To My Younger Self

Written by: ilene bauer

If I were to write to my sixteen-year self
And pass on sagacious advice,
The first thing I’d say is to worry much less,
For stressing out comes with a price.

And problems when young hardly count much at all – 
I would cry for a slight or a zit.
Imagine not making the cheerleader squad – 
Just the thought would get me in a snit.

Yet how could I know, at the age of sixteen,
All the heartache and sorrow in store?
Would there be any gain in alarming that girl
Who knew nothing of horror or war?

Who, oblivious, never’d encountered disease
Or the pain of decisions gone wrong?
To that knowledge, she couldn’t begin to relate – 
Such awareness just wouldn’t belong.

So to sixteen-year me, what I’d pass on is this – 
All your problems should not make you fret;
For the future is waiting and you’ll be surprised
How such worries you’ll quickly forget.

Embrace opportunities – make your mistakes
And follow the path to the truth.
I’d let my young self wallow in the mundane,
For that is the province of youth.

December 21, 2012
For David Williams' "Hello/Goodbye Contest"