10 Years Old: If you do anything at all this year besides avoiding math, beg your parents for Spanish lessons before you age out of the critical period for language learning. Your present-day self will thank you (gracias!).
11 Years Old: You’re not responsible for anyone else besides yourself, no matter how much you love someone and want the best for them. You can’t change anyone else and it’s not your job to fix them. Be the best human you can be and take responsibility for your life and only your life.
12 Years Old: Stop being in such a rush to grow up. Getting your period isn’t going to turn you into a woman overnight, and FYI, it’s also really annoying. Have fun being a kid while you can. Also, your boobs aren’t going to get much bigger. Don’t get mad at them. It’s not their fault.
13 Years Old: Enjoy the close bond you have with your best friends, but don’t make it your source of stability. Don’t idolize anyone else or envy what they have. Be grateful to do life with them, but never let anyone else cast you in a supporting role in your own story.
14 Years Old: Pursue your dreams with passion. Don’t let anyone tell you they’re silly or won’t amount to anything. Even if you don’t decide to make a career out of it, you’ll end up with a really cool hobby or skill. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s too hard.
15 Years Old: Again about the best friend thing. Live your own life and don’t try to control anyone else’s. If your friend chooses a boy over you, it’s her teenage, hormone-fueled loss. Don’t be afraid to reach out to new people.
16 Years Old: There’s nothing wrong with you, I promise, so stop beating yourself up for not being the most popular person in your friend circle. Your personality is unique, rare, and frankly, a little hard to understand, which is why the people who love you love you so darn much. The right people will be attracted to you so stop judging yourself. No one else is.
17 Years Old: Again about the dreams thing. Explore the world, fight for your passions and be the best human you can be. Your dreams are only limited by the work you’re willing to put in to make them come true, so hustle hard and ignore the haters.
18 Years Old: I know you’re lonely, but please don’t date that boy. I know he seems like a knight in shining armor coming to save you from your low self-esteem, but it’s not true. Also, your suspicion that you’re cuter and smarter than him is absolutely correct. Follow your gut and save your heart.
19 Years Old: Again about the nothing is wrong with you thing. Let me repeat; THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. Sometimes people don’t want to be friends because they already have all the relationships they want. Sometimes they’re shallow. Sometimes it’s bad timing. Just know that appearing to be a good friend to other people doesn’t mean they’ll be a good friend to you. And that’s ok.
20 Years Old: I know you’re lonely, but please don’t accept that boy’s proposal. You’ll waste far more time cleaning up his messes than you’ve already invested in him. Don’t let anyone, especially a boy, pressure you into a relationship you know isn’t right for you.
21 Years Old: Ok, you got rid of the boy – oops, there he is again. It doesn’t matter what he wants for your life if it doesn’t match up with what you want for your life. Also, don’t let anyone dominate your time when you have important, life-building work to do, even if he swears he’s your soulmate.
22 Years Old: Seriously, about the boy: if he wants to leave, let him. Don’t try and make him stay because you finally made up your mind that you can tolerate him. Don’t ever, ever, ever beg anyone to take you back, especially when they’re “talking” to someone else. If he can’t see your worth, he’s blind. Also, full disclosure: he’s banging that chick and lying about it. You’ll find out four months before your wedding.
23 Years Old: Don’t punish yourself for anyone else’s mistakes. Don’t blame yourself for someone else’s decisions. Don’t tell yourself there was something you could have done better to make them choose differently. You can’t change or fix people. If you’re being the best human you can be and they still can’t appreciate it, they’re unnecessary in your life.