I’ve seen a few of these on various blogs, but it was one posted recently by Sarah at Sall Good in the End that actually prompted me to give the matter some more thought. What struck me was that my first thought was to tell my younger self to run. Run away and join the circus. Leave it all behind and go live in a yurt. It took a while to think of anything in addition to the run away theme, but here’s what I eventually came up with. I picked age 20 because that’s a time when I was at university having loads of fun and starting to discover who I really was.
To Ashley at age 20:
I know you’re having a great time right now, and enjoy it. Here are a few suggestions I have for along the way:
Travel. That’s how you will have some of your best experiences ever.
When you get into your first long-term relationship, don’t lose yourself in the relationship. And if we’re going to get really specific, even though C makes a good friend, skip the boyfriend thing because it just doesn’t work as well, and he turns out to be a jerk in the end.
Bullying can happen to adults. Know what it is, recognize it when it happens to you, and get the hell outta there. No one else will care enough to do anything, so you’ve gotta take care of you.
You will get sick. You will see it, but you will deny it. When you can no longer deny it, you will think that you can deal with it yourself. You can’t. Instead, I want you to grow some lady-balls and reach out for help.
Your illness will affect how you relate to the people around you. I wish I had some good advice for you, but I don’t. Try not to beat yourself up over things that don’t work, because guilt is a poison that eats away at you.
Save your money. You will need it, and it will make life much easier at difficult times.
Love yourself and be true to yourself, and treat your natural introversion with compassion and respect. There’s nothing wrong with making a brief appearance at a social event to say hi and then heading home to bed.
Don’t get drunk with coworkers. No matter how good an idea it seems at the time, trust me, it’s just not.
Get furbabies as soon as you live in a place that allows them. Guinea pigs will offer countless hours of cuteness and comfort.
Life will get a whole lot darker in a few years (at age 27, to be exact). The flame that was your passion for life won’t burn as brightly after that. The shadow cast by your illness will never go away. So live for right now. Your early 20’s will be some of the most exciting years of your life. And maybe, just maybe, after you get out of hospital the first time, consider running away to central Asia and living in a yurt. One final word of advice – save your pelvis some torture and get to the yurt by truck rather than by horseback.
Your 39-year-old self
What would your letter to your younger self say?