Driving home from work last night, I turned on the country station and heard Brad Paisley singing his song “A Letter to Me.” Basically it’s a song about him writing a letter to his younger 17-year-old self. It got me to thinking (because everything gets me thinking), what would I say if I wrote a letter to me.
I definitely wouldn’t want to tell myself about each and every mistake I made so I could change course and not make them. If it weren’t for every step, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I wouldn’t have the amazing husband and 4 wonderful kids I have. That being said, there are some things I could tell my younger 17-year-old self. No, this will not be in song verse.
Wear the bikini. Stop obsessing over your weight, because at 105 lbs, you are THIN. Don’t let other people’s problems with their weight be a reflection on you. Ignore the comments about putting on a couple of pounds. Trust me, it will set you up to obsess about it for life. And when you’re pushing 50, you’d kill to see 105 again (only if it’s healthy though, not cancer 105).
Travel while you can. You say that you are gonna travel and see the country one day. But life gets in the way. You get to be too busy making a living, raising up a family. Time slips away and money is tight and the dreams you had to see the sights go down the tubes. Get out and see the beauty of this world while you can.
Don’t pick a college because of a boy. Ok, that would change my future, so I’ll have to let that one go. But maybe that’s a note for my kids – do NOT pick a college based on a boyfriend/girlfriend. This is your life, your choice. And what happens when you follow the boy to college, then break up?
Stop and take your time picking a career path. If you don’t know, don’t just choose Liberal Arts cuz you’re gonna figure it out eventually. Put some thought into it, because you live with the consequences for the rest of your life. And if you don’t have a passion for what you’re doing, it’s soul-sucking to go to that job every day.
When your high school friend dies, go to the funeral. Even if your spouse at the time tells you no, get up off your ass and go say goodbye.
Listen to Gram’s stories. Take notes, write them down. She’s telling you the history of the family. Some people don’t know their history. Ours is a rich one. Listen to her stories about raising her family on the farm, baking loaves of bread daily, feeding the ranch hands. Because one day she’ll be gone, and the farm will be sold, and all you’ll have is the memories. Good thing you took pictures! For that matter, talk to Jane more. She was more like a sister than an aunt. Talk to her while you still can.
I know it’s cliché that people tell you that life goes by too fast, but it’s true. One day you’re in high school and the next day you’re coming up on your 30 yr reunion. As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Take the time to look around, don’t miss out on the best years.