Friday, July 9, 2010

What would you write?

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:

Dear Greengirl,
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


  1. Awesome post. It has me thinking. I actually had my first child at 20 so my letter would probably be more advice to myself as to how to raise him. You know hindsight is 20/20.

    But I love what you wrote to yourself, especially the be confident part and to ask for what you need.

    Very interesting,

  2. the interesting thing in these exercises I find in the assumption that our 20 year old self would listen.

  3. VERY cool.
    But I would make the same mistakes again in a heartbeat so that tack wouldn't work.

    I'll have to think about this one...

  4. Janet,
    Thank you. I still get tripped up by the confidence part. Seeing it adn saying it are not the same as believeing it or acting on it. Oh well.

    Sir J,
    Likely she would not. But maybe it would be enough for her to look at things jsut differently enough.

    It does make the mind go in loops for a bit.

  5. Greengirl, I love that exercise! I am going to think about that one for a while. I liked what you wrote to yourself, very reassuring :)

  6. Ally,
    Thank you. It is interesting to look at what you might want to change, and what you are not willing to. Interesting to note that I wouldn't really want to change things.

  7. Wow... this is pretty awesome. I couldn't even begin to think what I'd tell my 20 year old self. Very good advice, though.



  8. Turiya,
    I think the best part was realizing that, in spite of the mistakes I have made and choices i know were not the best - i am very happy where i've ended up.

  9. What a great idea! I think I might borrow it sometime as well! :)