Dear sixteen-year-old me

Dear Me: More Letters to my Sixteen-Year-Old Self is the second book edited by Joseph Galliano. It’s a collection of letters written by celebrities and offers a retrospective to the author’s teenage selves offering advice on what (and who) to avoid.

Among the contributors is Hugh Jackman who writes in part

“There will be a time when you get over Penny dumping you at the bus stop. In fact you’ll see here in a couple of years and wonder why you cried every time you heard the Lionel Richie song Penny Lover. Oh and the patch of zits on your forehead will also go but probably not as quickly as you hope. PS: buy shares in Google when they’re invented.

Gillian Anderson gets righteous with her 16-year-old with this very heartfelt letter

Dear Gillian

You are completely and utterly self obsessed. If you spent a quarter of your time thinking about others instead of how much you hate your thighs, your level of contentment and self worth would expand exponentially. One thing I learned way too late in the game for my own good was that you can effectively increase your self esteem by doing estimable things. Therefore I have signed you up to build homes for the homeless during your entire summer vacation. Your Christmas will be spent serving food at a battered women’s shelter and Easter is designated to reading stories to children in the pediatric cancer ward. Four months out of 16years dedicated to human beings other than yourself, you have gotten off easy. Oh and honey expand your horizons; your world is a bigger oyster than your low self-esteem wants you to believe. Love yourself; think of others and be grateful. I love you, I believe in you, and I look forward to respecting you

Me. You. Us

P.S. Follow your dreams not your boyfriends

and Alice Cooper penned this little note to his 16-year old self

Trashy girls are exciting for about five minutes…. Keep your eye out for a really good-lookin’ church girl. Then you’ll have the best of both worlds.

PS: The Yardbirds rule.

PPS: I think coffee might really catch on, maybe call it Star something ….

JK Rowling wrote the foreword for the book saying the letters brought home to her ‘how vulnerable and dangerous an age 16 is, for all the fun and freedom it is supposed to entail. ‘It made me look at my 17-year-old daughter and remember, in a more powerful way than ever before, just how raw and vivid life is for her. I would not go back to 16 for anything you could give me, and yet I still recognise that she has something I have lost along the way – something I had to lose to stay sane.”

There is so much I would say to my sixteen-year old self starting with this:

Dear Sixteen Year Old Lana

Your life is not going to be determined by your actions at high school, more importantly it wont be affected by the “cool crowd”. High school will end and there are a lot of people out there who wont even know about your mistakes never mind judge you by them.

And your mother? One day you will be a mother yourself and you will understand so much more about the love that a parent has for a child.

But in the meantime remember these equally important points

  • Permed hair is never going to suit you. Don’t do it
  • Purple eye make up requires a certain amount of subtlety and you may have to wait a good few years until you learn this technique
  • Smoking is a very hard habit to break
  • If the boy you like walks on the opposite side of the road when he sees you but walks to your house anyway – don’t let him in
  • Freckles are not ugly


Love Lana

What would you write to your 16 year old self?

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