Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Note to Younger Self

I love the idea of communicating with my younger self. Lord knows I probably wouldn’t listen to the me of now then, but it still fascinates me to think of the supposed conversation.

First I would tell the young me that overall I’ve been doing a good job! That’s not an easy thing for me to tell myself. I’ve suffered from low self-esteem in my life and I am a worrier. But, in the view from the perch I sit upon currently, I can say with certainty and resolve that life is darn good right now. Great, even! In fact, the journey has been fantastic, too.

Next I would recommend to my younger self to slow down; growing up happens fast enough, but being young is fleeting. I graduated high school a year early and was finished with college by twenty. I do not regret either decision, but I may nudge the younger me to experience more of life’s nectar for young people – travel before children is one thing I can pinpoint missing out on a bit.

I might suggest to my younger self to stop getting perms. I have naturally wavy/curly hair… what was I thinking?! I would also suggest some wardrobe advice, from proper foundations to staying away from obviously trendy fashions, I desperately needed some guidance.

Although difficult to address with myself, I’d want to seriously discuss diet and exercise. By sticking with a healthy combination of both, medical issues wouldn’t be as much as a worry or threat. I’m resigned to a comfortable workout schedule now, and I love to eat healthfully, but if I had been more prone to healthier choices from the start and embraced fun exercise from day one, I wouldn’t be carrying the extra weight I am now… or the worries.

I’d tell myself to interview family members in a sort of formal way so I could learn intimate facts of the people who make up my lineage. As a writer and historian, the people of my past still remain a mystery to me, one I might never uncover. I’ve learned to ask the older generations myriad questions about their youth, the way the world was, and their place in it. History is fascinating when told in the first person, especially when you are related to the storyteller.

I believe I’d tell my younger self to continue to write. Keeping a diary and journals was nearly always a part of my life, yet there were times I stopped. Thankfully I always held my passion for writing near and dear to my heart and now it serves me well daily.

Lastly, I’d tell my younger self to stay the course with that gorgeous and fiery young man who turned my head and stole my heart. It’s true the path has been hellacious at times, but overall the journey has been amazing, full of joy and euphoria, and manageable with him by my side. The fruits of our love, the three children I’d longed for, would follow. And, even after unspeakable grief, happiness would be reached again.

That young girl/woman doesn’t really need to hear any of this from me as she got to this point, but it just seems so cool to think about reaching out to the me of yesteryear and connecting.

What would you tell your younger self? Would you suggest a different life path? Tell the younger you to go for a love who got away? Recommend braces or sunblock or driving lessons?

Looking forward to reading what you would share with your younger self below!

Please join me tomorrow for another great meal idea on Tantalizing Thursday on Chief 187™Chatter.


  1. The things I would want to tell my younger self, I tell my daughter now. Especially if I see her going in the same way as me and it is one of those things I'd change.

    I've told her, "dumb ain't cute", work hard in school, the boys you want to attract, are attracted to smart. She is tenacious in her pursuit of good grades. Especially in math, where I just gave up... I am so proud of her in that respect.

    I have also told her and she seems to be heeding, "Don't worry about the boys, Daddy & I have been married for the same number of years it will take to graduate high school." There will be time for boys and loves. While she has had crushes here and there, she isn't "boy crazy" and again for this I am thankful. I am thankful for my husband for giving her the attention and teaching her how she should be treated, so later she won't be searching for it.

    I would tell my younger self not to take things so personally, not worry about what others thought about me so much.

    I would tell my younger self which boys to definitely stay away from! Which ones that were good for me.

    I would tell my younger self to go ahead and try out for cheer leading in high school, I was good at it, I just didn't have the confidence.

    I would tell myself to really make sure that light was green or red before proceeding through that intersection that totaled the 1st car that was my own.

    Overall I would tell myself to just make better choices in life. I didn't start making good choices until I found out I was pregnant with my son. However, some of those poor choices, led to my son and eventually my husband and 2 other kids.

  2. Fantastic post. Some things I would tell my younger self:

    - Perms were a bad idea. I would have advised young Melissa to stop getting them, too!

    - Lighten up a little bit. My grades were excellent and I never had a problem academically, but was way too uptight socially.

    - Keep writing / singing and don't let anything distract you. I feel that through financial strains and the need to earn money, my older self has lost sight of certain interests and passions that were once a major part of my life. I haven't been able to fully regain them.

    - Love and family are just as important as finding meaningful work, so don't wait so long to have one. In pursuit of a PhD I never valued having my own family until I met Stephen, and then we put it off even more. Time waits for no one so don't let it slip away until you feel the pressure of "now or never."

    - Diet and exercise are important. Coming from an Italian family, portion control wasn't really taught. We did always eat a balanced diet, but I could have watched quantities a little more carefully and exercised regularly instead of in spurts.

    - On the flipside, being first-generation American has given me a pride of my heritage that has stayed with me to this day. I will never forget my dad's "when we were in Italy we didn't have..." or "You could have been born in Italy where..." One of his cousins has done all the historical research for his branch of our family dating back to 1818. I feel confident that I have learned a lot about our past.