If you could give your teenage self one piece of advice, what would it be? Perhaps it would be to work harder at school? You may have told yourself to keep up with music lessons or sports practice? Maybe you'd simply tell yourself to care less about what other people think? We all have things we'd wish we'd known back in our difficult school years, but what's more encouraging is that even celebrities feel this way too. I've complied some of the most touching and sometimes funny quotes from letters that the rich and famous wrote to their younger selves.
1. Stan Lee: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
The father of comic books added his personal letter to the book Dear Me: A Letter To My Sixteen Year Old Self. Lee reflected on his aspirations to write the greatest American novel and that he felt that writing comic books was beneath his abilities:
"Even more ironic, the name you now sign is Stan Lee, which you adopted legally because you were embarrassed that Stanley M. Lieber was writing those lowly comics — which have since become the wellspring for respected motion pictures, TV series, video games, and all sorts of enormously popular globe-spanning entertainment."
Oh Stanley M. Lieber, how wrong you were. The Marvel master also gave some pretty useful life advice:
"So bear this in mind, my impulsive 16-year old self — nothing ever stays the same. Tastes change and the culture changes. The important thing is to stay on top of what is au courant and be resilient enough to go with the flow and change with the tide."
I think we can all learn something from that. You'll always be a super-man in our eyes, Mr. Lee.
2. Victoria Beckham: Spice Up Your Life
If ever you're feeling like the ugly duckling, it may warm your heart to know that Victoria felt that way once too. In British Vogue, VB wrote a letter to her 18 year old self, who at the time was chubby, acne ridden and bullied:
"You have bad acne. You think the principal has put you at the back of the end-of-year show (in a humiliating bright purple Lycra leotard) because you are too plump to go at the front. (This may or may not be true)."
As we know, haters gonna hate, but I think it's fair to say that this ugly duckling turned out to be one hell of a swan. Using her dry humor, Victoria was able to give us style advice and lessons on learning to love yourself
"If you don't join this Spice Girls, you might always be that insecure person in that little shell, and you will never become who you truly are. With this in mind, be kind, be polite and be considerate of other people's feelings."
The Spice Girls without Victoria are unimaginable and we doubt she'd be the wonderful designer she is today without that pop-filled career.
3. Hugh Jackman: Embrace Your Inner Strength
We wonder how Hugh Jackman at the age of 16 would react if he knew he would play Wolverine one day? This is because the Hollywood star wrote in his note:
"Truth be told much of what is going to happen will surprise the pants off you….It will be way better than your wildest imaginings."
The Aussie man's letter to himself is one filled with romance and reassurance. Jackman hilariously tells himself to buy shares in Google once Google becomes a thing. However, the most heartwarming thing is his love and adoration for his future wife:
"Love life? (spoiler alert) You will meet an incredible woman, and the choice to marry her will be the easiest choice of your life. Just listen to your gut. Keep writing down one list…and one list only…the 5 things you love to do, and the 5 things you are good at…they will keep changing, but one day they will match up…and there is your path…but even then keep writing your list just to make sure you are still on the right track."
You're way too cute, Jackman and your wife is one lucky lady.
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4. J.K. Rowling: Always Believe In Magic
We didn't think J.K. Rowling's words could inspire us anymore, until she went and wrote an incredibly insightful note to her 17-year-old self. Rowling looks back with nostalgia but mentions that she has no desire to be a teenager again:
"Be yourself. Be easier on yourself. Become yourself, as fully as possible. Attempting to isolate those life lessons I could pass back to the girl I used to be was a truly illuminating exercise. 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, in a way that it has been only intermittently for me as an adult. I would not go back to 16 for anything you could give me, and yet I still recognize that she has something I have lost along the way — something I had to lose, to stay sane."
Imagine knowing at that young age that you would go on to write one of the most popular franchises of all time. Rowling dreamed big but also learnt a lot along the way and as Dumbledore said himself in The Philosopher's Stone:
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
5. Alice Cooper: Live Life Like A Rockstar
The bad-ass rock and roll star took his letter down a comedic route, choosing instead to make light of his teenage years and the fun he had:
"TRASHY GIRLS ARE exciting for about 5 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...."
It turns out even Alice likes a good girl, who would have thought it? I can't even begin to imagine living in a world pre-Starbucks. Rock on, Alice Cooper.
6. Elton John: I'm Still Standing Better Than I Ever Was
The flamboyant Rocket Man doesn't hold back in discussing his sexuality as a teenager. His personal letter is still very relevant to the treatment of the gay community these day. His words however do offer hope to those, who like Elton, struggle with their identity:
"You are a very young 16. You know nothing about sex — you don’t even know what a ‘queer’ is. Trust me when I tell you — you are ‘queer’, you are a gay boy. I made the mistake of not having sex until I was 23! I loved being with another man and felt relieved that I finally knew who I was. I made the mistake of falling in love too soon because I was naive and romantic."
Elton John goes on to discuss how even in his late sixties he is still not welcomed by everyone because of who he loves. The musician also advises his young self to keep fighting for his rights:
"Be proud of who you are and as you get older and wiser fight for gay rights – I’m 46 years older than you are, and we have a long way to go. In certain countries we are still not treated as equals, especially by the so-called ‘Christian’ church. I made a lot of mistakes."
The gay icon finished with a lighthearted message when he tells young Reginald Dwight to change his name to Elton John and well, the rest is history.
7. Alan Rickman: Always
The late, great movie star gave us arguably one of the best letters due to his wit and self assurance in the decisions he made in his life. Rickman wrote:
"If, in future years, anyone asks you to give advice to your sixteen year old self... don't. Make your own unique messes, and then work out your own way out of them. See you."
The message is succinct but moving, as Alan clearly preferred to look forward rather than backwards. Alan's teenage self would definitely have been proud with the life Rickman led and the joy he brought to everyone else.
8. To Her Future Self: Kim Kardashian
Never one to follow the crowd. Kim decided instead to write a letter to her future self. Watch the video below to absorb the words of wisdom from the reality star:
Surely all of us aim to be the queen of contouring in the future? Thank you Kim, for the insight into your mind. You've taught us all that our dreams should always be as big as your butt.
What would you tell your teenage self?