An Open Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self

BY: Janis Gaudelli – “Champion of Truths, Unicorns & AWE-tism”

Have you ever come across a photo of yourself when you were younger and feel immediately transported back to that place and time?  Then, when you’re back in that place and time, did you ever want to pass along something to your younger self?  Some “need to knows” that will set your younger mind at ease, so you can live your life unrestricted?  Yeah, me too.

This happened to me about a month ago when I came across a photo of my 16-year-old self. As I studied that picture (after laughing at my outrageously massive 80’s hair), I noticed a vacancy in my eyes.  Looking closer, I noticed my smile was a bit forced and unconvincing.  If there had been a thought bubble above my head it would have read: “Help, I am lost. Save me.”

16meMy 16-year-old self

At 16, I was confused, scared, sad and navigating life with a broken compass.  Looking at that photo, I was transported back into the skin of my 16-year-old self. I could feel her anxiety, her restlessness. She was concerned about her next move and how the hell she would escape the space she currently occupied.  She needed help, guidance, and some encouragement that things were going to be okay.

It was in that moment where I felt I owed it to myself to assist the younger me.  So, I took the picture, pinned it to the corkboard in front of my desk, and reached for my journal to start writing a letter to 16-year-old self.  This letter wasn’t so much a forewarning to my younger self, because she needed to learn all the lessons life would throw her way, to become the woman she is today.  This was a letter to let her know– and to reiterate to the 47-year-old me– that despite the twists, turns and detours of life, she did good and I am proud of her.







So, what would you pass along to your 16-year-old self?  I encourage you to pull out a picture of your younger self, study it, get a feel for what he/she needs to know, and then write her/him a letter.  It’s a gratifying and heartwarming activity.  I can guarantee you will feel grateful for how well the older you has fared on your life journey thus far.


Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels.  She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways.  Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living.  Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 7-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.


8 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self

  1. I believe 16 yrold Janis would be very proud of who she became because it was always there to be cultivated. You did it. The only thing she might question is why you didn’t keep the hair! lol


  2. Wow! Beautiful…. such an awesome writer…I agree with mom…. write a book & then you can add it to the ” An open letter to my 16 year old self ” 😍😍
    Cheers ! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great job Jan! I think I’m going to have to find a picture of this 58/16 year old and write a letter. I’m not a writer at all. I don’t journal never have. I’ve never even kept a diary as a young girl but I feel the need after reading what you wrote to go back to my teenage me and see what comes out of this head onto paper. Thanks for the push and for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks Kelly. For me it was incredibly healing. I hope it is for you too. And guess what, i was never a writer, still don’t consider myself one, but once you put pen to paper…something magical happens xo


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