Daily Archives: November 18, 2011

A Note to My Younger Self

I don’t write in a journal though I’ve read that it’s a great way to get your thoughts down on paper instead of them clogging your brain.  You can then refer back to them,  think about how you’ve dealt with them, note if there’s an issue that’s still bothering you, keep track of how you’ve progressed in your life, jot down what you’re grateful for.  When I was younger I had a diary, but it was mostly a log of what I did every day, nothing very interesting.  The most revealing notes about my personal life I found in letters my mother saved that I’d written to her when I was away at college.

Now that I’m no longer “young” I wonder what letter I would write to my younger self.  What advice would I give to the Young Patti now that I have so many years tucked under my emotional belt.  Writing this was really hard.  I had to dig deep into my youth, kick up clumps of emotional dirt, to unearth what I’d like to tell myself.  So, here goes:

Dear Patti:

You’re only sixteen years old.  I get that.  But when you think that you may live until you’re 90+ years old, how come you think that you know it all at such a young age?  Wouldn’t it stand to reason that your parents might have a teensy weensy bit of knowledge and wisdom gained from having lived for a few more years than you?  What is life if not a gathering of life experiences that form who we are, right?  And sometimes older people have some worthwhile advice to lend you, if and when you have problems and questions when you’re growing up.  They don’t want to live your life for you, nor do they want to tell you what to do.  All your parents want is to help you along your path, perhaps guide you down a road that you may not have known even existed.  They may want you to look at other options so that you’ll have a more well-rounded view of what lies ahead of you.

No one knows what the future will bring.  No one.  Unexpected events WILL mark your path.  And most of your pals will not have lived long enough to experience much.  So, sometimes they aren’t the best people to go to for advice.  They, too, have their own questions for which they have no answers.  Not that your parents will have those answers FOR YOU.  But, given the fact that they’ve known you since you were a child, perhaps you’ll discover their ideas aren’t as outdated and dinosauric as you think.

I know you think anyone over 25 years old is a relic from the past, with one foot in the grave and the other on a slippery slab of ice.  But when you’re older, you WILL understand how much you DIDN’T know at 15, 16, 17, 18 and older.  You will see that your parents weren’t totally full of ideas no longer useful to your generation.  They really did have something interesting to say to you.  And they wanted to talk to you about life because they love you.  They wanted to help you out..

Listen to them.  You might find out they can indeed impart a few worthy words to you about what it’s like to grow, to age, and to mature.

What about you?  What would YOU tell your younger self?

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