There was a fun discussion on Twitter recently (begun, I believe, from @pattidigh, who has a great blog called 37 Days: What would you be doing today if you had only 37 days to live?). The discussion centered around “Advice to Young Me.” Everyone was tweeting the advice they would give to their 22-year-old selves.
The responses were fun: One woman said she’d tell herself to wear her bikini every day. Many said they’d recommend to take more chances. One person told her young self: “Making someone a mix-tape does not mean you will marry him …”
I thought about this for awhile and tried to think of what advice I’d give my 22-year-old self. Mostly I thought my 22-year-old self didn’t need as much advice as my 26-year-old self did. Because that’s when I became a parent and started to doubt everything I did. So my advice to my 26-year-old self would be this: “Don’t worry so much about parenting. You’re doing fine. …”
I wish I didn’t worry so much then. I wish I’d enjoyed more — but my joy often got trampled by the worry.
I wish I’d worried less about the living room being messy and relished more the feeling of sitting in the glider rocker (amid the mess) and having an infant’s tiny arms bent across my chest, his or her little fingers in a fist against my collarbone.
I wish I’d worried less about not having enough money and focused on getting a few more of those toddler squeals of glee from playing the $5 Oreo Concentration game.
I wish I’d used more weekends for fun instead of housecleaning — more parks, more trips to Oak Glen, more hikes, more bike rides. I remember all those things much more than the dining room being clean.
I wish I worried less about working outside the home, then transferred that worry to quitting my job, then transferred that worry to working at home. It was all fine. Whatever you do is fine. All that matters is the time you spend with your kids.
So my advice to the young me would be to STOP WORRYING. You’re wasting time and energy. Enjoy the time you have now, with the money you have now, with the ages your kids are now.
Then I wondered what my advice to the current me would be in another 20 years. You know, to the me now — the one with the two teenagers and one 10-year-old.
And I thought, gosh, what a shame if it was the exact same advice. …
(I think I need to replan a couple of weekends.)
What about you? What would your advice be to your young self?