Dear Young Me,
Hi there. It’s the Almost-Middle-Aged Me. (I know many would debate that I’m already there, but that’s an argument for another day.) Even though you consider yourself to be a sensible girl (and I wouldn’t entirely argue this), I’d like to enlighten you on a few important points. Please, read carefully….
To the Elementary School Me:
- Treasure your birthdays, even more than you already do. It is a rare gift to be able to share a birthday with a great-grandmother born in 1898. Be grateful for these years, because they are fleeting.
- Keep a diary. Write every day. The Grown-up You will be intrigued by what is important to you and wants to see life through your young eyes.
- Your teeth will look terrific in a few years. Hang in there!
To the Middle School Me:
- Do not fret that the neckgear and bionator (a medieval torture device for the mouth) will ruin your life. Again, you’re on the way to awesome choppers.
- Make sure to thank Mama and Daddy for making sacrifices in order to pay for the aforementioned torture devices. (And for digging through the garbage at Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse looking for the mouthpiece that you absent-mindedly wrapped in a paper napkin.)
- Do not wear Jams. If you must wear Jams, do NOT under any circumstances allow yourself to be photographed. (Younger folks, please see photo above right. Don’t judge.)
- Ask Daddy to help you with your writing assignments. Don’t wait until high school. You could improve skills that you carry throughout your life.
To the High School Me:
- Choose your friends wisely. Discover who is just a friend on the surface. Spend more time with the friends who have depth. These are the friends you will keep with you forever.
- Take Spanish, for God’s sake. Who speaks French anyway?
- Spend more time with your grandmothers. Ask them what their favorite books are, then read them. Ask them to tell you stories about when they were your age. You can learn so very much.
- Thank Mama for driving you 45 minutes to and from your dance lessons in another town and waiting in the car just because the school was the only one offering modern dance.
- Don’t be so self-conscious. It’s OK to speak your mind, even in front of a class full of people. High schoolers are too absorbed in themselves to pay you any attention anyway.
To the College Me:
- Do not decline the offer of free private ballet lessons just because you consider the instructor to be a female dog. That female dog sees something in you that she wants to cultivate.
- Write more letters to your family. They miss you. You will prize those letters that you receive in return and will reread them decades later.
- Invest in a camcorder. Yes, you’ll remember so many of those times you laughed until you could not breathe with the girls you lived with. The Older Me would give anything to plop down today with those same girls and a bottle of Boone’s Farm and laugh all over again.
To the Recent College Graduate Me:
- Do not live so large. Don’t think, “I deserve it,” think, “Do I need it?”
- Go visit your sister more often. Go out on the town. Pretty soon, children will come tumbling and giggling into the picture. They will enrich your lives more than you can know but you’ll have few opportunities for grown-up time.
- Do your best to make a few extra trips to visit your sister and her family when she’s a new mom. Soak up your tiny nephew. You’ll blink and he’ll be in college. And save the mom jeans for when you actually need them.
To the Mid 20s Me:
Do not fear that you’ll never meet The One even though your friends are starting to get married. Keep churning and burning through the men. Through the roller coaster rides, you are learning to be a better partner.
To the Late 20s Me: Trust the man you fall in love with. He’ll propose when the time is right.
To the Mid 30s Me:
- Take a little time to suck it up and learn how to play Xbox. It’s one of the best ways to build a bridge between you and your teenaged stepson.
- Do not despair about your difficulty conceiving. You will be abundantly blessed with twins in a few years.
Finally, to the New Mom Me:
Document your life. You feel like the fatigue is swallowing you whole, so there is much you do not remember about the newborn months. Push through your exhaustion with gratitude for the miracle of motherhood. Know that each day that passes is one day closer to that first glorious morning that you and your family will sleep through the night. The rewards will be plentiful beyond description.
So that’s it in a nutshell. You are one very lucky girl. I know that you know that. Say your prayers every day. And don’t change a thing about WHO you are. Always treat yourself and others with great tenderness. Be proud and forever grateful.
Until next time….