Dear Elle (my sixteen-year-old-self),

I have a couple of things to tell you and the very first is to go by Elisabeth. It’s such a beautiful name.

The second is be a writer. It’s what you were always meant to do, and by telling you this I will save you almost twenty years of soul-searching. Now you can go on and enjoy it. Go to a good school, a beautiful one with all the bricks, and get your journalism degree. You might still go through some soul-searching. The first few bosses are hard to please no matter what field you’re figuring it all out in. But they will come to shape you into exactly the kind of writer you want to be. The one with the beautiful novels. And the magazine career.

You’ll still want to meet that husband though, so don’t let him fall through the cracks. He’s a keeper and no one else in the world will do. Make sure you get him early, around 18 or 19 years old before he gets really into biking and runs off into the sunset with some biker chick (she’ll never make him as happy anyway).

Also, you have food allergies. Gluten, dairy, eggs, and beans to be exact. There. That ought to save you five years of doctors visits and intense pain. Which reminds me, please don’t get on birth control. It’s just going to mess up your hormones and intensify all your sun spots anyway. And it probably contributed to your food allergies in the first place. Condoms will do you just fine until that fated vasectomy day.

And while we’re on the subject. You don’t want kids. Stop second guessing yourself. You never did and we all know it. Stop beating yourself up about it and enjoy the child-free life. You’ll have a bunch of nieces anyway and you won’t need anyone more than what you’ve got.

Finally, travel. Mostly to France. You’re not much of a traveler anyway so you might as well just keep going to the beautiful country with the beautiful language. It’s your favorite, and you’ll come for realize that enjoying your favorite things is a lot more enjoyable than trying new things. Especially when it comes to countries, restaurants, and husbands.

I suppose that’s all I have to say. I think these things will sufficiently save you from years of uncertainty. And if you don’t happen to get this letter on time, don’t worry, you’ll figure it all out in the end.

With love,

(Your thirty-three-year-old self)

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