Dear 16 year old Autumn,

I can’t believe that ten years later has gone by so quickly and that now at 26.  I’m married, have a house, and I’m in grad school and I know that you would be proud and happy for all of these things, but largely surprised at how non-linear this path was (and that’s okay). 

There are going to be a lot of road bumps in the way: some of your own causing, some of other’s causing, and sometimes just because of life; these are the little things that will really teach you about grace.

You should know that your self-worth isn’t the number on a bathroom scale or how many dates you have on the weekend.  I wish I could tell you that the most important things to love at this age, or really at any age, are yourself and God and then everything else that matters falls into place.  I could tell you many other things that will sound cheesy, but in reality, when I pour back through my daily blogs of me at your age I really just want to give you a hug.

Dear 16 year old me...  | via The Spirited VioletDear 16 year old me...  | via The Spirited Violet

You’ll try a lot of things like orchestra, debate, newspaper, choir, and take seven foreign language classes in high school like a crazy person- even though it’ll take you 9 years to get the guts to actually study Linguistics formally.  You’ll find things you’re good at, people that will teach you what a friend looks like, and you’ll wonder way too much about the type of person you’re going to marry someday.  SURPRISE!  He’s on the other side of the country, was just baptized into your church, and he is listening to the same Dashboard Confessionals and Jimmy Eat World albums as you; he’s worth the wait.

I wish you could understand that everything that feels so big and important right now probably isn’t.  You’ll be surprised to know that the only time you see people from high school post-graduation is on the internet.  The friends you’ll gain matter because people matter, but don’t let rumors or bullies control your thoughts or actions.  

High school is hard, college is hard, jobs are hard, and you’ll find that life is hard; however, you can handle it.  You’ll experience Hail Mary passes in life right before you feel like you can’t handle it anymore and you’ll experience joy from all of the contrast and meaning in life.  I promise everything will be a lot better than you can expect.


  • Rae

    16 was such a rough year for me emotionally—two of my best friends committed suicide. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with a letter to my 16 year-old self.

    • Rae, I can’t even imagine what that would have been like. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friends. That would have been so hard to grieve for and so hard to process even for an adult!!

  • I love this! I really wish I could give some advice to my 16 year old self, especially since I’ve been out of high school for 5 years.

    • It goes so quickly!! I can’t believe it was 10 years ago for me.

  • I love the post! It’s fun to look back and reflect. I wrote a similar post a couple of years ago about what I would say to my 20 year-old self! Love yours, and love the reflection!

    • I’m glad you liked it! It is crazy how many changes someone has between 16-20. I feel like our late teens to twenties are such a crazy time of transition!!

  • Oh man… I would tell myself to stop fighting so much with my parents, CHERISH my friends, and don’t worry about getting that first kiss. It’ll happen and it will be AMAZING.

    • These are perfect!! I wish I could have just focused more on myself instead of worrying about boys! I’m glad your first kiss was awesome!

  • I love reading these letters! Thanks for sharing yours!

  • Love this post! I, too, have taken a circuitous route to get to where I am today and the learning outcomes from each fork in the road have made all the difference. Cheers to continued growth and change!

    Taylor @

    • I love being able to chat to people about their stories of where they ended up! Thanks for your comment!

  • Love this, it is so important for every young girl to hear these types of letters. It’s amazing how much changes over time. Let alone 10 years. It sounds like you’ve come such a long way to make such a beautiful future.

    • Thank you Liz Jo! 10 years makes a ton of changes!

  • Such a cute letter! I honestly couldn’t agree more with this! Even now I think all of this still applies to me – life is hard. But I definitely think that since I was sixteen I learn a lot faster than I used to. By the way I love your blog! It’s so cute 🙂

    Kelsey |

    • You make a great point. I learn A LOT faster now than I did at 16. Life seems a lot more meaningful. Thanks for your sweet compliment and comment!

  • This is so sweet – my little sister is 9 years younger than me so sometimes I feel like I should just write a letter to her! We all could’ve used these kind of reminders in high school.

    Valery Brennan

    • You totally should! I bet she would appreciate it more than you know!!