Advice to the Young Me

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?

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6 thoughts on “Advice to the Young Me

  1. Well my advice to my current ‘me’ 20 years from now would be to do it now – don’t wait.

  2. Wow, what a thought provoker. I think at 22 I worried less than I do now about most things. I always felt good about my time spent with the kids, etc until I had my 3rd child and became a single parent. That put me in survival mode and made me realize I had to do whatever needed to be done to provide, and I did. I may not have sat on the floor and played enough, or gone to the park as often as they may have wanted, but that’s okay. I started to worry for their safety when they went to school, started staying at friends’ house…and you would think with my children being 16, almost 19 and almost 22, that I wouldn’t worry quite so much – but I think I worry much more now. I actually just had conversations with them all when Kirk was home for Christmas about when they were little. I asked them what they remember, what they liked, how they thought I did….was I attentive enough, fun enough, did they always felt loved and happy with our home…You know what, they said yes! All the things that I thought were “awful” are things they don’t know about or remember being an issue. They remember watching movies, wrestling on the floor, playing with certain toys, friends, etc. There are plenty of things I would change in my life and tons of advice I would give myself on choices made, etc – but I guess I did ok with them. What I wish for now is that I had my 20 years from now self to let me know how these years will play out. I am very worried about paying for their college, will they stay in, what kind of trouble they will get into being adults, car crashes, etc. I don’t remember my mom being worried when we all left, in fact I think she was happy to have an empty nest – me, I am terrified of all the choices they have to make and scared because I know I can’t do it for them!

  3. Actually, Debi, I’ll bet it will play out the same way — You’ll be good at keeping “mom worries” to yourself, and they will just be left with your joy when they are home, and the good times they have when they visit. Perfect. I’m so glad you asked them! That’s very cool! And so neat that their answers were just what you wanted (and maybe needed?) to hear. ….

  4. Lauran — “do it now” — across the board, you mean? Like travel, go, invest, visit, etc. — just do whatever you’re thinking of doing? That makes sense, actually. Sometimes we don’t trust ourselves or our instincts but we probably realize later we were right on.

  5. Got some great advice to young selves on Facebook, too, that I thought I’d share:

    Shea: Don’t marry him! [*smile*]

    Olivia: Spend more time with your family!

    Geri: Work IS actually more important than partying.

    Lauran: Things will all work out.
    Lauran: Don’t take yourself so seriously.

    Rosy: Have much more respect for yourself as an individual and your place in the world–and stop to consider! {Rosy notes that this might have been more to her teen self, though.}

    Beverly: Remember. . .everything happens for a reason, this too shall pass!!!

    Cynthia: Self: There is absolutely nothing *good* going on after midnight! Go home and get more sleep.

    Ann Marie: Appreciate your mom more! She won’t be around forever and when you’re a mom you’ll understand! Spend time with those you love and don’t waste your time with those that don’t love you! I could go on forever but you get the idea!!!

    Lauran: This question sticks with you and I thought of another one as I was getting ready this morning – moisture every day even though you don’t think you need it.

    Love these!

  6. Cool!

    I like all of these. I’m only 25 so i can still use these…. I like Cynthia’s & Rosy’s the best.

    <3
    Geraldine

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