Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dear 21-Year-Old Me

Making progress on my little sister's quilt. Gotta have it done by her birthday this weekend!

 This morning my son found our engagement picture and laughed, as children do when they see younger versions of their parents. It was only 12.5 years ago, but wow, so much has changed since then! As I sat there working on the quilt, I thought of all the things I would tell 21-year-old me... not that she would listen;)

I would tell her:
  • Relax! Watch your life unfold with wonder, take it as it comes, and love it for what it is.
  • Don't try to fix everything and everyone. Know when to keep your mouth shut and when not to get involved in someone else's drama.
  • Don't be so trusting of people. Expect to be hurt and only put your trust in those who are worth the heartache.
  • Be patient. With yourself, with others, with life.
  • Perfection is an illusion. There is no such thing, so don't be so upset when you can't achieve it.
  • Push yourself! Work hard! Earn what you want, don't expect it to just happen because Dad said that your life would be great. He was talking about potential, not about a lucky free ride.
  • Let go of the guilt and toxic shame that you carry around. Forgive yourself.
  • You cannot make everyone like you or agree with you. You are not that special. But what others think does not determine your worth.
  • Take care of your body! Exercise and eat right and value your health and strength.
  • Stay put in your first apartment. Finish school, get a job, build a life slowly. Don't get pregnant 3 months after your wedding. Don't buy a house at 22. Stop rushing to reach milestones or keep up with others.
  • Your life will be nothing like what you imagined, so go ahead and get used to that fact.
 Some of these things are cliche', some common, and some unique to me and my personal brand of naivete' (which might be a nice word for "stupid"). But each is a hard-earned lesson that fills me with gratitude instead of regret. Each has a story that, when strung together, helps make up the sum total of who I am today. I survived all of that, I'm recovering from the aftermath, and have so much more wisdom going forward. In another 12.5 years I will probably be able to write a similar list to the 33-year-old me... but hey, that's growth. :)

1 comment:

Pieces of Cotton said...

I would have to go back farther than 21 to correct some of the ways I've screwed up my life.

That is such a cute picture of you two.