Dear Teen Me
Yes, that’s me. I’m on the left there with the insane shoulder pads and carefully curled and hair-sprayed bangs. This was probably about 1992 at my high school band banquet. (I was an unapologetic band geek.) When I heard about the Dear Teen Me project, I thought it was a great idea. I think that anyone who has lived through the high school years has some advice they wish they had either been given or listened to. What I wasn’t expecting was how emotional this book of letters would be. I think I found myself in every single piece and more than once I found myself getting choked up by some of the eloquent and heartbreaking words about navigating the difficult teen years. It wasn’t that the letters were all sad, though of some of them were, but it was the realization that my experience wasn’t too different the experiences of people from every age and background.
There are letters about being ok with not knowing exactly who you are or what you want to be:
|“Life isn’t about finding the one thing you’re good at and never doing anything else; it’s about exploring yourself and finding out who you really are on your own terms and in your own way.”– Stephanie Pellegrin|
There are letters that celebrate the value of failure:
|“Because now, so many years later, you can barely remember your victories (although there were some), What you think about now are the high-wire acts, the epic fails, and the punishing jeers of your classmates. You think about how excellent it is that you got up, dusted yourself off, and with utter seriousness of purpose, tried again.” – Geoff Herbach|
I found the letters about body image to be particularly powerful:
|“Look for a place where you don’t constantly compare yourself to everyone else around you. Remember who you are. And remember why you are awesome.” – P.J. Hoover|
Dear Teen Me would obviously be a great choice for a teen. I think that I would have loved reading these in high school. Knowing that you are not alone in your feelings is such an empowering experience. However, I also think that this book is great for adults. I immediately started thinking about the letter I would write to myself, and in doing that, realized that some of that advice could probably be given, and taken, today. I could quote from this collection all day because every letter is full of such beautiful honesty. This project is powerful, entertaining and an interesting read. If you don’t read it, I hope you will buy a copy for the teen in your life.
|“These days may not be the best of your life, but like it or not, these days will define you. Live them.” – Katherine Longshore|