I have come across this idea of writing a letter to your younger self in three or four different places in the past month. Decided I should take the cosmic hint and write one of my own.
Dear 18yo Barb,
I have a few pieces of advice for you to consider as you rush headlong into your future, because you do indeed rush and leap from one thing to the next. Oh, you don’t make hasty decisions but you do a remarkable job of committing and not looking back. Once you move forward, you’re gone. It’s a quality that will serve you well – particularly when you learn to start appreciating the present while looking towards the future.
Speaking of things that will serve you well… your inherent stubbornness, dependability and loyalty. Want to know what doesn’t serve you well? Your impatience. Try to relax, things will happen when they are supposed to and there still isn’t a way to manipulate time so you might as well embrace it.
What else do I think would be good to know ahead of time?
1. Going to IU will not be the end of the world. I know, I know – you only applied to a state school because you felt like you had to. And yes, you were accepted at some wonderfully impressive institutions of higher learning. Unfortunately they came with an equally impressive price tag. Head to Bloomington and you’ll discover a school that has everything you’re looking for. And don’t waffle around – go ahead and try out for crew, it’s something you’ll regret not doing later. Oh – and choose the RA program instead of moving off campus – your junior year self will thank you, those roommates were hellish.
2. Wear the bikini. You think you don’t have a good enough figure for it. Trust me, it isn’t going to get any better.
3. When your future boss offers flexible work options after the birth of your first child. Take them. Yes, really. And when it comes time to consider the leap to stay at home with that child and work for yourself – don’t hesitate.
4. Try not to take everything so seriously. And keep the attitude that relishes change – it makes things exciting.
5. Eat more chocolate-chip shakes and curly fries from Rax before it closes.
Before I leave I should also tell you that there’s no need to take a break from that high school boyfriend. I know you’re going to colleges in different states but you’re just going to get back together anyway. In fact, you’re going to end up marrying him.
Older (and slightly wiser) Barb
P.S. – 40 doesn’t seem that old after all.