Congratulations! You can finally drive. The new freedom that you have just acquired is going to change your life. Your friendships will deepen and your ever-so small view of the world will grow by leaps and bounds.
You are ridiculously responsible, so there's no need to lecture you about avoiding mischief. Go on, grab the bull by the horns and get out there and enjoy your life. It's going to be a wild ride.
By the way, don't get too attached to that cool car that Dad gave you. In a few months, he will sell that beauty and replace it with a junker. You will be stuck with that piece of crap for five long years. On a positive note, it will help keep you humble and purge you of any entitlement that you might feel about your possessions.
I'm sure you've noticed that your family is a giant mess right now. I don't want to alarm you, but things are going to get worse before they get better. Continue to cling to God and to your friends. They will be your life preserver during the storms that lie ahead.
I know you feel a lot of shame about Dad's alcoholism. When you get older you will realize that not everything is what it seemed. All those people who judged you... They had messed up families too, only they were to embarrassed to admit it. Everyone has baggage. Don't be afraid to talk about yours. You might just help a fellow traveler along the way.
In four years, your parents will be divorced. I'm sure that doesn't come as a surprise. Within six you will be estranged from your father. Seven years later you will see him for the last time and he will die, sad and alone, when you are just thirty-eight.
I know that Dad has made so many mistakes in your sixteen short years and, as I'm sure you can guess, he will continue to make more. He will never utter an apology, but in the end, that won't matter. You see, you've been given the miraculous ability to forgive despite the mile-long list of wrongs.
In the months following Dad's death, you will finally be able to appreciate the ways that he was able to positively impact your life... Instilling a spirit of generosity in your heart, a love of the great outdoors, the ability to rig a fishing pole and gut a fish (This probably doesn't seem important now, but trust me, your son will thank you for it later.) and a deep faith and trust in God.
Just like Darth Vader, there was still good in him. You are just going to have to pull out a shovel and dig a little deeper to find it.
Right now, your relationship with your twin sister is fractured. I have some bad news... It's going to stay that way for another ten years. But then, through a whole series of unlikely circumstances, you will become friends. I know it's hard to believe right now, but don't give up hope. You two are going to be like peas and carrots... Bert and Ernie... Simon and Garfunkel. You get the point.
That boy you're dating, the football player, he's not the one. But I'm pretty sure you know that already. The one you're looking for will appear when you least expect him. In just three short years you will be a married woman! In five, the two of you will pack up all your earthly possessions and move across the country on a whim.
You will build a beautiful life together in Nashville. It will be one filled with your fair share of ups and downs, but you will persevere and your marriage will be stronger for it.
You will never get used to the long, humid and hot Southern summers, but don't be dismayed. You will have air conditioning.
In the early years of your marriage, you will talk about your desire to have a "whole house full of kids." Those hopes and dreams will not be your reality. You will have one amazing son, a redhead born on St. Patrick's Day. He will be so wonderful that you will forget you ever wanted more. One will be enough.
For most of your life everyone has told you that you look just like your mom and therefore will look terrible with long hair. Those same people repeatedly tell you that long hair is harder to style. Don't listen to them. It will take some courage, but eventually you will grow out your hair. You will be shocked by how much easier it is and by how lovely you look.
I know that right now you despise your laid-back personality. People keep telling you that it's a bad thing... That it means you are weak. Secretly, you long to be assertive and overly opinionated. Trust me when I tell you that it's not in your nature. You will rise to the occasion when it's needed like a mother bear defending her cub, but the core of who you are will never change.
Besides, being able to roll with the punches will serve you well over the years. As I've said before, it's going to be a bumpy ride. God designed you specifically for your journey so learn to embrace the person He made you to be.
There will be countless times that you will feel like you are adrift in the tumultuous sea of life. Be encouraged. You won't realize it at the time, but you are wearing a life vest. Not only will you will survive, you will even thrive.
At first, you will think that you made it in spite of the odds stacked against you. Later, you will come to realize that each step along the way prepared you for the next. You had to walk this path to become the person you were called to be.
One last thing... When you get your first job at the local tux shop, dump every penny you earn into a little company called Apple. You won't regret it.
Emily over at Chatting at the Sky wrote a letter to her sixteen-year-old self and encouraged her readers to write one of their own. Hop on over to read them or add one to the list.