Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Letter to My Younger Self"

*First, before I tackle today's topic I'd like to express my deepest gratitude to the countless men and women who currently serve, have served, and those who have sacrificed greatly to the service of our country. On this solemn and important day in our country I feel it is vitally important to remember and honor those who put Country first. God Bless you, your families, and God Bless America.*

Today's topic is one that hopefully is affecting many around the USA today. A nationwide "party" led by The New York Times best-selling author Ellyn Spragins is occurring today to facilitate empowerment and enlightenment through self reflection and sharing. In essence, women are meeting in myriad public places across the country to write their younger selves a letter revealing their hard-won, inner-wisdom (information provided by The NJ Herald, Sunday, November 7, 2010).

Being that I have a father, two brothers, a husband, and two sons I detest when men are left out of seemingly important and informative exercises. I think this task could certainly be fun, creative, and enlightening, but I do not believe only women can benefit, therefore I am broadening this directive to all of the men as well. I believe that men and women equally have the capacity to teach to their younger selves.

Instead of treating this like a school assignment, I simply want to extract the fundamentals and play with them. What wisdom have you gleaned in your lifetime that you wish you could whisper into the younger you who was scared, stressed, heart-broken, anxious, or depressed? What calming information could you relay about love, life, career, education, or friendship? Would you address the you in high school and tell him/her that people will chill out and this isn't the "end all be all"? Would you tell a heartbroken twenty-something to "stay the course" as true love is right around the corner? Perhaps you might tell a former self to pay attention more closely in school, to make education a higher priority. Or maybe you want to let the younger you know that spending the extra money on the car was "totally worth it!". Whatever wisdom, knowledge, or beliefs you have now that could enable the younger you to benefit then is the idea.

This may seem burdensome or a time waster, but I believe that reminiscing and reconnecting with your younger self with the added understanding that you have so much to offer the younger you, and, in turn, the younger you wasn't really so lost, is worthwhile of a few extra minutes today. Won't you join me in this self-taught assignment? Perhaps what you print will not only reverberate with you, but someone struggling with something currently. Please join me...

Dear Younger Me,


  1. Dear Young Chief 187,

    First, you have a great life ahead of you so let me remind you to simply relax a bit more and enjoy. The hard work you are doing does pay off, in spades, but you get far too stressed. Life happens. You cannot control everything around you. Sometimes you need to let things just be - be more flexible and not so uptight when things don't go the way you have them pictured in your mind. I know that is a large pill to swallow (don't ever do drugs...wait a minute, we didn't. Good girl), but it is vital to living a saner life.
    Stop trying to grow up so fast, too. You are a little kid, act like it! Spend more time with your friends, not the adults. One day you will wish you had more of a full childhood. You'll never regret these relationships and rapport you have with the older generation, but you do rob yourself of the tranquil childhood you and every kid deserves.
    Ignore your brother when he says "Santa Claus doesn't exist; Mom and Dad buy the presents and hide them in this closet." First, he ruined the innocence and wonder of Christmas, and second, he was wrong. Santa Claus exists and the wonders of Christmas remain forever! Continue to give, that's the true joy in Christmas! And remember, Santa loves cheese and chocolate and peanut butter!
    Take care of your body - eat healthier and begin exercising much earlier in your NOW. Exercise needs to become a bigger part of your everyday existence.
    Although it will be extraordinarily difficult, makes you isolated for a time, and tests your moral fiber, stick with that high school love. Eventually you will both grow up, grow healthier, and create the most rewarding, loving, and incredible life together complete with those three kids you always wanted.
    Continue to write thank you notes your entire life, they are always appreciated and make people remember you.
    Spend a bit more time traveling before children. Yes, working is important, but so is getting around before you are too old to enjoy it!
    Spend quality time with your parents and brothers because one day they may not be around. Encourage them to attend every holiday and birthday, whether they can make it or not. These memories are priceless. This goes for extended family, too.
    Tend to the relationships with your friends, too. Friends are the greatest gifts and lift you like none other can. They are the chosen people in your life whereas your family you were dealt.
    Keep your hair long and layered, it looks best that way. And our hair never will be "pin straight", it is too wavy for that. Besides, we love BIG HAIR and straight hair isn't big!
    Hug, kiss, and tell your family and your husband you love them EVERY DAY several times a day. There will be a horrible day in September 2001 that will change your world forever, but it will also bring into focus the most important things in our life.
    You're doing a terrific job! Smile, learn, be kind and caring, and don't ever stop writing.
    Lastly remember to always love yourself. If you can't love you, nobody else can and you are worth loving!
    Love always and forever,
    Chief 187 (me)

  2. Dear younger self;

    Life is more complex than you think. Things happen for many more reasons than may be appearant. Don't burn your bridges. Think ahead - down the road a few years - before you do something that sounds like a "brash and innovative" idea. Think of something bigger than yourself.

    Save some of your money. No, really. You will want to retire someday, right?

    Something hard and difficult is only hard & difficult because you've never had to deal with that particular instance before. You'll get through it. You are stronger than you think.

    Don't waste time and money on cheap beer.

    Take the time to thank your wife and kids for all the happiness they bring. Don't take it for granted. Let them know.

    And for pete's sake, put on some big girl panties and deal with it.

    - Older me.

  3. Dear younger self,
    Don't sweat the little stuff. Don't spend so much time worrying about things that are out of your control. Plan ahead, but be ready to handle life's little curve balls. The less time spent worrying, the more time you have to enjoy life and the people around you.

  4. Remembering the families of those who serve and fell in all conflicts.

    Note to early self :-

    Love your family, listen to your heart, make the best of what you have got and everything will be all right.

  5. Let me just tell you how incredibly happy it makes me to see 3 terrific men post their letters on this blog. I was fearful that only one or two women would attempt this. It is gratifying to see the men's letters. Thank you so much for participating. I'm learning a lot today!

  6. Recently a trending topic on Twitter was "tweet your 16 year old self" I participated... Here were my tweets (w/a little extra commentary):

    Stop being concerned with how other people think of you, you aren't going to care in 10 years. For the most part they aren't going to be a significant part of your life and you'll be living in North Carolina anyway. What? Yeah, North Carolina. You are going to love it! Oh, and you'll be a NASCAR fan. I know you don't believe me now. You'll also gain some dear friends through that process as well. I know it sounds completely bizarre!

    Don't waste your tears & heart on these boys- You'll be meeting a great MAN on this thing called the internet later! Don't look at me like that... you'll see!

    DO NOT get involved with anyone w/ the initials BS, just don't. You're life will be SO MUCH easier! In fact, as much as people guilt you into working at Video Palace, just stay away from that place all together. Lots of unneeded heartache and pain and cattiness. Plus, the drive is really too far. I would tell you the same about JA and JC, but you learned from them and will be able to pass this knowledge onto your daughter.

    Don't wait until your Senior year to do better in school. You'll get into that college you decide on later. Telling you now, you miss getting in by one history class... get it together now! OH, and there will be this profession called "Certified Professional Organizer", while your psych classes will help you, you won't want to have a career in the psych field. Had you done better in math & science, I'd tell you to look into criminal forensics.

    You may think your mom doesn't know what you think you are getting away with... she knows! She is letting you learn and make your own will make them. See above, do NOT get involved with the initials BS. Actually, if you listen to me about not working at Video Palace, then you won't even meet BS.

    You aren't going to get taller, nor are you ever going to consistently be size 2/4. Be happy with what you have. Strive to be healthy. You won't look like your aunts later, despite what mom says! Relief I know!

    The tattoo you will get in a few years? Choose a turtle instead, and put it somewhere else. While you love Winnie the Pooh at the time, you will continue to love turtles long after. Plus, where to you put it- not the best place for when you have kids.

    Don't get rid of your New Kids on the Block (now called NKOTB) jacket. You'll appreciate it later. They are going to break up in a couple of years, but they are going to regroup in 2008... Woo hoo!!!

    I know they may sound flippant, but they aren't... remember I am speaking to my 16 year old attitude filled self.

  7. Spend more time with my wife and kids at the time and less overtime. Should have made more investments and spend more time with my moms side of the family. I would like to have the cars of my younger years. Should have kept in touch with my Marine buddies from back in the day.