Monday, November 28, 2011

To My 18 Year Old Self

Dear 18 year old Self;

I've decided to write you a letter of sorts.  Not because "You've come so far since then"...or even because you'll listen.

Clearly, you will not.

You are me and here I am.  Writing you a letter 15 years after the fact.

I simply want to reflect upon that time in our life.

Call it a purging of the mind.  Call it cathartic.  Call it wanting to remember before I forget.  Call it whatever you will.

Here are some of the things I would've told you if 33 year old me were to meet 18 year old me.

Or.  Maybe not.

Because lessons are learned when experiences are made.  Never when you are told what or what not, to do.  Or be.


First of all, like the ways of the water we'll start shallow and go deeper.

* Love your body (though not to the point of being completely narcissistic).  Admire that perfectly unique belly button that one day you will not recognize, that flat tummy, those strong, shapely arms, your 'bubble butt'. Stop standing in front of a mirror and analyzing all of your faults.  You are perfectly lovely...appreciate that now...soon it'll all be going down hill.

But it's worth it.

*Wear some sunscreen will you?  Yes we all look better with a bit of bronze but indoor sunbeds and the actual sun will do damage to your skin and you'll be cursing it upon your first sunspot and frown lines that appear in none too short of time.

But you still look better with a tan.  Sorry.

*Don't cut your hair short a la Halle Berry.  That was just a bad decision all around.  Though it looked great in the beginning it takes too long to style everyday and if you don't do anything with it you'll look like you have a small fuzzy animal taking up residence on your head.

You will also be convince that more women than men are hitting on you.  Plus it'll take forever to grow out which means you'll be going through too many years of bad hairness.

*Stay close with your best friend, Erin.  Even though at times she may drive you as crazy as she thinks she is, she's one of the greatest, most inspiring people you'll ever come to know.  Unfortunately, she will move away (a decision you greatly disagree with for many reasons) but you will keep in touch.  It is difficult having a best friend so far away but it also gives you a beautiful place to visit when you need to get away.  Believe or not she will settle down and marry.  A little later than you would've wished.  For the sake of your sanity and hers.  But she does.  And not with the asshat you thought she would.  You'll actually really like her husband.

*Quit playing around with those boys hearts.  Though you are young and I suppose it's your right of passage as an 18 year old girl to break some hearts you will end up having not one but TWO boys some day and karma's a bitch.  You're gonna want to stomp on those tramps hearts if they so much as think about breaking your sons'.

*Speaking of boys.  Yes, you will meet 'the one.'  Sooner than you may think although you don't know him yet.  He'll sweep you off your feet and then some.  You will inform him after a just a fews weeks of dating that you will not be having his children or any one else's for that matter.  (it's just a stage you're going through).  He'll humour you, knowing you better than you know yourself at times.  He will also take way too long about five years to ask for your hand in marriage but he will eventually ask you to marry him.  Soon after you will have two beautiful boys together.

Congratulations.  You made the perfect choice.  He's a wonderfully supportive husband and makes a fantastic Daddy too.

Shortly after you marry you will have to move to another city.  You'll have a hard time without your family and friends around, especially after your first son is born.  You will suffer from PPD but will not know it until years later.  You will find out because of this time that you are much stronger than you ever believed yourself to be.

You are also going to lose a couple of friends that you thought would be there for a lifetime.  It'll feel terrible and you'll second guess the person you are, though no one is completely to blame.  You will learn from it. It will take a few years to get your groove back, so to speak.  But you will.  In time.  You will meet some wonderful people along the way too. Keep in touch.  Be open.  And, most importantly, be yourself.

*Stop worrying so much.  About EVERYTHING.  Holy moly for the love of your brain and central nervous system take it down a notch.  But you don't need me to tell you that.  The older you get the more laid back you become.  (though your husband may beg to differ)...I know you best.  You have.

*Self-esteem and confidence.  You can have one without the other.  It's seems a paradoxical statement but I believe it to be true. That confidence you've lacked for so long will grow.  Slowly but surely.  You just need to start believing in yourself....

*No, you don't know what you want to do with your life.  Social worker, teacher, restaurant owner, office manager, stay at home mom.  That's okay.  You'll end up choosing the right path. (may there be many more to come).  It's the most stressful, exhausting, beautiful, energizing, all encompassing, challenging, amazing, rewarding, unrewarding, overwhelming decision you've ever made.  And it is worth it.  Nothing, no words or other past experience can describe how life changing it will be, but when you become a Mother you'll know that that is best thing you've ever done.

And you're pretty good at it.  Though somedays you think you really, really suck at it.

That's okay too.  All mother's feel the same.  You must always remember that.

*Someday all this crazy stuff that runs through your head, second to second, minute to minute will have a place to go.  And that's here.  You'll meet some great people and you'll find comfort and solace on those days when you feel like your brain and body might combust at any minute.  You'll find a new passion and love for something.

That's always a positive thing.

Continue to be good to yourself.

Believe in yourself.

You've done a great job at life as you know it so far.

I'm proud of you.

Love, (always)

Your 33 year old self


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Ellen said...

I'm proud of you too.

Ado said...

Yet another great post.
As I was reading it I had an "Aha!" moment as I realized that not only my 18 year old self was reading and learning from the wisdom in it, but the me-here-now-today was, too!

Ado said...

I posted a comment just now.
I am looking for it.
Hmmm. Wondering what happened to it...

Denise said...


Jessica said...

This is perfect, amazing the things we learn over time and what we thought was important then. I did the short hair cut thing long before 18 and luckily learned my lesson then.

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

hi :) Glad to have found your blog....I agree with so much of this. I had PPD and didn't know it until my baby was almost 11 months old! Amazing how things work out huh?

Anonymous said...

I swear, even if we were to get these letters delivered to our 18-year-old selves, it's not like they'd listen.

Youth is wasted on the young.

Ado said...

Duh, here I am with a 3rd comment! (-:
I agree with MamaMash, youth is completely and utterly wasted on the young! (-:

XLMIC said...

What a great reflection. And isn't that so true...about learning from our own experiences. We just seem so hell-bent on that, don't we? It is wonderful that it is all turning out beautifully :)

Mommy2¢ said...

Powerful letters, aren't they?! I laughed and cried like a baby when I wrote my letter to my 18 year old self for Jamie's Meme on her blog. If only we could really go back in time to have a little sit down with ourselves at 18 yrs old.

Cookie's Mom said...

What a nice thing to do for yourself... selves. I think it would be cathartic for sure, and maybe even a little fun, to look back at what might have been had I not made those 2 or 3 - ok, bajillion - mistakes. But, then we become who we are through the mistakes, don't we?

Great post!

Laura@Catharsis said...

I wrote a letter to myself this past summer, and I included a lot of the same stuff as you, especially the wear sunscreen part (and this was before I discovered I had skin cancer this fall!) and the love your body part. So important yet so difficult for an eighteen year old to realize.