Monday, January 31, 2011

What Would I Tell My Younger Self?

If I could, what would I tell my younger self? Have you ever thought about this? I have, every now and again. Just never put thoughts to writing. Until now.

I would tell myself, first and foremost, that life is very, VERY much worth living. I had strong doubts about this when I was young. So I'd want the young me to know there are reasons to hang on.

Next, I would tell the young me that though worth living, living won't be easy. Or fair. The young me already suspects this.

I'd explain that yes, marriages will happen. Plural. And so of course divorces (plural) will also happen. Cancer will happen, and so will a child and step children. And dogs. My faith will deepen and strengthen, my alcohol abuse will end of its own accord because I will simply no longer need the escape or the crutch.

I would explain that yes, I am different from most in my birth family. It is a difference that will last my entire lifetime, and it is a difference most in my birth family will never be able to understand or get past. I would lovingly but emphatically explain to my younger self that this is their issue. Not mine. And I should never allow them to make it mine.

I would ask my younger self to try and stop resenting my life's events conspiring to make me a woman of strength. It is inevitable, and once I can relax into it, I'll actually be happier being strong and independent. Equal partnerships will work for me, but being dependent on others never will.

Finally, I would tell my younger self that before I die I will experience (and enjoy) love in all of its many forms. But I must strive to recognize and accept that true love is a gift to give, not a gift to receive. And until I can - I will never truly know love. So the ultimate quest is not to experience love, but to know love.


Anonymous said...

'Cain't take water from a dry well..'
So here's a filler for you -


And as you stand there
On time and
Appropriately clad for the event
With a high-fiber bar in your bag
And extra pens
Let us take this moment to applaud you.

You, the prepared.
You, the accomplished.
You, the bills-paid-on-time and the-taxes-done-in-March.

You, who always returns the shopping cart.
You, who never throws a tantrum.

While the moody, the irresponsible, the near-hysterical and the rude seem to get
All the attention
Let us now praise you.

Just because everyone always expects you
To do well
Does not make it any less remarkable
That you always do so well.

So thank you.

For picking up the slack
For not imposing
For being so kind
And mannerly
And attending to all those pesky details.

Thank you for your consideration
Your generosity
For always remembering and never forgetting:

That a job well done is its own reward
That the opportunity to help someone else is a gift
That the complainers, the cry-babies, the drama queens, the never-use-a-turn-signals, the forgetful, the self-involved, the choleric, the phlegmatic and the your-rules-don't-apply-to-me-types

Need you to rebel against in order to look like rebels.

You provide the lines - for without the lines, what would they color outside of?

So take a minute
To pat yourself on the back
And say, "Job well done."
And as you consider someday
Showing up stoned
Or unprepared
Or not at all

And as you imagine someday being imperious
Or demanding
Or the one with the temper

Hear the unspoken "thank you" from a
Grateful nation that is a
Better, smarter, calmer, easier, friendlier and more organized place
Thanks to you
And your dogged diligence.

You are beautiful.
You are precious to us.

You are the hand that calms the water, the wheel that never squeaks, the one we all rely on
And while you probably would have remembered to send a thank-you note,
We forgot.

And just because everyone always expects you
To do well
Does not make it any less remarkable
That you always do so well.

And I would tell you to take the afternoon for yourself
Or sleep in tomorrow
But I'm pretty sure you already have plans.

So just take this very moment right now
To appreciate you
And all that you have done and done well
Even by your own high standards.

And remember:
You are beautiful.

And just because everyone always expects you to
Do well
Does not make it any less amazing, delightful or delicious that

You always do so well.

© Samantha Bennett 2009

'Course youcan share it! :-)))

Eternally Curious said...

Anon: I saw this come thru a couple days ago, when you first posted it. I was overwhelmed then, and had no words to express what your thoughtfulness meant to me. So I waited a few days to respond. Only to tell you now, that I'm still overwhelmed and have no adequate words.

The Phosgene Kid said...

I'd tell myself that it wasn't going to work out like I thought it was...

Middle Child said...

I have also though what I might say to my younger self - but then my mother tried and when i was younger I didn't always listen to her wisdom - I was young!And the young know it all

The Phosgene Kid said...

Don't know if my younger self would want to know...

The Phosgene Kid said...

Jamming that piece of metal in the lamp socket is really going to hurt.

Coaster Punchman said...

Wise words. I am obsessed with this topic. I feel a blog post of my own coming. Thanks for this.

The Phosgene Kid said...

"That girl you're eying up has an STD."