Dear . . .

Just read a post on this blog where an apparently 40-year-old woman is writing little messages to the younger versions of herself.

I’ve actually been thinking about this very thing lately in terms of my children, principally First and Second Son (21 and 17, respectively), and their unflinching and eternal optimism. I even wrote a poem to First son, once, on this very topic, and posted it on this very blog. You can read it here.

So this gets me thinking, what messages would I send myself, if I could.

To 18: Figure out who you are before you try to figure out who you want to be with.

To 20: It wouldn’t be the end of the world if you had to borrow $1,000 to finish college, so YES, take a year off and backpack through Europe. Once you’re a grown-up you have to be a grown-up for a very long time; what’s your hurry?

To 25: Not using birth control for one night maybe isn’t the best way to decide if you’re ready to have children.

To 26: Yes, there’s now a small, cranky stranger completely dependent on you for everything. You will do your best, and your best will be good enough. He will become a beautiful 20-year old with blue eyes and a generous heart, and you will know that you at least did this one thing well.

To 32: It’s a beautiful house in a crappy town on a busy road; don’t buy it.

To 35: Don’t chase things so hard.

To 40: Don’t despair. It’s not the end yet; it might not even really be the beginning.

To 42: Everyone you’ve ever known, everything that has ever happened, has helped make you who you are, and you kind of like you, so take a deep breath, and from somewhere inside yourself, Thank them.

To 25, 26, 27, 28. . .46  These are beautiful children: pay attention.

To 46: You have everything you need.


Your most powerful moments, leading to the most powerful and positive changes in your life, were those moments when you were willing to close your eyes, open your arms, and leap. Stop being afraid. Take my hand. One.Two.Three. Go.

6 Responses to “Dear . . .”

  1. April 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Very personal and brave of you. Too bad we couldn’t really do this so it would matter. So it would make a difference.

  2. April 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I like this concept and I admire your messages. I wish I could have the retrospective wisdom that you do.

    My message to a very young me would be: You’re not going to do anything you’ll feel good about in your whole life. Have you thought seriously about ending it now or, at the very least deciding not to create another generation to carry the burden of being your offspring?

    • April 12, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      Hi “oldblack” —

      Haven’t seen you here for a while; was beginning to wonder, and missed you a little.

      Your comment saddens me greatly. Do you have someone you can talk to to help deal with these feelings?

      I hate to sound trite, but every day has the potential to be the day that changes everything. What can you do tomorrow?

  3. April 15, 2011 at 2:12 am

    Gee you’re an optimistic person…I come here all the time in the hope that a little of your optimism will rub off on me. I don’t often comment, but I do always look at every posting. Maybe I’ll pick up a bit, but at the moment my response to your question What can you do tomorrow? is A little bit less than yesterday.

    • April 15, 2011 at 8:13 am

      Ah, yes, optimistic — to a fault probably. Helps me get out of bed many mornings, but also sometimes prevents me from having the ability in a bad situation to see that enough might just be enough and maybe I should do something about changing it rather than hoping pathologically that it will just miraculously get better.

      As for the doing less today than yesterday, I’m all for that. Monday-Thursday are about 12-hour days for me; Fridays, 2. (Hence the abundance of blog posts on Fridays.)

      I was actually waiting for your response to my latest poems; you always seem to have something interesting to say about, or are at least interested in, those. Glad to hear you’re still around.

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