I don't mean the graduation part - I mean the SON part. I have a son. In fact, I have two sons and a husband and we live in Ontario. My beloved mother is still alive. My baby brother is not.
How did this life happen? It wasn't the one I had planned for myself, way back when. And while I am grateful for all the experiences that brought me here, I still wish I could go back and offer the girl I was some hard-won wisdom:
Smoking is so not cool. It wasn't overly cool in 1989, but it is DEFINITELY not in 2011. Quit while you're ahead and learn to run, while your ass is still high and pregnancy hasn't ruined the arches in your feet.
Don't stop writing. Do NOT let rejection and insecurities about who you are (not) stop you from doing something you love. You write well. Don't let your envy of others who write better stop you, either. Let their talent inspire and force you to do better yourself. Don't let a decade pass before feeding your soul with words.
Take more pictures. Record the small moments, the quiet moments and a smattering of stuff in between. Take photos of yourself with everyone you love, because life will fling you in all directions and sometimes, you'll need a reminder of where you came from, in order to see where you're going.
Listen more. Talk less.
Don't quit piano lessons. Your parents might follow through on their "if you quit piano you must quit singing lessons" threat and it will break your heart, even though you'll try not to show it. Suck it up, princess. You have a lovely voice and a musical ear. Stick with it.
One day, when you're 21 and sinking into a steaming hot bubble bath, the theory of displacement will suddenly make sense the way it didn't in Grade 9 Science class. In telling yourself that you don't understand something, you won't. Tell yourself instead that you WILL understand, in time. Because you will.
Try out for the high school musical.
Your parents are right. About everything. Trust them.
Your instincts are right. Trust them.
Wear your retainer.
Stop biting your finger nails.
Tell Andrew you love him. Tell him again. And again. And again.
Save your money, pay off your first credit card every month, without fail.
Save your prom dress.
Join the church choir.
One night will change your life, if you let it. One terrible, awful, shameful event will define you and guide your actions for years afterward, if you allow it to. Trust your instincts and walk home with your friends, instead.
The mountains will always beckon, once you've breathed in their beauty. Find a way to visit them more often.
Your best friend has been there all along. She's your Mum. Thank her.
Travel more, sleep less.
Drink less, read more.
It's a grand life and someday, as you watch your own smile light up your son's face, you will know that you've always been beautiful.
Never forget it.
This post was inspired by Jeff Goins' post called "Advice to Your Younger Self". Write your own and share it with people in your life. Go on. Just do it. And once you have, head over to Twitter and let him know via hashtag #dearcollegeme
But first...tell me what you'd say to your former self, if you could.