sure you research the school thing better.

14. You know how easy it is for you to let things that hurt you go but also amazingly hard to give up on what you really want?

It’s good. Keep it up. Don’t let anyone take that from you.

15. Trust God

Trust mum. Trust dad. They know better and they love you.

16. And you see those adults telling you that being in a relationship as a teen is a sin?

They’re lying. I know how much you would love to hear that. You most likely scrolled down to find this very tip. Lol. Anyway, it’s not a sin, but they’re not exactly wrong either. This will burst your bubble but it is the truth. What they really mean is, that should not be your priority right now and it’s hard to understand, plus those feelings don’t agree.

It feels so right to make this choice even though you don’t understand it but I’m here to tell you that that decision to stay single as a teenager is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. You’ll look back and be really pleased that you went through with it.

Sweetheart, you’ll survive the crushes. It will be hard, but you will. Lol.

17. You’re a good friend.

Stay that way. The quality of some of your friendships right now will slowly fade, some will crumble abruptly, and some will grow beautifully. Some friendships last for some seasons, but it’s just life. You just keep being the good, loyal friend that you are.

18. Those fights with your siblings are part of life

You will enjoy talking and laughing about them later.

19. When you know what you want…

Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Go after it doggedly.

20. Kill that fear now

Both fear of the known and the unknown. It will be your biggest weakness in making some major decisions. Kill it now!

With love,

Your 20 year old self.

Jane Kareem
Jane Kareem


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