I am writing these notes to my former self about once a month. When I was growing up and a young woman I used to long for someone to give me advice and tell me that it was going to be okay. I wanted someone to help me make decisions and avoid the pitfalls. I didn't have that person then, but I look back now and give myself the advice I wish I had been given.
From the look of this picture I would guess it is around 1969? You have contacts and you are sweet sixteen! It was the groovy era, but you and your family were as traditional and non-modern as they come. And that is a good thing. You have family values which will take you places the help you to resist some of the temptations of the world out there. You were afraid that you wouldn't be savvy enough to handle yourself in big cities and real life, but you were. And you are now the shortest member of your family. Even your little sister is taller at eleven!
The groovy era passed and then came back tamer with bad fashion but without the hateful self involved edge that it had in 1969. In the future there will be different hates and more introverted self involvement. But in 1969 what you wanted to know was--what should you do with the rest of your life? It looked like you were going down the road to become a school librarian. And you did that, and you liked it. It was a good choice. You knew your own mind even then.
Like so many girls at sixteen you thought that you were ugly and fat and no boy would ever like you, ever want to marry you. But from the future I can look at this picture and say--you were cute as a button and any boy would have to be crazy not to love you. And one did. Like most of the hopes and fears that you had at the time this picture was taken, things worked out. Not to say other unexpected problems didn't crop up, but most of your fears at 16 turned out fine.
If I could give a piece of academic advice I would say--don't take physics, it wasn't for you. And in college, take that junior high education course you registered for and dropped because you might need it someday. And wisely, after this picture, you stopped making your own clothing even though you were a Betty Crocker Future Homemaker of Tomorrow. That was a good call, my dear.
Love to you,
Your future self