Sixteen Things I Would Tell my Sixteen-Year-Old Self by special guest Lita A. Kurth

“Here is the question: If you could talk to your 16-year-old self, what would you say? What advice, warnings, or encouragement would you give your younger self?”


Sixteen Things I Would Tell my Sixteen-Year-Old Self

  1. Do you know how beautiful youth is?
  2. There is more to discover looking out the window than in the mirror.
  3. There’s an intellectual word called “agency” and it means our ability to influence our lives. Some say we don’t have any; others, that the entire responsibility is ours. I claim our agency is small, but powerful.
  4. You’ll be so happy to remember the times when, in the midst of narcissistic agony, you were able to think of others.
  5. One day you’ll appreciate your mother, when the bread you bake is nowhere near as good as hers, and you can’t seem to get your canning jars to seal.
  6. One day you won’t have to worry so much about money. You’ll buy a hundred-dollar pair of shoes (but you’ll never take it for granted).
  7. People don’t learn much from what’s spoken through a bullhorn. It might be necessary to speak through a bullhorn, but that’s a rare occasion.
  8. Promoting good is better than fighting evil.
  9. There are wonderful rewarding lives to be lived below the radar, niches upon niches, webs upon webs. Partake.
  10. The extremely memorable moments are not the ones unique to you, but the universal ones: lovemaking, parenthood, natural splendor.
  11. You’ll want to be a mother someday.
  12. You’ll get to be a mother someday.
  13. Small and beautiful dreams can come true. To be a published writer is not out of your reach.
  14. For fifteen years you’ll be a runner, yes, you, my little bookworm.
  15. Commitment is magical, just as Goethe said.
  16. The ability to work continually and consistently may be one of the greatest gifts a person can have. Persistence leaves genius in the dust.
Sixteen Things I Would Tell my Sixteen-Year-Old Self by Lita A. Kurth

Lita A. Kurth

______________________________________________________© 2012 Lita A. Kurth

Lita A. Kurth’s Bio:  Lita A. Kurth teaches Composition and Creative Writing at De Anza College and in private workshops and regularly contributes to She has published essays, poems, and short stories in NewVerseNews, Blast Furnace, ellipsis…literature and art, the Santa Clara Review, the Exploratorium Quarterly, Tattoo Highway, and Vermont Literary Review as well as erotica (under a pseudonym) in and An excerpt of her novel was published as a story, “Marius Martin, Proletarian,” and appears in On the Clock: Contemporary Short Stories of Work (Bottom Dog Press). A work of nonfiction, “Pivot” appears in the 2012 University of Nebraska anthology, Becoming.  Here are two websites where Lita’s work can be found: The Review Review and Tikkun Daily.   She holds an MFA from the Rainier Writers Workshop.


  1. Lisa—what a great piece! I love the quote by Goethe….

  2. Delightful! I love the wise tone (“yes, you, my little bookworm” is wonderful). Numbers 8 & 9 speak to me right now. Thank you for this list.

  3. Renée Schell says:

    I like the idea of a list. The ones I especially like are #1 Do you know how beautiful youth is because it speaks to the way we can’t really know how beautiful it is … until it is past. Very poignant. Also love #16 about persistence. So true.
    Nice piece, Lita!

  4. L A Kurth says:

    Oh thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment–much appreciated and big hugs to the sixteen year old still living within you all!

  5. Extraordinary list. “Agency” is so powerful. Have you written about this elsewhere? A deep pleasure to read.

  6. Lita–
    Thank you for sharing your personal list. I especially like “The extremely memorable moments are not the ones unique to you, but the universal ones” That is so true.

  7. L A Kurth says:

    Thank you. I suppose indirectly I’ve written about agency in some of my blogs at; I’ve certainly pondered it a lot

  8. Parthenia Hicks says:

    I really like the list as the form of the message. It’s clean and implies a kind of security that all things that come to pass will ultimately be the “right” things, one way or another. I like so many of them, but I think my favorites are 9 and 16. Thanks so much for this!

  9. I love this list! It’s poignant, beautiful, personal, philosophical, practical–and it rings true. Wow!

Speak Your Mind


10 + nineteen =