'What would you tell your 13-year-old self?' People's answers were surprisingly interesting.
"You are loved."
There are so many times we look back on our lives and think about things we would change or do slightly differently. But many people say they wouldn't change anything because it would change who or where they are in their life now. The mystery around changing something that happened in the past is so woven into our psyches that there are entire sci-fi genres around time travel and what would happen if you altered the past.
While science fiction movies like "The Butterfly Effect" warn us against tampering with events of the past no matter how small, it doesn't stop people from wondering. A user on Reddit decided to pose a question asking what three words you'd tell your 13-year-old self, and some of the answers were surprisingly heartbreaking. (At 13, you'd think most people would want to tell themselves something silly, like the user who wrote, "Pull my finger.")
Leaving a message to yourself in three words is a tricky feat, and while some warned themselves about trying certain drugs or dating a certain person, others were deeper.
"I'm happy now," one user wrote, elaborating that when they were 13, they had been suffering from depression and many other mental illnesses which led to self-hate. "If my 13-year-old self knew that it is possible for me to be happy and to enjoy my life, I could have avoided that dark period of my life. For everyone who is now fighting their mental problems: Don't give up, it can get better!"
Another wrote, "Live life unapologetically," explaining, "I used to contemplate about ending my life a lot around that age. All I ever wanted then were friends and love. So far, I've gotten one of those two things." Things are looking up for this commenter, and later in her comment she said she's proud of herself for moving forward in life.
Mental health was a continuous theme in the comments along with people who experienced the loss of a parent, but not everything was heart-wrenching.
Several people would tell their 13-year-old self, who likely wouldn't listen, to buy Bitcoin or stocks in Apple. (Imagine going to your young teenage self and expecting them to listen to the adult version of themselves without them questioning how you got there in the first place. It would be impossible to get to the stock advice. You'd also have to explain what stocks and Bitcoin were in order for them to take you seriously. I'm exhausted just thinking about the scenario.)
But outside of confirmations of an improved future and insider trading tips, a surprising number of people shared that they would tell their younger self to take dental hygiene seriously.
"Brush your teeth. Biggest regret is not taking better care of my teeth when I was a kid," one person wrote.
Sound advice that most teenagers could use, honestly. If only when taking those dreaded health classes they informed teens how dental health affects the health of your entire body. A lesson in how expensive dental procedures are would also be beneficial, if we're being completely honest.
I'd tell my younger self, "Just keep writing." What would you tell your 13-year-old self if given the chance?