What Advice Would You Give to Your 16-Year-Old Self?

We thought this was going to be all about missed opportunities for sex. Surprisingly, however, New Yorkers are more thoughtful than that.

We’ve all made mistakes, especially when we were teenagers. Did you do too many drugs? Not enough drugs? Did you have too much sex too soon or avoid having sex for too long? Whatever your regrets, you'd probably like to think that you're wiser now that you’re older. Maybe you’d be able to put your 16-year-old self on the right track if you only had the ability to go back in time and impart him or her with some of your hard-earned knowledge. But what exactly would you say? We asked some people:

Olympia: Are you really asking us to think on our holiday?

Sorry to impose.
I would say "yes" to sex.

 That’s it? Just sex?
Yes to sex, drugs, and rock and roll!

What about you? 
I’d say "no" to sex, drugs, and rock and roll!

Marilyn: You won't look awkward forever.

Did you look awkward?
I was so awkward. I was the biggest loser in high school. I just was an awkward person. I guess I still am.

How did you become less awkward?
Confidence. I think going to college and not being around all those high school people made me realize I could make new friends.

Alexis: Not to sweat high school so much. Don't be concerned with going to parties. Focus on school. College parties are a lot better than high school parties ever were, and I could have done a lot better in school. I should have focused on academics instead of making friends.

Aaron: Be careful who you date. I wasted a lot of time and money.

Would you listen to the future you?
Probably not.

How do you think your life would be different if you did listen to yourself in this strange hypothetical situation?
I would have saved myself a lot of headaches. And a whole lot of money.

Tom: Don't drink and drive.

How would your life be different?
I could have saved a lot of money if I had made smarter decisions.

How would you communicate with your younger self? 
I would have to slap him a few times to get the message across.

What were you like as a 16-year-old? 
A crazy version of myself. I wasn't very safe. I jumped before I thought about anything. I was just dumb.

Jean-Luc: I wouldn’t tell myself anything that would change anything. If I had to tell myself anything it would be to just keep moving forward. I’d want to make it easier for myself to do what I’ve done.

And what’s that?
Succeed, really. I’ve always had trouble just getting the things done in my life that I’ve needed to get done. Be it academics or anything else. And just reminding myself would've helped me out a lot.

Tori: I’d probably just tell myself—I don’t know how much I’d be able to convince my 16-year-old self of this—to not worry about what people are trying to tell you, what people think that you are. 

Why would you tell yourself that?
Because it’s irrelevant. You’re not going to change for other people no matter how much they want you to. So don’t listen to them. You can just exist. That’s your job, it's just to exist. You don’t have to be better. You don’t have to be whatever people expect. You can just be.

Previously - How Do You Pronounce .Gif?