Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Advice to myself...

I stole this idea from Dave. He read an article in a magazine where celebrities wrote a letter from their "adult me" to their "teenage me."

I thought this was a great idea - I'm always writing letters to my children, and just the other day, Dakotah and I were discussing sometimes I write her a letter and give it to her, and sometimes I just tuck it away. I told her it made me feel good to know that when I am dead and gone, and she is going through all of my "stuff" that she will find pieces of her life and words of wisdom from her Mom in places she least expected it. In fact, I would like to add the words, "whisper words of wisdom" to the edge of my tattoo - because I think that's one of my most important jobs as a Mom.

So, here is my letter to 15-year old me, on my birthday!

Dear Betsy,

Today, you are 15. Later tonight, your friends will throw you a surprise birthday party in Kathy's basement. It will be one of the first sort of girl-boy parties you have, and you will remember this party for years to come.

You're just beginning to grow up, and although it may seem slow to come to you now, adulthood is just around the corner. I wish I could offer you the wisdom of the years in the way that a 15-year-old could understand. Enjoy your high school years with vigor - laugh often, study hard, and avoid high school drama.

In a couple of years, you will be voted most likely to succeed in your graduating class, along with most sensitive and, ironically, best couple. Just to let you know, that best couple thing isn't really going to work out, as your long time high school boyfriend is actually gay. He's gonna figure that one out in a few years, and you are going to have to take the ribbing of people who tell you that you 'scared him gay.' But, not to worry, there will be a few other suitors along the path over the next few years.

You should really listen to the advice of some of your teachers, especially your English teacher, Mr. Gigi, who tells you over and over again that you are a writer - that its natural and easy and fluid in you. Don't be so worried that its not a real job - give it your all, and maybe it will be. Believe him when he tells you words are powerful, and that you have the power...

Oh, and take advice from your business teacher too - even though you are learning to type on a manual typewriter, and can fling that carriage halfway across the room faster than most, this talent will soon be obsolete. You won't even believe what its eventually replaced with. Still, she has some good advice - sit up straight, put your feet flat on the floor, no chewing gum and DON'T LOOK AT THE KEYS.

And as long as we're listening to advice from teachers, keeping one body space between you and the next person is always a good idea too. ;)

That permed hair of yours - you're going to wonder what the hell you were thinking someday. Same goes for that blue eyeshadow, the turned up collar on your shirt, and the three piercings in each ear. You're probably still going to love the smell of Love's Baby Soft and Jovan Musk though.

And I'm pretty sure that you'll re-discover clogs in the form of Birkinstocks at some point in your life.

Don't believe it when people tell you that you can't change the world. Its nonsense, and uttered only by people who don't realize the power of one person, of paying it forward, and of remembering to be grateful.

Some things you might consider NOT doing in the next few years - getting into bars underage on the arm of your brother-in-law, mooning a policeman at a town hall dance, showing up at a Halloween party dressed as Woodstock from Peanuts, only to realize its more of a drag queen kind of party, popping out of a birthday cake, winning a "party naked" t-shirt, harrassing the Chuck E Cheese mouse...

And if you decide not to take my advice and still do those things, be glad that this thing called "Facebook" has not yet been invented.

Be prepared for lots of surprises in your life. At 15, you cannot even imagine what the next 30 years will bring you - the friends you will make, the friends you will lose, the jobs you will have, the journeys you will take. Relish them all, and realize they are all forming a part of who you are and who you become. Shake off the bad stuff, and fall to your knees and thank God for the good stuff.

I know you love school - spend your life being a student. Absorb the world like a sponge, learning life's lessons in places that you least expect to find them. Remember, everyone has a story, and those stories are what make us human. Share yours and take great interest in others.

When you are voted Most Sensitive, it will be because you are an emotional person...something you will debate over and over again whether that is a good thing or not. Don't mistake being sensitive for not being strong. You are going to surprise yourself and everyone who knows you with your strength in the years to come. You are going to learn to appreciate that you love deeply, cry often, and laugh even more. You will understand and be grateful and you will not want to change that.

You will be blessed. Many, many times over. You will look back on your life often and be so surprised at the journey. But, you will not wish it away; you will celebrate it.

Its gonna be a great life - see ya in 30 years.



Laura said...

I loved reading this, and can relate to a whole lot of it too! What a great letter!

You're an awesome person and I can't wait to finally hang out with you one day! Love ya!

Happy Birthday my dear friend! Hope it's a great one! :)

simplycamille said...

I agree with Mr. Gigi. And you know, it is never too late to get going...


Tara Marie said...

One of my most favorite birthday letters to ever read. Happy, Happy 45th Birthday my dear [we are the same age] I love you like a sister.

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