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A word to the wise: letters to the younger us – part 1.

Posted in About Us, Life & Love, and Relationships

With my friend Liane
With my friend Liane (r) – at 17.

Sofagirl:   The woman on the sofa next to me was paging through a book called “What I Know Now About Success”, as she drank her no-caffeine-fat-free-sugarless-no-choc-on-top cappuccino (seriously, why bother?) … and she didn’t have the courtesy to return it to the shelves. Which irritated the hell out of me, reading the books while we sip our coffee is a privilege – not a right. As I returned it to the shelf, I took a quick glance through to see what had attracted her fun-free-lazy-ass-self to the book.

Turns out they are all letters written by women my age (or thereabouts) to their younger selves. Paula Deen’s name caught my eye – I bet she would have told mini-her to stay away from the bigoted jokes, had she known the shit storm that would one day erupt and derail her successful career. I wouldn’t have to tell my younger self  that – I was always a bit righteous about racist/sexist and hard-line assholes in general. Still am.

What I read was terrifying:  the tone got me. If I had spoken my 17 year old self like that – she would have been unimpressed. There was lots of advice around following your bliss, doing something you feel passionate about – and not trying to be perfect.  All of which is true, but sometimes we don’t get to choose. Circumstance makes those calls for us. Other pieces were written in lieu of primal scream therapy, they made me cringe – I would never expose either version of me like that.

Camparigirl, however, loved the whole idea.”Let’s do it”, she said.

Last year at school - fancy new watch on display
Looking to the future on the last day of school.

So here we are, letter one. To the younger me:  at Seventeen.

“I’m going to start by saying I like who and what I am.  And changing you, would negate all the hard slog you put into creating me. So, stand easy. But – there are a couple of things I think may make life easier along the way:

– stay away from mean/damaged men. You will never make them happy. And nothing they have to teach you, is anything you need to learn.
– give problems time. Don’t rush to solve them. Give people time too. Unless they are mean (see point 1). Then get the hell away from them. Immediately.
– keep your mouth shut sometimes. Sure, what you are saying might make sense, be right or the truth. But sometimes saying nothing is the best course of action.
– but when you really need to speak up or out. Do.
– don’t dye your hair. You’ll just have to keep doing it forever. And it becomes a pain in the butt.
– do more yoga. It suits your body. Do it every day. You will be glad when you are 53.
– you’re not for everyone. Some people won’t like you. Don’t try and fathom why. It’s their movie.

That’s about it – I could tell you not to try and be perfect. But that would be pointless. You will try anyway. And everything you learn trying (and failing) will make you who I am today. Oh, and show up. Being there is half the win. Have fun.”

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7 Comments

  1. silvia
    silvia

    There’s one more thing you should have told your younger self looking at those pictures: you are awesome

    July 30, 2013
    |Reply
  2. Great advice! Even though I am not 17 anymore, still have a lot to learn from this…especially the one about don’t dye your hair. Humm…. I was just about to do some research on that. My six year-old keeps telling me about my white hair popping up here and there and my husband keeps telling me not to worry about it. I was choosing among: 1) dyeing it to match the non-white, existing hair; 2) pulling out the whites; 3) ignoring them and just go to the gym; 4) looking at them in despair. I have a feeling you’ll probably vote for #3?

    July 29, 2013
    |Reply
    • Ignore them, go to the gym – talk to your hairdresser about highlights. Do not dye. Repeat after the old bird … do not dye!!!

      July 29, 2013
      |Reply
  3. Lovely..I so understand “you’re not for everyone. Some people won’t like you. Don’t try and fathom why. It’s their movie.” Wonderful sage advice.

    July 29, 2013
    |Reply
  4. Magda le Grange
    Magda le Grange

    Love it!

    July 29, 2013
    |Reply

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