May 30, 2009

Dear 16-Year Old Tine

20090530 Poppies at Tessalar

If I were to meet you face to face, I'd see a fresh-faced young girl, in her blue pinafore, bad hair, braces in her teeth, and a wide and engaging smile. I'd see someone happy, eager and ready to face whatever the world has to offer (world being Form 4).

I'd see me.

At sixteen, you weren't sure what the year would bring you. You've read enough teenage love stories to know about what it's like for a girl when she turns sweet sixteen, but you didn't have that feeling. You didn't have boyfriends or go to parties. You just lived the way you did.

At sixteen, you experienced, for the first time, what failing in your studies was like. Three times, in fact, in getting an F in Physics and Chemistry. These were never your strong points to begin with, but oddly enough, you ended up being an engineer. That's irony for you.

At sixteen, you became best of friends with two girls who ended up being your bridesmaids at your wedding. It was wonderful, by the way, the wedding. You married someone you met in the UK, whom you never thought would end up spending the rest of your life with. And he loves you dearly. Well, not 16-year old you, obviously. And you're still keeping in touch with the girls, who have both grown up to be fine ladies.

At sixteen, you hadn't a care in the world, and why would you? It was simply those carefree days in which you grew up with books and telephones, not computers and mobile phones. And you lived it well without those.

At sixteen, you were painfully shy around boys. Till now, I cannot tell you why it was so that you couldn't speak to boys without getting red and tongue-tied then. Not to worry though, as you grow older, you'll find that many of your close friends will be boys.

At sixteen, you hardly went out. You had (still have, by the way) overprotective parents who would not allow you to parties and overnight stays with friends. They would call you every 15 minutes past 10.30pm if you weren't back home by then. And all these happened when you didn't even have a mobile phone (they'd call your friends). You were embarrassed, humiliated and angry at them for the restrictions. You rebelled every chance you could by sneaking away to places they wouldn't allow you to. It would only be much later in life that you finally understood why they did what they did.

You have changed, you know. Not immensely, but enough for you to recognise that change if you were to meet your 29-year old self today. For someone who barely understood sarcasm, you're now cynical. Not to the point where you're incredibly jaded to the world, but enough to know that life is not a bed of roses. Believe it or not, it is a good change.

I'm not going to tell you what life for you is going to be after sixteen. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and for that, everything you are about to experience will make you the person you are today. It's not going to be an easy road to travel on, but walk it you must.

A few hints of what life will be for you as you enter your twenties: you'll fall in love at a tender age. You'll live in the UK for a few years, and those will be some of the best years of your life. You'll make some very bad decisions in your twenties; those bad decisions and consequences will be etched in your memory as long as you live. You'll finally understand how painful it can be when your heart breaks. You'll also realise that during that time, your family is the rock in which you will cling to, for they love you with all their hearts no matter what. You'll find happiness once more, and know what it means to really love.

Don't be too hasty to grow up. Enjoy those years of school, where you'd have nothing to worry about except getting good grades and sailing through SPM. You'll have plenty of time to experience what life overseas would be like. What the working world like like. What falling in love is like. What intense heartbreak is like. What life really is like.

Have fun. Laugh, cry, study hard and build friendships. There's plenty of time to conquer the world later.

~29 Year Old Tine~
30 May 2009


Eric Liu said...

Very nice piece. Unfortunately, the chances of a 16 year old having the ability to comprehend are incredibility slim. What is the evoked emotion that drives you to write this piece?

Tine said...

Eric: It was actually one of those tags I saw going around beauty blogs. Thought it would be a nice piece to do here instead, since I haven't properly written anything in a long time.

You're right, 16 year old me would never have comprehended all that. The younger me would probably tell the older me, in an attempt at sarcasm "yeah right".

zewt said...

imagine the 16 year old u suddenly appear and wish you happy birthday!

Anonymous said...

Well wrote Tine, one thing I concluded from your piece and find it comforting that u didn't tell your 16 what u regret of.

I most probably will tell my 16 self, dun do this, dun do that....


rinnah said...

It's such a lovely way to do this tag.

p.s. I know all about the over-protective parents bit! Mine were (are) the same!

the Constantly Dramatic One said...

WOW. This is beautiful. I should do this too...

littleComma said...

This is really nice. Imagine if we really can communicate with the younger us. I guess, I will also be telling the younger me things to avoid and what I can do then to make things better. But well, I would never know, right? Moreover, everything happens for a reason.

Bernard Chia said...

Happy Belated Birthday Tine,
From your erm..30++ year old brother-in-law.

Bernard Chia said...


geekchic said...

*sniff* *sniff* that was beautifoor *sniff*