Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Day 10 dawns on the WEGO Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge, and I have been asked to write a note to my 16-year-old self. This one took some brain cells, I'm not gonna lie. But Day 10 deserves 10 tips.

Dear 16-Year-Old Me,
This Road Called Life has so many jaw-dropping turns and dead-ends that it's really, really good you can't see any of them from where you are right now. Ignorance in this case is absolutely, positively blissful. While The Path cannot be changed, you can alter the amount of baggage you bring on this journey. To help, here are my 10 Tips for a Happy Life:

TIP #1 Appreciate your physicality. You won't always look this good, feel this good, be this flexible, be this thin, or have such perfect skin.

TIP #2 Stay true to you. The teenage you is the same you as the you you were in elementary school (stay with me here). The teenage you is also the same you that you become when you're older (and supposedly wiser). Never lose sight of her. The good news is, the young you is your beacon and your compass when the stormy seas arrive; she always knows what makes you happy. She also always knows the people and things you can trust. The bad news? She doesn't always know what's best for you. (That's why you need Tip #3.)

TIP #3 Develop a strong backbone. Define what is important to you and then follow your instincts. For example, if you're certain that marriage and family are what you want, don't waste your prime childbearing years in the wrong relationship. (I'm just sayin'.) If you don't want to give your life over to your work, don't give up all your hobbies and then blame your lack of them on the fact that you don't have the time or energy because you're always working.

TIP #4 Say NO more often. (This becomes easier after you have mastered Tip #3.) People-pleasing skills are highly over-rated.

TIP #5 Cultivate a rich network of supportive friends, particularly those with varied interests and ages. That way you're not left scrambling for new social groups when everyone does (or doesn't) get married, or has (or doesn't have) kids. Build yourself a nice support network on which to fall back on; you'll need them to catch you when you fall. And you will. Oh, and remember that in order to have a supportive friend, you have to be a supportive friend.

TIP #6 Exercise every day. But not obsessively. Find things you enjoy and do them daily. Working out will keep your weight (and your stress level) down, your hormones in check, your mood more balanced — and your jeans in single digits.

TIP #7 Be conscious about what you ingest. Again, no need to be obsessive; just be smart. Your food should be of good quality, not processed, nor laden with chemicals or pesticides. If you're going to drink alcohol, have a glass of water before every drink. And please don't drink on an empty stomach. Or smoke!

TIP #8 Don't worry so much about what other people think of you. Because guess what — they're not thinking about you. They're thinking about themselves. So ditch the worry and just be yourself.

TIP #9 Kindness is king. Embrace what you love about you and don't get down on yourself for what you don't. Always, always, always be kind to others — but be especially kind to yourself. Always, always, always choose a mate that is kind to others — and who is especially kind to you.

TIP #10 Keep your naturally positive attitude and sense of humor. You're gonna need it.


  1. I love this, Renn. We absolutely do share many of the same tips. Wish we could have heeded all of them. I especially like your comment about keeping your jeans in the single digits. Hilarious! xx

  2. Great tips Renn. I'm going to make my teenager read your list!

  3. @Jan, yes, if only we could have heeded our own advice! I'd be in single digit jeans right now if that were the case! LOL!

    @Dee: I would be honored to have my list shared with an actual teen!! ;-)

  4. Renn,

    I love how you spun this prompt to create 10 tips for a happy life to your sixteen year old self. I love the say "no" more often tip. A good one, as are all the others!

  5. Renn.....
    This is fantastic!!!! I love every one of these-especially how you say, "that's why you need tip #3" and how it "becomes easier after mastering tip 3#) .....

    Learning to say NO is probably the best one for me... and that support network? I'm glad you are part of mine!


  6. My fourth read today on this topic... your advice is sage for every age! Thanks for sharing!

    ~~~ maura

  7. @Beth: Thanks! I had to find a way to spin the info out of me, this was a very hard post to write!

    @AM: Learning to say NO more is definitely something I've struggled with during this whole BC experience. I somehow equate saying no with being vulnerable, when in fact it's the opposite! thanks for being part of my "network"!

    @Maura: "Sage for Every Age" — I love that line! Thanks for stopping by. I'm heading over to your blog now.

  8. Renn,

    Love this post! My fav is #8. Why do we obsess so much of our life away worrying about what others are thinking about us anyway? As you said, they aren't thinking about us!!

    I must admit I don't worry so much anymore...

  9. @nancy: Why exactly! BC definitely forces us to let a lot of "all that" go.

    PS Thanks for the FB post! ;-)

  10. Hey Renn
    I Love 'Stay True to You," ... say this to my daughter, like, every day!!
    My husband still, after 20 years, tells me I need to get some "tough bark" on me for #3.


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