First and foremost, enjoy your last year living in London. You don’t know this yet, but you’re going to be moving back to the states next summer and it’s going to be a really difficult adjustment.
With that said, keep in mind that the adjustment will be easier if you don’t spend the entire summer hiding in your new house making collages because you’re too intimidated by how skinny and blonde everyone is in California.
The first friends you meet in California will not be good or true friends, but don’t worry, halfway through Junior year in high school you’ll meet amazing people and they’ll make the trauma of an across-the-Atlantic-ocean move worth it. Appreciate these friends, but don’t get quite so cliquey.
Which is to say that maybe referring to yourselves as “the Cool 6” out loud and in public isn’t the best way to go.
Let’s see, what else? Oh, right, when that cute guy tries to pick you up on the street at the church carwash, don’t give him your number. He will ruin a large part of your life.
Stop saying “like” so much.
Keep a journal, and when you’re writing in it, try to write about things other than boys. Write about your family and your friendships, write about your goals and your fears. Try not to be shallow.
You are not fat. No, really, you’re not. No, not even a little bit.
Be a little more open minded about colleges. Yes, NYU is great, but other schools are great too and are worth looking at without the “I don’t care because if I don’t go to NYU I’m going to die” blinders on.
Don’t drink mass quantities of vodka and cranberry juice on an empty stomach when Marc is house sitting. You have only drank twice before and have no idea how to hold your liquor. Purple vomit isn’t pretty. Your friends cleaning up your purple vomit is even less pretty. Eat a sandwich and have a beer instead.
Apply for more scholarships. Repaying your student loans is such a heinous and financially debilitating suckfest and it will eat up a huge portion of your income from after you graduate college until forever.
Push yourself. Break that awful habit you have of immediately quitting/giving up on things that you aren’t instantly and naturally good at.
Be more compassionate of your mom when she’s hospitalized.
Don’t buy so many shirts from Abercrombie & Fitch with tongue-in-cheek sexual sayings on them. A reference to water polo girls “doing it better in the water” isn’t cute on a 16 year old. Actually, this shirt isn’t cute on anyone. You don’t even play water polo. You don’t even know how to play water polo.
And you look like a slut. So yeah, cut that shit out.
Work on not taking everything so seriously. I know you have never been good at moderation (I hate to tell you that unfortunately, this doesn’t change, you simply become more aware of the problem and discuss it endlessly with your therapist), but try. Not everything is the be-all-end-all of your existence.
Take more pictures.
Do not allow yourself to get dragged into the mess between your parents. When your mom tries to overshare about it, tell her that although you love her, you want to preserve your mother-daughter relationship. Tell her you love your father and that you feel she’s crossing the line. The payoff from this will outweigh every other piece of advice I could give you.
And, lastly, I want you to know two things: that you’re responsible for your own happiness, and that the things you think are earth shatteringly important usually aren’t.
The best and most important moments are those that happen on the sidelines, on the fuzzy edges of everything else.
Nicole, age 24