I Guess I Always Knew

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Yesterday, I read a great post on Freshly Pressed by Susan on her blog Three Cats on a Sofa.  It is called Letter to My Past Self.  I contemplated her idea.  What would I write to give the younger me more insight and more direction?

While I like the idea, it struck me that the younger me didn’t want to hear it.  As a young adult, a time for me of selfish indulgence, I needed to break free and make it in the world…or not.  I needed to fall flat, make mistakes, and get dirty.  I needed to be inefficient and poor, impulsive and stupid.  There wasn’t anything a “real” adult could have said to make me a better decision maker.  I just needed time to grow up.

Ironically, I grew up when I listened to me, the child. The youngest me remembers skipping to Kindergarten on a beautiful sunny spring day wearing the dress covered with lavender flowers and pale green leaves that my mom made for me.  I remember the unmasked and unfiltered joy that I felt just being in that moment.

When I was about 10 years old, my dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I said, “I don’t know.  I just want to make people happy.”

He said, “Awww, that’s no kind of job.”

Little did either he or I know at the time, but I grew up to be a professional juggler and children’s entertainer. My career is to make people happy.

And now, I write.  I write for the joy of expressing what I see and hear and feel.  And I write children’s stories to share that joy.  I not only get to tell a story that I hope will be fabled or funny, inspiring or adventurous, but to facilitate a relationship between a child and a someone who loves them enough to share that moment.  How cool is that?

So what will you do?  Write a letter to your younger self or let your younger self write to you?

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7 responses »

  1. I don’t think my younger self would listen to me, either. As for her writing to me, I think she does that everyday, every time I feel like I should be doing “something” with my life (like trying to make lots of cash), she reminds me that I’m happy, and that things unbroken don’t need fixing. ^_^

  2. Sometimes I marvel at the past “me.” From the beginning of school I worked hard, was a bit competitive and wanted as many “A’s” as I could get. I tended to not follow a path like my friends when it came to trends like rock bands, tube tops, smoking and pizza–I gave into the pizza. As my friends were getting married, I joined the army as an officer in the medical specialist corps, completing my internship an as occupational therapist.

    I would like my past “me” to sometimes remind the present “me”, “Wow! Look at the things you’ve done and accomplished. Don’t be afraid to attempt new challenges.”

    Advice to a younger self would be to really cherish friendships and family. I’ve been lucky to reconnect with some childhood friends and it’s been a blast. It’s like we were never apart for 40 years or more. With our children on their own, we are like teenagers all over again.

    I’d pass on my regrets that I wasn’t interested so much in family history and relatives. Now I’m finding old family albums with no clue as to the stories behind the photos–some going back to the civil war. My parents are gone and a wealth of immigrant history is gone with them.

    Bits of the past me are still in there and I smile when they come out in my writing.

  3. I love this! As I always do your posts.
    Hmmm, though the younger me doesn’t appear to be that much different to the older me; I still make silly slip ups and childishly speak before I think… It’s a fun ride though, this growing up lark. Should have probably reached ‘grown up’ by now, at 28, though… 😉

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