Friday, June 26, 2015

A Letter to My Younger Self

I came across this article, TIps for Writing a Letter to Your Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins this week.  What a great idea to write to your younger self!  Not just to tell them what they should have done, but to give them hope and loving guidance.  Here's mine.  It is to the girl who was afraid to explore the world and be independent.  Especially since I met my travel-loving husband, Jim, I've explored many parts of the country and the world, done all sorts of things I never thought I would, and lived a pretty cool life all around.  Here's what I had to say to her:
Dear Amy,
Me at 5 years old.  
Starting school was both exciting and unsettling.
You're terribly shy.  You're afraid to speak for yourself, afraid to stand out, afraid of getting into trouble.  You're afraid if you step out into the world or try something new, you'll get hurt.  You are unsure of yourself, you lack confidence, you're afraid to fail, you feel that you are weak.  All these things are holding you back.
My advice is to please stop letting fear keep you from living your best life possible.  Yes, you'll face challenges, and yes, you might get hurt.  You'll fail over and over again, but you'll also get back up and try again, and again, and yes, you'll experience the exultation of winning too.  You'll also experience times of pure happiness, and come across beautiful sites and sounds and people and places you'd never dream exisited.  You'll be inspired and enchanted.  You'll be moved to tears of joy and peals of laughter. 
You're alive Amy.  Think of it.  That wasn't a done deal, you know.  You could have given up.  You could have died.  But you didn't.  Weak, you say?  Surviving and thriving when up against great odds is not weakness.  That takes strength.  Yes, others helped; doctors, family, friends, clergy, therapists, and countless others stood by you and offered valued support. But no one can help someone who doesn't want to be helped.  You had to have the will in you to survive or you wouldn't have.  
Me at age 14, on the cusp of change.
Take that strength and build on it.  Believe in yourself, be curious, love yourself and let others do the same.  Welcome people into your life who want to help you live a healthy, full, and vibrant life.  Resist lovingly others who try to make all your decisions for you and make life easier for you.  Tear down the walls that you have built around you.  Celebrate life and explore the world outside your comfort zone.   
Trying something new can be frightening, yes.  But it also can be empowering and exciting.  Embrace driving as a way to become more independent rather than something to fear.  And go to college for what you want to.  Do what makes your heart sing, not what you think other people expect you do to.  That college counselor who tells you what he thinks you should major in?  Tell him what's what!  Tell him he's wrong.  
One last thing:  Don't worry so darned much about, well, everything!  Has it ever done you any good?  Have your worries ever turned out to come true to the extent you thought they would?  No.  So, chill out, live each day to the fullest, treat each day as a great adventure, and be eager to see what will happen next instead of fretting about it.  
This is your life; be in charge of it.
Okay, who's up to the challenge of writing a letter to your younger self?  Give it a try.  And if you would like to share it with me, I'd love that.  But if you'd rather keep it to yourself, that's perfectly understandable too.  Do what feels right to you.

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