Sunday, May 27, 2012

A letter to my 19 year old self

I am not sure what my inspiration was for this post.  I haven't blogged in a long time, but I had the opportunity to think about it during a long drive last week.  Something about being on the road sparks the reflective thoughts in me, I suppose.  This post isn't about regrets- that's not the right word.  I don't regret any choices I've made.  Those choices have shaped who I am now, and I like who I am.  However, sometimes I just think back and shake my head at myself, kind of embarrassed, I suppose.  Most of my head-shaking moments happened around the time I was nineteen and maybe twenty years old.  I suppose maybe it was the year before I turned the corner and started to grow up.  I wasn't a horrible person, but I think I hadn't yet gotten my priorities straight.  Anyway, I am rambling now.  So, without further adieu, here it is:
Dear Nineteen-Year-Old Self:
I have a few things to say to you.  Pay close attention.
-LIFE LESSONS, GENERALLY.  "Finding Yourself" is not nearly as dramatic as you might think.  You do not need to move across the country to find yourself.  You do not need to travel long distances to find yourself.  You just need to live your life the best you can.  Dixie Chicks "Wide Open Spaces" is a nice song, but it should not be your anthem.  Rather, Dave Matthews Band's "Pig" should be.  Look for the love in it, and for goodness sake: quit looking for it in the wrong places.  Case in point...
-ROMANCE.  That boy that you are so hung up on?  He is never going to change, and if you are completely honest with yourself (isn't that part of "finding yourself" anyway?), then you'd realize that he is not a good match for you anyway.  Refocus all that effort you are putting towards winning him over, into your family and friendships. 
-FAMILY.  Family is the most important thing in life, and yours is one of the best.  So stop analyzing what was wrong with your upbringing (nothing, by the way!) and start appreciating them.  The more people you meet in life, the more you'll realize how lucky you are.  Some people need a drink after they spend a couple hours with their family.  You will eventually look forward to having a drink with your family- not to escape them.
-FRIENDS.  Drinking buddies are not the same as friends.  If you cannot have fun with them when you are all sober, then they are not your friends.  They are not necessarily bad people, but not your forever friends.  Putting drinking buddies before your family will just make you feel awful later on.  You are not missing out on anything that you'll remember fondly, trust me.
-THOUGHTFULNESS.  Be more thoughtful towards your true friends and family. Send more thank-you notes (very important!), and send them a card just because.   Call someone just to chat.  Do nice things for the people you love.  Do nice things without thinking about what's in it for you.  This will become what people know you for; indicators of what kind of person you are.  People will not remember you for how much fun you were when you were drunken dancing at the bar.  They will remember you for how you treated them when they needed you or when you made time for them.

Just strive to be better with each day.  Some day you will have a beautiful daughter who looks up to you.  Have fun, but be good to yourself and to other people.  See you in 13 years.
Your Thirty-Two-Year-Old Self.