Here’s a personal thing about me: when I was a teenager and younger I would sometimes find relief from my turmoil by daydreaming that my future self was visiting me to tell me everything would be fine. My future self was beautiful and healthy and told me everything would all turn out okay, and that I would be happy after all. All the details weren’t sorted out, but it was a way for me to give myself a sense of well-being.

I’m 30 now and everything’s not perfect, but I’m now a million miles away from the horrifying acute distress known as being a teen. What with the hormones, feeling new feelings for the first time, and having young, stupid brains (and in my case, a predisposition for depression and anxiety) it’s a miracle anyone makes it to adulthood. In college I had a professor tell my freshman class that we were all survivors because we hadn’t killed ourselves. It sounded kind of harsh, and I think some were offended, but I was thinking “good point!” When you’re a teenager, no matter how good your life is, it can sometimes feel like dangling on the edge of a cliff by a fingernail with people throwing rocks at your face. Sometimes you feel suicidal, and other times you just do stupid things that put your life in danger, and it’s a wonder any of us make it through.

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self things, and in a way, with my fantasies and daydreams, I already have. I don’t think it’s healthy to dwell on regrets and think of all the mistakes I could have prevented with my hindsight knowledge. What happened happened, and part of what happened is that I comforted myself in the moment with a vision of my future self.

I asked my Twitter followers what they would tell their former selves, and here’s what they said. They’re all gems:







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