Monday, June 20, 2011

To The Girl I Was....

 My son Matthew "graduates" from Kindergarten on Thursday and I can't help but wonder, "How the heck did that happen?"

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.
Take less.
Give 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.


  1. I'd probably just tell my former self "It'll be ok. Really." I'd also maybe give my former self the head's up that Jarrod was going to get really hairy. ;) Wouldn't change anything, but you know, would be good to see former self's disbelief.
    Visit the mountains more. That's your future self talking to you now. :) MZ.

  2. Ha! "Dear Self - You're gonna marry a handsome hairy monster. Deal."

    Love it!

    And I agree with you re: talking to my future self. Most of the advice I offered I still need to take. Interesting...

    Thanks for commenting, love.

  3. I’d say to myself to look at the big picture more often, don’t be everyone’s schmuck. Especially in regards to the ones who said they loved me. I would have saved a lot of heartache, time, money, engagements and an embarrassing past to look back at.
    However if that is what I need to be here, I’d do it all again, because I brought me to where I am and I couldn’t be happier.

  4. Seriously Moe, you're one of the strongest women I know. And I was there for most of your past and see little to warrant embarrassment.

    I love that you're kicking ass and taking names, these days. Knew you would, even then.



    ohhhh, yeah, i'll have to travel further in time to tell myself to wear my retainer!

    thanks for posting this blog & spreading the word re: #dearcollegeme!

  6. Dear Younger Self:

    - Listen to your Dad, he's not an idiot or embarrassing. About staying home more often, boys, and everything else he takes the time to offer to you. And kudos for taking his advice on finances and how to treat others with respect!!

    - Don't listen to your Mom as much, she's a bit of a nut although loves you just-the-same.

    - Listen to your instincts and don't get talked into things.

    - Appreciate your first love.

    - PLEASE, do not date Doug. He's a jerk. Keep turning him down!

    - Don't switch high schools

    Having said all that - life is wonderful! I love my husband and our daughter. If I'd listened to all my advice would I be where I am today? Are our children assigned to us?

    Love you,

  7. Sarah Coe, thanks for stopping by! I love when people see themselves in something I've written, if it IS a retainer reminder! LOL!

    Sarah M. Your Dad is awesome, period. Parents are usually right, aren't they? Hope my kids eventually realize that about me!

    And yes, I think God assigns our children to us. Or else he approves that they choose us before they get here.

  8. Melanie (that one!)June 22, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    You never cease to amaze and astound me young lady! I love this post! I've often wondered if I would change anything about my younger self and the reality is, no I wouldn't. I am exactly who I want to be today, and if I changed my younger self, I'm not sure that I would have ended up here. I am happy, loved, and fulfilled. The asking price was low self esteem in high school. = ) Thanks for this post though. It made me take another look, and realize how blessed I am today.

  9. Dear Self,
    You will go through a lot shit for a long time all because of someone who barely deserves to be called human and will thrive of the misery of you and your husband. It will suck. A lot. You will not be rich or famous. You will not always be this skinny (yes, you're skinny right now. Trust me.) You won't be a perfect parent. In fact you will find it very difficult and you will second guess every decision you make and wonder often where you went wrong. You will be a homebody, you will not be a great writer or musician. You will, in fact, be quite plain. So here's my advice.....
    Your husband is amazing. He is a wonderful father and he loves you VERY much. Your daughter will be a beautiful, sassy, trying work of art that can only be the creation of you and S. You love your job, finally, and you are GOOD at it. You don't have a lot of friends but the ones you have are the kind that will last forever. And at 36, you will finally start to be able to appreciate what you have instead of always wishing for something else. You will find a zen place that helps you deal with all the baggage that comes with loving a man with an ex-wife. And deep down, under all the imperfections and struggles, you will find contentment. I promise.


  10. I think it's so great that we all, at some point, realize and appreciate that our past made us who we are today. This is a good, good thing.

    These comments are choking me up, you are all SUCH amazing, vibrant, beautiful women. I am so blessed that your paths crossed mine, somewhere along the way.