My Guide To Life

Big title, hey?

Therry actually tagged me a month a go to spread my wisdom (*cough) to my dearest readers. I am pretty sure I am not the one people should run to when they hit a wall as I am no Deepak Chopra, but as Therry said, “There must be some people out there naive enough to swallow every single thing I write without questioning it nor wondering about it. Hey, if it works for religions, why not?”

However, I think it’s more fun to write a letter to myself rather than preaching to others. I’ve got the idea from a book called Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self. And here is what I am going to advice my then 16 year-old self:

Dear Me,

You’ve just entered your senior years in high school. You’re a straight-A student, loved by your teachers and schoolmates, doted by your parents, admired by your cousins, yada… yada… yada! But for goodness’ sake, go out and enjoy your time being a teenager! Nothing’s wrong with that. Go to a disco. Skip classes once in a while. Read porn. Kiss a lot of boys. Wear skimpy clothes. Die your hair green. Drink. Your life is too… straight. Predictable. It’s boring!

I know it’s embarrassing wearing braces. But don’t take them off yet just because those annoying girls at school keep referring you as the iron teeth, or because you’re afraid your boyfriend is going to leave you. Trust me, he wouldn’t, and you will look totally different with a set of nice, straight teeth. And those girls will pretty much look the same for the rest of their lives.

No, you’re not in love. It’s just a huge crush. I know he’s handsome with big blue eyes, chiseled jaw and long blonde hair, but must you carry his picture in your wallet and wear a pin with his face on it all the time? Yes, I’m talking about Sebastian Bach! Stop it, girl, it’s sad. And oh, your idol George Michael, whose picture you keep looking at every night? Sorry, he’s not interested in girls. You should take his half-naked poster down.

Psst… it’s ok to like New Kids on The Block, you don’t have to like all heavy metal stuff… but you’re right for being a Bon Jovi fan. They’re still going until now. Madonna had temporarily gone British, but I think she’s back being New Yorker now, and she still looks like what she is now, because you will read about new technology called Botox, which basically freezes people’s faces and make them wrinkle-free, look stunned and young at the same time. Don’t laugh, you might need it in the next twenty years. Anyway, Guns n’ Roses sadly will split, and your Use Your Illusion I and II will be their best albums ever.

Don’t wear trousers a la MC Hammer. They’re ugly. We call them harem pants, and in 20 years time they fail successfully to make a fashion comeback. Don’t you dare buy those purple Doc Martens boots.

Also, I know you’re in the stage of rebellion and you are trying to create your own identity, separated from your parents. But when your father suggested you to go to medical school, say yes! You think you’re being unique and different. You’re not. You’re just running away from your gift.

Make sure you work out regularly. Mom has already warned that “big tummy” runs in the family. In 10 years you will sadly see the result. You might be taller as well if you work out harder, although I highly doubt this. So keep practicing wearing high heels. You’ll need them. And learn how to put some make-up on properly. Dark purple lipstick? Not a good idea.

Keep reading those Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, and HergΓ© books. They will ‘take’ you around the world and will shape you as a traveler junkie. In the future you get to see the some of the places you are reading about.

Treat your friends better. Your high school friends will be your buddies forever, those who see you as who you are, regardless what you do or what you have. One will be your best friend. Your best friends now will still be your best friends 20 years later, and hopefully forever.

Never judge a book by its cover. For example, your very pretty, model-like, junior high school friend with the best, long, slick, very black hair you’ve been envying since you were 10? She’ll just become as that, and be remembered as that, a pretty face with great hair. But your mother’s skinny, arrogant, smart, annoying young colleague who comes to your house every week for lunch? He’ll become Indonesian justice minister and then the ambassador to Russia.

Do not make a decision based on boys. If you want to go to college in Germany, or Kentucky, just go. The hell with your boyfriend who wants to go to Australia instead. Don’t cut your hair just because you’re mad at him and you know he likes long hair. You secretly want to grow it longer anyway, so just do that.

Religions don’t matter. Virginity doesn’t matter. Hair doesn’t matter (I’m talking about your future husband here). But those practical skills you learn at school? Like sewing and cooking? They’ll come handy later.

Finally, have more compassion. Not everyone is as fast as you are, or as lucky as you are. Try to understand that. Stop being angry all the time at the world.

Oh, and find out where Scotland is!



And now I am tagging my blogbuddies to write the letter to their 16 year old self:

Boy: a banker by weekday, a photographer by weekends. He is too young to be that mature!

Ecky: a diplomat’s trailing spouse who’s stranded in the middle of nowhere. And my best friend.

Lynda Ibrahim: this girl rocks. You just need to go to her blog to see what I mean.

Miss Lai Lai: when I see her one word comes to mind: passionate! I wonder what advice would she give to her own younger version?

Toni Wahid: a photoblogger and coffee addict, with a high-profile job, two blogs, and thousands of activities to manage



  1. If I were a female teenager I would take it at heart. All of it. I would want to be counted in as well. But Agatha Christie? Grrrrrrrrr.

  2. mmmmm….gw harus inget inget dulu masa muda gw ngapain ya πŸ˜€

  3. kutuloncat says:

    Darn… why sixteen??? I always claim myself as seventeen … I guess I am not qualified to write such kind of letter than. And who need botox if you can tortured your self with winter in Canada… LOL

    • Kutuloncat: true, true. Canada’s winter will keep your face frozen all year. Let me know when you’re done with your own letter. I bet it’ll be interesting!

  4. Hi Anita,

    Writing a letter to your 16-years old self is really an interesting idea, now we know more about you.

    I think I am going to need some time to think about what I should say to my own 16-years old self,.
    Harry Nizam recently posted…Peace Loving PeopleMy Profile

  5. Just want to stop by and say Hello…
    I really like your blog….
    Feminine in touch, yet very inspirational…
    I’m a newbie blogger, any advice on writing things? thanks.. πŸ˜€
    KeZ recently posted…When Im LazyMy Profile

    • Hello Kez, welcome. Thanks for reading my blog, I’m so honoured. I don’t have any recipe, I just keep on writing. I think because I like writing and I don’t have ulterior motives having this blog (i.e. making money), I can just keep on writing whenever the inspiration struck :). Have fun writing!

  6. Nit… have you read any Karl may books?? πŸ˜€
    Agatha Christie? I thought you’ll prefer enid blyton…

    • Woelank: of course! I adore Karl May too. I did read Blyton. Christie’s book though, brings us to many places in Middle East, because her husband was a famous anthropologist who lead several missions there. I’m a softie if it’s about Babylon, Persia, and all the rest πŸ˜‰

  7. LOL you made yourself sound so bad when you were 16! braces, low self esteem? come on!

    i can’t even remember life when i was 16… uhm, more like don’t want to remember!

    too bad we can’t turn back time though if we could i wouldn’t want to be 16 again, it was bad enough the first time :)

  8. Oh I still owe you this post, let me dig more memory and I will let you know once I’m done :)
    Ecky recently posted…Amateur Farmer WannabeMy Profile

  9. I came here to revisit my thoughts on what to write on this post I got tagged in…more than a year ago! Shame on me. Truth be told though, it’s been sitting in my draft post. I guess I am waiting for the right moment to write this.

    And goodness me. I might as well copy and paste this post for oh, I have so many similar advices. ;-).
    We may have been separated at birth. πŸ˜›

    PS: Your link to my blog is to the old one, instead of the current one ;-). I shall tag bag to this post, when I have done mine. πŸ˜€
    Miss Lai Lai recently posted…One Year Ago: The Turning Point, The Real Story (and it still goes on…)My Profile


  1. […] Anita dragged me to this “guide-to-life” thing – not to spread the wisdom, but because it was fun (anyway, who’s gonna believe my wisdom?). So she tempted me to write a letter to myself, like what I am going to advice to my then 16 (or 17) years old self. Sounds funny but actually it was like a contemplation of my youth and by the time I start writing this post, I am planning to contact my high school mates. […]

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