Dear Fourteen-Year-Old Me: A letter from the future by Kathrese McKee

Lessons learned the hard way

What Advice Would You Give Your Fourteen-Year-Old Self?

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for The Scriblerians entitled, Failure Is An Option. Learning lessons the hard way must be much on my mind these days. There are many things I wish I had known ahead of time, so I wrote a letter to a younger version of myself. I’m putting it in a time travel capsule and hoping for the best.

Dear Fourteen-Year-Old Me,Dear Fourteen-Year-Old Me,

If you’re reading this letter, then the time travel capsule must have worked. This is me—or is it you?—writing to you from 2016.

First, let’s improve our overall quality of life. Skip working at that computer consulting firm (the second one, not the first one). Total mistake. Oh, and invest every spare dime in Apple stock—the company, not the fruit. But I’ve said too much already.

Second, start writing now. Put all your stories in a drawer and wait until the world’s longest river starts a fire. You’ll know what I mean when it happens. But seriously, write every day so you’ll be ready with lots of raw material and the skills to polish your stories for publication.

By the way, your “Only Friends” policy towards guys totally works, so keep that up. But you need to get out more. Go to rock concerts against the preacher’s advice. Lightning won’t strike you down if you attend prom. Don’t listen to the legalists, and don’t worry so much about what people think about you. Live a little. Then write about it. Do you sense a theme here?

Let’s see. What else can I tell you without triggering the “butterfly effect?” (I can use that reference since I know you read Ray Bradbury.)

There will come a time when a Cuban American, a Jewish guy, a reality television star, and a grandma will run for president. Sounds like a bad joke, right? I can neither confirm nor deny that I made it up, but a political thriller with that plot could become a bestseller. Trust me. Oh, and publish it in 2014 for the best marketing opportunities.

When a storm named Rita strikes, stay home. Sorry, I hate to be so cryptic. Never say you’ll never live in Dallas. Don’t buy the Volkswagen TDI. Beg, borrow, and steal to go to the second Realm Makers Conference because you’ll always regret that you spoiled your perfect attendance record. Okay, that’s probably enough, and let’s hope it’s not too much.

Stay in band, work hard in school, keep reading everything that looks interesting, and stay close to God.




Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Don’t you wish you could write a letter to a younger version of yourself? What would you tell him or her? What hints would you try to pass on (without disrupting the space time continuum)? Would your younger self believe what you wrote or blow it off?

I tried to keep it light, but I do wish I hadn’t had to learn so many things the hard way. Who doesn’t wish that? Maybe humans aren’t able to learn certain lessons except through enduring the consequences of making mistakes.

The truth is that I had some lessons I needed to learn at the second computer consulting job. However, I regret that I didn’t start writing in a serious way much sooner. I chose to write epic adventure fantasy with lots of political intrigue built in. I have to say, the contemporary political thriller would have been big, especially if I had nailed the election results. Move aside, Nostradamus!

Imitating Good Examples

We don’t need hints from the future to know that we should use our time wisely. Occasionally, we hear of someone who provides a great example of the best way to live.

The Scriblerians are grieving the passing of their friend and fellow writer, Vanessa Morton. Their stories about her are inspiring and full of love. She seemed too young and bright to be gone so soon. Her friends definitely think she was one of those examples to imitate. Let us burn as brightly as Vanessa did, and live as faithfully, to the very end.

What advice would you give your fourteen-year-old self?

11 thoughts on “Dear Fourteen-Year-Old Me: A letter from the future by Kathrese McKee

  1. So, so good, Kathrese! And true. I’ve always thought notes from heaven would be an ideal way to give us hints that could lead to better decisions. But how often would we have listened? Thanks so much for sharing with us today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, we did receive a (really long) letter from heaven, but wouldn’t it be great if, at times, we understood which parts we should pay special attention to at which times? But like you said, even if we received notes from heaven written to us individually, would we listen? Thanks for your thoughtful comments.


  2. Well done Kathrese! I love this idea! I do wish I was able to comfort my fourteen year old self. High school was such a tough time for me, full of doubt, self-loathing, and fear. To know that I would turn out okay and have the honour of having a wonderful supportive husband and two great kids as well as being able to follow my creative dreams, would have given me so much more confidence!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was a very philosophical teenager, and I figured that everyone else put their pants on the same way I did every morning. I put all my trust in the idea that eventually, things have a way of balancing out. (That twentieth year class reunion proved it.) But I could really have used more confidence to follow my dreams and pursue my God-given talents. So many false starts!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “…don’t worry so much about what people think about you. Live a little.” – This. I let worries and fear dictate so much of my life. “Everyone else put their pants on the same way I did every morning,” was an epiphany I didn’t have for years!

    I can’t write to my former self but I can share those thoughts and experiences with my munchkin. Hubby and I try to encourage and cheer her on, sharing some of those stories from our pasts. We want her to have the confidence we lacked and the wisdom to behind it, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your children LOVE it when you are vulnerable and transparent. They love the stories where you messed up and learned a lesson. My kids remember those stories; they mean the most to them.


  4. I’m pretty sure my 14 year old self wouldn’t listen…a lot had already happened before I was that age. The wheels had already gone off the track, so to speak. Also, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized I’m a trial and error sort of person. Someone can TELL me “Don’t lick the flagpole in the middle of winter.” But I kinda have to do it for myself. I know this from experience…lol. Which is very, very sad. :/

    If I was going to tell my 14 year old self anything? God is more than you think. Hang on, it does get better. Keep writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes! The frozen flagpole. Most people have to try something like that at least once. But I think the message, “Hang on,” is very important for that age to hear. Instead, teens often hear, “Just wait. It gets worse.”


  5. I loved this! Thank you for writing this post. So much to think about. I might have to do this exercise. There are several things I would have liked to have told myself at 14. There’s an old Scriblerian post where I wrote to my college freshman self, but the theme was totally different. I got an unexpected “blast from the past” at ACFW 2013 and had to tell Fall 1991 me about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Really clever and funny! Brought a smile to my face on a scary, stormy day.


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