Letter to my Teenage Self

No matter how you are feeling right now – overwhelmed with school, fitting in with friends and coping as a new Christian – exciting and unexpected opportunities are waiting for you. Never forget how loved you are.

I wish I could travel back in time to tell you that you are worthy and artistic, intelligent and resilient. I know that your time spent at Corinda High school with your friends Jenny and Julie were both testing times and fun. You liked having good friends to ride to school with, sharing secrets and swapping study notes. You had found your passion in art with a great teacher who inspired you with her positive smile and quirky sense of humour.

I know that at times you struggled with your “skinny, flat chested” body especially at swimming carnivals. Even though you were attractive, deep within, you were lacking in confidence with boys. The first kiss came at 16 and the warmth of romance with a Welsh boy called Julian. Even this was hard for you.

Now I would like to be able to tell you that at times you were stubborn and quick to anger at your father who always insisted on punctuality. You were threatened by his strict ways with your boyfriends and his blunt comments about sex.

Your world changed when you became a Christian at school, and with this faith came some criticism and tormenting from friends. But you were always so kind and generous with your time able to speak from your heart.

One of the great adventures and successes in your life comes from your openness to people and your hard work. Even at 16 you knew you wanted to become a teacher, helping and inspiring others. You loved writing poems. I know this creativity to be good at school with your contribution to the magazine Koondoo.

At seventeen your life changes with the Brisbane flood and the impact of this disaster on your family. Your sister and brother are always close by even if you are different from them. It’s a time when your grandmother comes out from Scotland to stay with you and this really tests your father and mother. Regardless of your Senior year being challenged with these extra pressures, you do follow your passion into teaching and studying at University.

Now some advice from me. Be organised as it helps in so many areas of your life. Develop your passions and enjoy them. Keep the contacts with your friends and nurture these for they will strengthen you along the way. Remember to send gifts, birthday cards and special messages. Travel because it will broaden your outlook and perspectives in life. Take some risks to toughen your spirit.

Family and friends and a faith in God are vital. Make sure you give generously to others.

There will be tough times ahead, because everyone struggles. Do not compare yourself to others but be thankful for all that you have.

You are a busy person and need some time to relax. I think that your mind over thinks things so try and pray more, be still.


You will grow from a self conscious teenager who always tries her best to be a grandmother one day surrounded by little ones. Just remember when life gets you down, stand up again, count your blessings and walk an hour at a time. You’ll be heart broken, depressed and sad but this will shift as you forgive.

So Margaret, try not to worry too much. Be brave, thoughtful and loving. There is so much I want to tell you. Be yourself and find your own way. Chances are you will make mistakes along the way and I wish I could comfort you. I can tell you that second chances are real and gratitude is a great remedy for sadness.

And lastly Margaret, learn how to be your own best friend.


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September 5, 2017 at 12:40 am

Really beautiful, Marg. You are a very wise and kind woman in a world where wisdom and kindness are so important and sometimes undervalued.

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    September 5, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Thank you dearly for your thoughtful comment. Your words made me smile.

September 5, 2017 at 8:39 am

Hey, teenager Margaret, i was your neighbour. I remember you… as a child also. I remember your dad and his swear words…never really knew what one of them meant until I was about 14 or so. And, then one of your boyfriends, what was his name ? you know, the one brave enough to have strong words with your father. The one who after those words, stormed up the footpath with you in toe calling out his name asking him to wait. I remember the teenage years when the water came into our homes, and then that big bull…right outside your house…the one they lifted by a bulldozer and it lost its guts in the middle of the street. What fab memories hey. I look at your teenager picture..I remember that face..I remember your Christian outlook on life too, and I knew you would be okay. How you have grown, yes, your inner self is right, you are kind …I remember your times with me you still were my bridesmaid several months later…and you were there for me in my sadness in life… thanks for that mate. You did become a teacher, a good and wise one at that. You also shared your knowledge with kids with your bookclub. No one can say to you, that you haven’t stood up again after stumbling through things that have happened in your life. Here you are! The confident, loving, kind, organised, well travelled grandma that you are!

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    September 5, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Hey! my precious, childhood neighbour, Joy, it’s good that you remember so much about me, us and the happenings in our lives. From a childhood swing, to your dog Chubby, playing Mousetrap in your lounge room, the bloated cow in the flood, my father’s swearing, the real live Christmas tree decorated in your house, to countless conversations – I am truly thankful. We both face this decade of our sixties together!! Marg

Jenni Cox
September 5, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Beautifully written Margaret. i was blessed to have you as a friend then and am still blessed now. It would be lovely to give our teenage selves some advice – it would have really helped through those wonderful trying heart-breaking times.Keep writing my friend. Love Jennl

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    September 6, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Thanks Jenni! We had fun playing volleyball with the boys at school and learning to dance in the hall – I am glad our friendship has always grown and we can celebrate turning 60 together! Marg

M.J. Gibbs
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