Letter from Future Me

About to be published is the second edition of Dear Me, More letters to my Sixteen Year Old Self. The original, with a foreword by JK Rowling sold 40,000 copies and had some tender, funny, heartbreaking letters from celebrities to their teenage selves; Stephen Fry’s was particularly touching.

You can find an excerpt from the latest edition here:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/interactive/2011/oct/14/dear-me-celebrity-letters-extract

At 16 I was a deeply annoying creature, I was reading a lot of stuff that conflicted with my upbringing and whilst the morality was right the way I went about expressing it was ham fisted and childish. My world back then was black and white and it took me a long time to discern the shades of grey that give true depth to real life – we call that growing up and I managed it eventually.

Dear Me

You’re going to spend the next few years being a pain the arse, it’s unavoidable really, but it will teach you a lot. When you get over it and grow up a bit you’ll feel guilty but that’s productive, it will make you do something about it.

Remember the rules you make, it’s easier to have a rule ready than make one up on the spot in an emergency. Prepare and prepare and prepare, thinking doesn’t make you sweat and you’re born lazy, accept that.

The way you felt when you first saw your name on a published piece of writing, you were right to feel that way but it’s going to be a long long road.

Be brave and do the things people think are difficult because they seem to work for you.

Everything ends, someone will tell you that and you won’t understand it properly for a long time, when you do understand it you’ll get some peace.

Remember, the woods are lonely, dark and deep and you have promises to keep and miles to go before you sleep, and miles to go before you sleep. Just how many miles you have no idea right now, but they are good miles.

See you in thirty years.

Karen xxx

PS You don’t look like a boy, you did once, when you were six, but you grew out of it, it may be helpful if you realise this, it will stop you being clueless about flirtation and you may have more fun.

PPS Consider learning a foreign language, maybe Turkish.

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6 Responses to Letter from Future Me

  1. Annie says:

    It’s a lovely idea and I love how you’ve done it. Your last PPS is a masterstroke!
    Axx

  2. Jack Scott says:

    Love this. Me at 16 was obnoxious, self-opinionated and arrogant. Many will say I haven’t changed, just lwithout the looks that enabled me to get away with it. Can’t imagine you ever looking like a boy. Must’ve been a pretty one.

    • Karen says:

      I was a nightmare at 16. An utter pillock! I blush in shame at the memory of younger me.

      And I did look like a boy, very short hair – mustn’t let the fringe get in her eyes! – hideous glasses, rubbish teeth and my face took a few decades for me to grow into. I fixed the eyes and the teeth and grew the hair a few feet so I improved with age. Thankfully.

  3. Liz Cameron says:

    This letter is lovely – compassionate in just the way a 16 year old could take, with a slight bit of edge. I am already composing my own letter to the unhappy, protest-ready, purple-mohawked, left-wing, hippie-punk, angry at the world, enchanted by the world confused young self. Thank you for this.

  4. Perpetua says:

    Great advice, Karen. Would you have listened to it at 16, I wonder? I was a very meek, conformist 16 year-old. My bolshie years came much later. :-)

    • Karen says:

      I certainly wouldn’t have listened at 16, but I may have come out of it sooner if I’d been able to write to myself!

      Late blooming bolshieness tends to be more effective :-)

      K xxx

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