In the past week I’ve read a couple of posts in which the author has advice for her younger self. One post contained a paragraph, in letter form, advising her younger self to make better decisions and the other was a collection of random tidbits of advice for her former, 17-year old self.
I pondered this for while. Despite the obvious lack of practicality involved in this exercise, I found myself wondering what I would say to my younger self if I were somehow magically granted a pass to travel back in time and given an attempt to talk some sense into myself.
I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes. Were I to recite them all I’d probably die before I could finish. That being said, if I had this opportunity I know precisely what I would say. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I’ve endured pain. I’ve suffered heartache. I’ve experienced torment. If I went back and gave myself advice things may turn out differently. That could mean that I’d never marry an abusive woman. That might mean I’d save myself the heartache of a couple of failed long-distance relationships. It could also mean that I’d make more of an effort to let a couple of uncles and an aunt who passed away before their time know how much I love them and appreciate them. It might even mean that I don’t wait almost 15 years after high school to finally go back to school and actually choose a career.
Those are all missteps I could avoid if given the chance to go back in time and drop some knowledge on my younger self. I would, however, risk losing the three greatest things that ever happened to me if by some miracle my younger, stubborn self actually heeded the advice given by my older, allegedly wiser self. Could I avoid my abusive marriage if given a chance to go back in time and warn myself about her? Absolutely, but then I would not be a proud father of twins. Could I warn myself about my second wife? That it’s not going to work and to keep wading through that sea of fish? That she’s not the bride I’m looking for? You betchya, but then I would be giving up Baby C.
I wrote that ecard. I left those words on a blog post a couple of years ago and I marveled that such wisdom came from my malfunctioning cranium. It’s absolutely true, though. Without all of the mistakes made, the hard lessons learned, we would not be who we are. We would not have what we have today.
No, I would not write a letter to my younger self. No, I would not bequeath advice to my 17-year old self. I am who I am because of what I’ve experienced and have what I have because of those choices, good or bad. I happen to like who I am, despite all of the stupid shit I’ve done. I would gladly make the same mistakes over again just to ensure that I end up with my babies. Such is my love for them.