Her space is one I always enjoy visiting and always leave thinking. Just thinking. She poses questions, plays both sides, encouraging her readers to engage with her every step of the way. She never claims to have THE answer but also never shies away from HER answer. She believes in the power of education and in the power of purposeful parents. Many times she has encouraged yours truly to stop for a moment and think before I act/react/speak/scold/etc.
Missy, if you had the opportunity to sit down with your 18-year-old self what would you say to her?
I don’t believe in wanting to change the past to have a better future. I do believe that “all roads lead to here” and even if that means I have to own some things from my youth that I realize I should have never done, then I’m going to hold onto them.
That’s why when Jamie asked me to write a letter to my 18 year old self, I struggled. My thought was that I needed to give myself advice at that age. And frankly, I rarely want to think about who I was at that age, let alone think about it enough to write an advice letter.
But, here goes. Maybe not a letter of things my 18 year old self should change, but observations and hopes for navigating the future.
Right now, at 18, you’re riding high on the self-righteousness of youth. You think you are invincible and exude that from every pore you have. It’s a little embarrassing to look back and see how obnoxious you were in certain areas of your life. You’ve graduated from high school and think the world is yours for the taking.
And in many ways, it is. You have many successes coming your way over the years, successes that you can’t even imagine right now. As a matter of fact, the successes you’ll come to recognize as a 41 year old are far from the successes you’re imagining as an 18 year old.
But you’re also going to have to get knocked down a peg or 5 pretty soon. That’s going to be hard for you – coming from being so well known in your small town. You’re going to walk into your liberal arts college and assume everyone’s going to think the sun rises and sets on you. And they won’t. Because the sun doesn’t rise and set on you.
That’s going to be tough for you. That the world does not revolve around you. I look at my kids now and see how they truly believe the world revolves around them. And I know that’s developmentally correct. But for you, my 18 year old self, I wish you had learned the world doesn’t revolve around you a bit earlier.
It might help you find balance sooner.
One more thing. I know you think your parents are idiots and will for a couple more years. But they truly are right about that boy you’re dating. He is a loser. The sooner you ditch him the happier you’ll be. Then you can start getting on with the life you were meant to live, speed bumps and all.
It all makes you who I am today.