Very often we hear about the things people would say to their younger selves; advice from an older, wiser, more experienced you. There are books, articles and songs expressing just what, exactly, we would say.
Oh you got so much going for you going right
But I know at 17 it’s hard to see past Friday night
I wish you’d study Spanish
I wish you’d take a typing class
I wish you wouldn’t worry, let it be
I’d say have a little faith and you’ll see
– Brad Paisley, “Letter To Me”
Personally, I spend so much time thinking about my future, where my life is headed and how much it and I will change with each passing year. I can’t help but think about – if given the chance – what I’d say to my older self, in case she forgets what it once felt like to be the me that is me right now. Among other things, I’d be sure to mention these three key points.
1. You followed the path that felt right at the time. There was no saying where it would take you, or the happiness or challenges it would bring with it, but I can tell you that you spent a lot of time and energy thinking about your future. There was no clear path, and there were certainly forks in the road. At least one full year during your mid-twenties you agonized over every move you made. You hoped you would be happy with the choices you made 10, 20, 30 years down the road. It was immense pressure, because you cared about the outcome.
2. Some days you wanted to cave (and once in a while you did), but for the most part you treated your body like the sacred temple it was and still is by not abusing it or slowly destroying it. This meant no drugs, no smoking, no excessive amounts of alcohol or unhealthy foods. You were active 80 percent of the time and were extra cautious with your back and knees. It also meant you wore sunscreen and didn’t kill your hair with chemicals. You even flossed every night. Yes, it was all in anticipation of the years ahead and wanting to be as healthy and as intact as naturally possible. You’re welcome.
3. It’s likely that some of your relatives have passed on since the time of this writing. I’m sure the sadness does not get easier. Remember how you dreaded this feeling of missing their voices, their stories, their company? You were smart to not take them for granted while they were still here on earth. You called often, you said ‘I love you’ often, and you did not hold back on hugs and kisses. Have no regrets, they had no reason not to believe you adored them with all your heart.
What would you say to your older self?