If I could go back in time, I would try to intersect with my 16 year-old self and give myself a little pep talk.

I would say, the boys that you think matter so much right now, they don’t matter. Nope.

Please keep wearing your retainer at night.

I might give myself a quick one second view of the life that I had ahead of me. Maybe just an image of my husband throwing our kids up into the air. And then hearing, “Watch Mommy!”

I would say, you know, it’s probably a good idea to major in something like Physical Therapy to pay the bills and all, but why don’t you get a minor in English, too? You might want to write someday.

That cute guy with black hair that you meet Freshman year of college? That’s him.

Oh, and listen to Grandma when she tells you that she has a feeling you are supposed to go to Augustana. She’s right.

Life is going to have some bumps. Save some money.

When you are 38, you are going to have the weirdest desire to be able to do a round-off back handspring again. Maybe just keep this skill up so you don’t hurt yourself irreversibly.

Amazingly, all that waitressing that you are doing is going to pay off. It’s teaching you how to take care of people, how to work hard, how to multi-task and how to be wrong.

You are going to be a good Physical Therapist. But keep writing because someday you might need a change.

Sixteen is young. You have your whole life to be a grown-up. Don’t be afraid to be young.

You live in a ridiculously small town. You will be amazed at what’s out there.

Sit down and learn History. Really learn it.

But you are right, Calculus is not important to real life.

Keep running.

Appreciate Mom and Dad, you are going to miss being around them someday.

Try to figure out that whole common sense thing, it’s really helpful.

Learn those recipes from Mom, it will save you a lot of time and effort trying to learn everything over the phone.

Maybe keep a couple of those jackets from the 80’s. That brown leather bomber jacket with the orange lining, in particular.

Things are going to be even more amazing than you can even imagine. And harder.

Do things that scare you, over and over and over.

You are going to live at the beach for 4 years when you are first married. You aren’t going to have any money, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. Try not to stress about the whole money thing.

Sleep. Just sleep and sleep and sleep.

And for god’s sake stop getting perms and doing crazy things to your bangs, you look ridiculous.


If this makes you happy, then you should be overjoyed to know that I’m on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and even Pinterest!


This post was brought to you by Finish the Sentence Friday (FTSF).

The Sentence was “If I could go back in time I would..” Please visit FTSF blog hop hosts:

Stephanie at Mommy for Real

Kristi From Finding Ninee

Janine from Janine’s Confessions of Mommyholic

Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine

Jennifer at Real Life Parenting

Finish the Sentence Friday


15 thoughts on “Time Traveling

  1. Yes. To all of the above. I am just grateful there are no photos out there of me and my perm. What. Was. I. Thinking.

    1. joellewisler says:

      What I remember about getting perms was that we had well water and my mom would take me to the beauty school bc it was cheaper. So, I guess well water has a lot of minerals in it and the water would always turn purple when they rinsed my hair out and freak the heck out of the student hair stylists!

  2. I am with Kelly and definitely yes to all the above, especially the bad haircuts, perms and sleep, too!! 🙂

    1. joellewisler says:

      Spiral perms. And then when I finally stopped getting them, I found out my hair was naturally curly. :\

  3. Love it! My first duty station with my newlywed husband was in Okinawa, Japan. In our base apartment we had an ocean view for THREE years. I wish I could go back and tell myself to enjoy it more.

    1. joellewisler says:

      I wish I wouldn’t have been so worried! I mean, we didn’t have kids, we had jobs, everything was great. I’m sure I’ll be telling myself this same advice when I’m 80.

  4. findingninee says:

    I had to laugh out loud at the bangs and perms one because I, too, was a horrible victim of the teased bangs and awful perms! Also, I love how you wrote this. Its flow is beautiful and heart-warming and calculous has nothing to do with anything, ever. My dad used to say that I was “learning how to learn.” Could have done so with something more interesting and helpful though!

    1. joellewisler says:

      The hair. So bad. If I had a picture I would put it up. It was like, how high can we get this to go?

  5. Stephanie Sprenger says:

    Love, love, love. And I wish I could go back and minor in English, too. :p

    1. joellewisler says:

      Right? Just to feel more confident, I think.

  6. Janet says:

    This is so beautiful, I love it. Now we understand a little better why our own parents were trying so hard to get us to understand how much bigger our lives would get someday. I just might make a list like this myself…

    1. joellewisler says:

      Thanks Janet! And I’m sure I will be writing “A letter to my 38 year old self” in about 20 years with all the stuff I have to learn!

  7. Kat says:

    Oh yes, the hair!! I used so much hair spray….

    Time and experience have taught us so much that we would love to tell our younger selves but would our sixteen year old selves have listened? I’m not so sure. I think that we all needed to learn these lessons to be where we are now. Oh but the hair…..

  8. Dakota says:

    Loved this. 🙂 All very good advice!

  9. Dev says:

    I stumbled upon your blog while jumping through web pages and sometimes I wonder why I go on the computer instead of going to sleep and wish I had a legitimate reason.
    Tonight, this was my reason. I love this post and can certainly use it. Thank you SO MUCH for your wise words. You are brilliant.

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