My husband sent me a link with a suggestion for a topic for this blog. He had heard (on NPR - sort of the US version of the BBC) a story about a college age blogger that had intrigued him and which he thought would make an interesting topic for me to consider. This woman had reached out to her fellow bloggers for advice by asking them to write letters to their 20 year old selves. The responses were interesting in themselves, but the process of looking back to try decided what you might have benefitted from knowing at that age demands some real soul searching and soul baring. Specifically, my husband asked me to write a letter to my 20 year old self about intimate relationships and my sexuality.
My first impulse in trying to do this was to argue about how tinkering with the past would inevitably alter the present. This isn't just a cop-out arguement. I like my present - a great deal. I ended up here because of the convergance of a very large number of factors. Had those realities been different along the way, had I viewed things differently, been more or less open to different things, prioritized things differently, made different choices, I would be in a very different place right now, likely even with a different person. This is not at all to say that I didn't make mistakes, or that there is nothing I view as having been a poor choice or wrong way of viewing or prioritizing things along the way. But all of my past has led me here, and I don't look at my present and wish I had ended up somewhere else.
So - I did write this letter - with the huge caveat that I would assume I could give my 20 year old self perspective, advice, or forwarning without altering the actual trajectory of my life:
You are having the time of your life right now. When it comes to boys and sex and relationships, your hardest experiences and biggest mistakes are behind you. Keep that in mind and relax and enjoy it all. It really is ok. You will meet good people, have fun getting to know them and remember that you have a lot to offer, they want to know you too.
It really does get easier now, although you will still have your heart broken. Don't let that keep you from opening your heart or putting your whole self into the relationships.
Be confident. Be confident to ask for what you want and what you know needs to happen. And be confident to explore things that make you a little nervous. You will be intrigued by some some men, and some women; have the confidence to see where that goes and trust your instincts.
It will be a great adventure - Enjoy it!!
Your 43 year old self