Home > Daily Special

Dear 14

Today’s guest post is brought to us by Jenny Eckton. Jenny is the mother of six children: five alive, and one in heaven. She grew up in New York but now calls Utah home. Her likes include laundry, going to dinner with friends, being organized, making her husband laugh, and the fact that her kids now walk to school. Her dislikes include writing her own bio. She blogs at formerly phread. Thanks Jenny!

Dear 14-year-old Me,

Hey. It’s me (you) here, and we’re 31 now. I know as well as you do that you won’t take to heart what I have to say here, but I can’t get it off my mind, so I’m going to tell you anyway: Don’t worry so much. It will all work out.

Let me tell you something funny that happened a few weeks ago. I went to Draper (oh, you live in Provo now, and have for quite some time—weird, I know) for a wedding open house, and guess who was there: Josh. I’m not kidding. See, he’ll move back to Utah in a few short years, and other than once when he visits New York for a funeral, this is the next time you’ll see him. What’s interesting is that—and here’s where I doubt you’ll believe me—you haven’t thought of him in well over a decade. He looks the same, only older. He has been married, divorced, and married again, and he said he has five kids. He met his current wife playing softball. We didn’t talk too terribly much, but he did mention something about a turtle; I had no idea what he was talking about until my memory did a quick scan and all I could remember was that there was an inside joke involving… a turtle? That’s when I knew I had to write to you, because I know that it’s all you’re thinking about right now. Can you believe that you won’t even remember the details later?!?

Like I said, I know you’ll listen but won’t really hear what I’m saying to you right now. And I’m not here to play fortune teller. Oh, how I wish to warn you! I want to tell you who to stay away from, and what to do, or more importantly what NOT to do. But I won’t. And the main reason for this is: I like you. Me. I love and like us. Everything we’ve gone through has brought us to this point, has added to the experience. It’s what’s made us, me.

I made you a promise, over and over, that as an adult I wouldn’t forget what it was like to be a kid, to be a teenager, to have all the angst, and no one on your side. I’ve done my best to remember, and in that vein I’m making a new promise, which is to apply those memories in dealing with our kids (hint to whet your appetite: at LEAST one daughter who is EXACTLY LIKE US).

As a final send-off, just a few vague reminders and things I’d appreciate you working on for me over the next several years: Be nicer. Exercise. Continue writing. Don’t doubt yourself.

(Heh heh…who are we kidding?)

22 thoughts on “Dear 14”

  1. So sweet! I love this. I wish I'd written a letter to my adult self when I was 14. I would like to remind myself a little of the teen passion and hopeful exuberance I exhibited at that age.

  2. When I was 13, I had to write a letter to my 18 year-old self for a class project. It was so funny to open it when I was 18 and read things like "I hope you are still friends with . . . " and a long list ensued of people I hadn't talked to probably since I had written the letter. It's all for the better.

    If only (like sue-d) said, I could have written a letter to myself at 14, telling myself to chill out a little. Oh well.

  3. What a great letter!

    I think I want my 60 year old self to write a letter to me now. Even though I've chilled WAY out since 14, it would still probably tell me to chill even more.

  4. I'm going through a bitter period right now. Id be tempted to tell my 14 year-old self not to make any of the choices that I have actually made.

    And that, yes, 14-year-old-me, you do have a great body!

  5. woah, I can't even think about my 14 year old self. My head starts swirling and I have visions of my own children using the same warped logic and priority setting I used. It makes me want to go to bed.

  6. Funny! I do have some close friends still that I've known since I was fourteen. What do I wish I would have known? Probably to live it up . . .sheesh life does just get harder. Those grown-ups weren't kidding. I'm also glad that my optimism of 14 year old self hasn't been totally shattered. Life is still pretty good.

  7. Great post Jenny.

    Remembering my 13-year-old self really helped me get through a long stint as Beehive advisor and later 2nd counselor to the YW president a few years back, especially as I had 24 Beehives.

    I need to write a letter to my…ahem… forty-something self and tell her to quit looking in the mirror every day and saying, "You're such a geek!"

  8. Dear Jenny at 14,

    Tell your brother he's a nerd. Also tell him that pink isn't really his color. Oh, and thank you for taking him to church. I owe you one.

    yours truly


  9. Sending my kids off to school has me thinking back to those days. (wrote a post about it today) I would have told myself to be more confident- That when you're uncomfortable chances are everyone else is too. Why did I have to wait until my 20s to figure that out?

  10. Oh, I love this. I wasted so much time crushing on boys I barely remember. Of course, my 14 (15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20) year old self would never in a million years listen.

    If I could write a letter to my teenage self it would be full of advice my mom never gave me – things like, "for heaven's sake, pluck your eyebrows," and "Don't wear Disneyland sweatshirts to high school," and "there's a reason that haircut only cost your $12." If I'd only known then what I know now, high school would have been SO DIFFERENT.

  11. I love this post. And if I were to write a letter to myself, I would tell myself to quit being scared that people were going to be mean to me and just be kind anyway.

  12. I'm havin' my (almost) twelve year old read this. i think she'd get it. it could be a nice insight to have as she approaches the teen years.

    very well done!

  13. this also reminded me of my master plan to be the Best Mom Ever when I was a teenager. Plan included writing letters to my future children, while still growing up, to save and give to them when they were at the age I intended them to have it at. Or when they were dealing with the problem I had written about.

    This series of letters was something I regularly composed in my mind as a tween and teenager. I imagined my future children getting the "modesty letter" or the "chastity letter" or the "don't do drugs" letter and rolling their eyes and complaining about another one of "Mom's Letters" (but secretly liking them). I thought it was a brilliant idea.

    But I never actually wrote them down on paper. So they still exist as only an idea in my mind…but at least I try to remember what it's like to be my kids' ages and goign through each stage of life.

  14. I would have to tell myself to stop trying to impress all those people who don't care about you and who aren't nice. And guess what, even if you do get their approval, it won't change how you feel about yourself. When you grow up and this wonderful guy falls in love with you and you are in love with him and you get married and he tells you every day for more than a decade that you are beautiful and he loves you (and that will happen), you still have to love you or you won't believe him, so work on what you think about you instead of what every body else thinks about you.

  15. Oh, our 14 year-old selves! I would like to think they would have been friends with each other. What a great post! It will leave me thinking all day. . .


Leave a Comment