A Letter To My 16-Year-Old Self

A Letter To My 16-Year-Old Self

I am your future who currently is traveling around Southeast Asia. Please don’t be disappointed on how you turned out to be me. Sweetheart, I know you had a lot of goals you wanted to achieve and traveling is not one of those. I’m sorry. I realized that those goals are not the goals that I wanted to achieve now. We might disagree with this, but you were materialistic. I know you have a good heart, but you got caught up living to your society’s expectation.

I want to tell you that you’re a minimalistic now, that all your life’s possession is in a 40 liters backpack. You still love the color pink, but it’s not as crazy as it used to be. I’m sorry to tell you about that. You usually wear black clothes now, and you learn to wash your clothes every after you take a bath because you only have seven shirts, two pants and one short.

You didn’t have to be hard on yourself and not think about pleasing the world. You should have loosened up a bit more and just live your life the way you want it. Remember, you cannot please everybody. I know we’ve been through a lot (of bad and good times), but I wish you were able to live your life the way I do now.

It is a different world out here, nowhere near being easy and comfortable but I get to experience new things. Things that if I did just stay in my comfort zone, I would never experience. I remember how you did not even taste or try alcohol or cigarettes. You were admirable for being responsible. Look, I seldom drink now but no worries, I do not smoke and would never smoke. I know it’s not good for the health. And slowly, I am learning to eat just everything. Even vegetables. Eating vegetables do not mean you’re a goat!

I know you kept yourself from flirting as you’re too introvert and shy around guys. But hey, flirting is fun at times! It sucks that I only got to enjoy it recently. Kidding! Yah, we both know that we’re late bloomers. And believe me, going to bars and having drinks is not that bad either.

Remember when you told yourself that you’re never going to work at housekeeping – changing bedsheets, picking and throwing up trash? Much more to work in a bar? Or even work at a call center thinking it’s a waste of your university degree? I did all those. Working at a hostel or bar is fulfilling. And it saves me on accommodation and food budget. People in the BPO industry are smart, and some even hold a university degree. And working in a call center does not always means you’re a customer agent, there’s a lot of work outside of that.

I know you always wanted to do charity works and even build a foundation. Sweetheart, you don’t have to have a lot of money to help. All you need to have is a passionate heart.

READ: To My 27-Year-Old Self, This is How Travel Changed Your Life

Sweetheart, you might be wondering what happened to me now. I’m sorry to tell you, at 26 I’m not yet married, no post-graduate degree, no stable job, no house, no car, no savings, not anywhere you expected me to be.

Please don’t feel too upset. I want you to know that even without all of those, I am happier now and more of being myself. Every once in a while I look back at you and check if you’re proud of me or if you can accept the fact that I threw away all your dreams and decided to pursue mine.

There will be times that I am struggling, trying to re-evaluate the choices I made. Looking back, three or six months ago, I will still choose this path with no regrets at all. Although my everyday life is unknown and I move from one place to another every week or two, I do not have any regrets. I love the adventure and the unknown it has. Sweetheart, I want you to know that life is not as easy as it can be. Doing things according to plan is only significant if it can give you a sense of fulfillment or happiness.

We might be in different path now, but I can tell you that I am now in sync with our present self. Don’t worry, I am still as strong as you are, if not stronger. I am more mature, adventurous, and independent. I am doing what I love to do, traveling and meeting new people, understanding different cultures, eating different foods, and accepting everything that comes on my way.

My life now is the life that I want. I don’t have regrets will all the decisions I make to live this kind of life. I may be living my life outside of my comfort zone and sometimes struggling, but being outside of your comfort zone and struggles are beautiful. They give you a sense of humanity or just even a sense.

I still worry when I think about familiarity and being comfortable, but I can tell you that I am a lot happier now. Traveling and meeting new people help me a lot. Mind you, I got a lot of friends now from different races, and different part o the world. Friends, that you never make yourselves when you’re in school.

Sorry for not doing the things that you dreamed of. Dreams can change. So as goals and plans. Rest assured that I won’t let ourselves grow old without them. We both are dreamers and dreams are free, so why not take advantage of it?

Life is beautiful out here. It is not perfect, but it’s wonderful. Forgive yourself for being too righteous and too stiff. I am going to take over from here. This is your future – a carefree, adventurous and independent one.

I wish you may accept the fact that I am living another life now.

I love you, and I hope you still love me, too.

Your future self at a current time,

Sheena at 26


A Letter to my 16-Year Old Self




If you’re going to write a letter to your younger self, what would you tell him or her? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about it!


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