Letter To My 16-Year-Old Self: Louise Cooney

Louise, who has just made the move to NYC chats to her teen self.

We chat to some of our favourite well-known people about what they’d say to their teenage-self. They reveal what their teens were like and the advice they’d give for the future.

This week, we hear from top blogger Louise Cooney. The Limerick lady has just recently moved to New York.

Dear 16-year-old Louise,

Where do I even start? You have a crazy 10 years ahead of you. Right now in your life, you are about to face into the Leaving Cert next year, you are drifting from people you thought were your best friends forever, you’ve had your first heartbreak (or so you thought… it felt like it at the time) and you’re very unsure about what lies ahead of you.

Let’s just start by saying that the Leaving Cert is not the be-all and end-all, when you finish it in a years time you will rarely think of it again. You and nobody else in the world will judge your value based on the points you get. Spend a little more time doing what you enjoy, which I know for you then (as it is for me now) is fashion. Make more of those collages from magazines, read more books and really be confident, because that it is something you can eventually make a career out of someday.

You know by now that the best cure for a little heartache is time, this first taste you’ve had of it isn’t the last. The next boyfriend you have sadly isn’t going to be the one you marry, and neither is the one after that. But that’s ok, there is more to life than finding a husband and having kids by your late twenties. Times are different than when our parents were young. You can achieve happiness and everything you want in life by yourself first. Enjoy the relationships though, you’ll learn a lot from them and then you’ll learn a lot from being by yourself too. Focus on being happy and the best version of yourself – in or out of a relationship.

Prioritise and value your friends as much as you do now, forever. Of course, not every friend you’ll make will be your best friend forever, but that’s ok too. You’ll learn to really appreciate the ones who are there through thick & thin, you’ll learn the type of people you need surround yourself with and that won’t change much in 10 years, bar a few new additions. Oh and never stop making friends, you enjoy that and you’re good at it!

Louise in New York aged 16.

Appreciate your family more, I know you’re dying to get out into the world and start exploring but these days living at home with the family are limited. Enjoy the banter, laugh at the silly arguments and remember that not one of them will ever be this age again – they get older as you do. Family are the ones who will be there through everything in life, put them first always. You’ll lose some amazing people in the next ten years and it won’t be easy, try and learn from each one of their lives and take some part of them with you. Write down all the memories you can, because you never want to or will forget them.

Now a few notes just to you:

Believe in yourself more: If you could see yourself ten years from now you’d be so happy with where you’re at. In fact, you probably wouldn’t believe it. As long as you always do something you’re interested in and work hard at it, everything will fall into place.

Stop caring so much what people think: Of course, it’s good to care a little and to rely on your family & friends for advice but you should have more confidence in your decisions. Don’t let others influence you too much, you ultimately know what feels right for you.

Enjoy the journey… that’s where all the fun happens. It’s ok to not be sure, it’s ok to have periods of time where you’re unhappy, those times will teach you things & spark changes that may not have happened otherwise. As Steve Jobs says:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path;and that will make all the difference.”

You’ve got this!

Lots of love,

Louise xxx

P.S. watch the full Steve Jobs speech on YouTube it’s a good one & I’m pretty sure it’s a few more years before you find it 😉

P.P.S. Don’t actually do anything differently in the next ten years, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now. The happiest I’ve ever been!