I’ve been fumbling for the last few days with what to write, which is to say I haven’t really been in the mood to write anything. I don’t have writer’s block exactly; more like writer’s lethargy.
Then, as if from the gods, this morning I opened my website to discover a comment added last night on one of my long-ago-written blog posts. It was sent by a new reader, to whom I’ve given credit as the author of this post. It reminded me of a book I read last year entitled Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self, a collection of letters written by celebrities to their younger selves. I thought the book was a great idea and have (in less lethargic times) intended to begin a series of us regular blokes writing similar letters. Some of the book’s letters are uplifting, some are thoughtful and pensive. But, again, those letters in the book are from very famous and well-off celebrities. What, I wondered, would “normal” folks write? Would ours be a chin-up type note? Or an it’s-all-downhill-from-here ditty? Regardless, I’d like to know. Really. So if more readers are interested in sharing their own “letters to my younger self,” I’d be happy to post those as well. Leave a comment and I will get back to you. But, right now, thanks to Susan for finally giving me the kick in the arse I needed.
Here is her comment in it’s beautiful entirety:
Heather, I happened upon your blog after writing my own post on aging…and having nowhere to put it, I’m emailing it to you. I don’t expect you to do anything with it. I just want to post it somewhere. Anybits, I very much appreciate your viewpoint. Nicely done. Keep up the good work. ;)
Words from the future to my younger self:
You know how you feel now – so isolated and alone? Wishing someone/anyone would see you/hear you/recognize that you have value? That’s how it is, sweetie. You’re going to be feeling that for the rest of your life. Get used to it.
And you know how you’re always chasing boys around the playground? Writing their names on your notebook…sometimes making up a name, just so people will think you have a boyfriend? How the ones you like always let you know they have a crush on someone else? That’s pretty much the way it is. You might as well give it up now because you could be spending the rest of your life looking for someone, and he never shows up.
And then, there’s school. You never manage to get your work done on time. Everyone thinks you’re smart, but you’re really just scraping by. Too bad. You’re going to take those lousy habits with you throughout your life and it’s really going to fuck you up. I don’t know what to tell you about that.
You think you’re kind of funny looking now? Well, you are. You won’t change much. You’ll never grow out of the “interesting” stage. No one is going to be coming after you for you looks, let’s put it that way.
And friends. You never managed to figure out how to make it into the “in” crowd, and you won’t. You think you feel isolated now? Just wait a few decades. It gets worse.
In fact, just about everything gets worse. You can try all you like, and G-d knows you probably will, but it never makes much of a difference. You’ll just keep doing the same stupid things over and over.
So what can I tell you?
Don’t try to please anyone else. They won’t be there when you need them.
Start putting away your pennies, and putting cream on your face now. You’re not going to like what happens when you don’t.
Don’t bother looking for love. If it finds you, you’ll be lucky. And if it doesn’t, you won’t have wasted years of your life searching for something that isn’t there.
Try to find something you can trust and believe in.
Enjoy what you’ve got now.
It only gets worse.