A Letter To Me

Grams always tells me that you can’t put an old head on young shoulders, but wouldn’t it be great if you could? There are so many things that I wish I knew years ago and advice that I wish I could give my younger self. I was a stubborn girl but surely I’d take advice from myself! Below is my list of sage wisdom that I would impart on the younger Scarlet Pen.

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What would you tell your younger self? Thank you for reading my letter and please let me know what yours would say in the comments below! 

My Letter To Me

Dear young, naïve, and determined Scarlet,

I know that you don’t like to listen to anyone. You think that you know best and that your way of doing things is the only way (and if not the only way, certainly the best way). I’ve lived life on the path that you’re setting out right now and while it did lead to a pretty great place, you are not always right! In fact, I’m going to give you a list of things that will help you on your journey to becoming an awesome young woman (if I do say so myself).

Don’t bleach your hair blonde. I know that you really want to and I’m not going to lie: it looks fan-freaking-tastic. However, it will also destroy your hair and turn it into the consistency of hay…which I now have to deal with because you wanted to be a blonde bombshell. Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Besides, your hair is a nice colour and it’s so shiny! Do you really want to give that up?

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You will have your heart broken. I’m not going to tell you when because it made you a stronger, better, and wiser person, so I wouldn’t want you to avoid it. I’m sorry to say that you will feel like you’re going to die though. In fact, you even tell mom that you think you’re dying and that she couldn’t possibly understand. I will let you in on a little secret: you live; I’m proof of that. You will get through it and then you will realize he wasn’t worth it anyway. Really.

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Don’t sleep with Eric. I could give you a few other names too, but let’s start there. Oh, but do sleep with JP. Don’t worry, you’ll marry him.

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Know that you’re beautiful. You are such a beautiful girl and you are not too fat (not even close!). You have perfect skin and no cellulite! In fact, your “28 and counting” year old self will look back on photos of you as you are right now for fitness inspiration.

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Respect your body. Seriously, put down the McNugget. You may be skinny now but you are creating really damaging eating habits that are going to haunt you for years. Nothing, even McNuggets, are worth that. Learn to cook early. Trust me, you will really enjoy it.

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Speak up! You know that feeling you get when you’re too shy to speak your mind and then someone else says what you were going to say…and gets great feedback? Well, that feeling continues into your early twenties. Let’s nip it in the bud right now, shall we?

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Stop being in such a rush to grow up. There isn’t a whole lot that is glamorous or fun about being a grown up. You think that it means you can do whatever you want but you’re forgetting that you’ll actually be able to do less because you’ll have more obligations (read: a mortgage, a career, and a never ending to do list). Enjoy every moment that you can because you will want this time back.

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You don’t know everything. Really. In fact, you hardly know anything. Listen to the guidance that the people around you are trying to give you. If you stop getting in your own way, you will have a much easier time navigating through life.

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You marry someone you never even saw coming and the exact opposite of who you expected. You know how you think that you deserve to marry that asshole you spent nearly a decade with? You know, the one who is abusive and makes you feel about an inch tall? Well, you’re wrong. You will marry a man who is exactly like dad and treats you like a princess. You can hardly believe it when you find him. Do not let him go.

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Don’t let any man disrespect you, ever. I promise that none of them are worth what it will do to your self-esteem. Your most important male relationship was your first one: dad. He showed you how you deserve to be treated and you really need to believe him. He loved you so much and would have done absolutely anything for you. Your husband should do the same (and he does). You’ll notice that I am talking about dad in the past tense. I will get to that.

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You’re going to lose your dad far too early. You’re a daddy’s girl. I know that you can’t imagine life without his guiding compass. It’s still hard for me to imagine it. He’s not going to meet your potential future children and he didn’t get to walk you down the aisle on your wedding day. That broke both of your hearts and you probably won’t ever be able to bear the sight of a father daughter dance at a wedding. But he did get to meet JP and he did impact your life in ways that will transcend his death.

He’s not here now and I can’t explain to you how badly and deeply that hurts. I don’t think it will ever go away. But I promise that he didn’t lose his ability to guide you just because he’s gone. You will still be able to hear his voice in your head and I hope that we never lose that. Writing his eulogy will nearly break you and reading it at his funeral is the hardest thing you’ve done to date. You need to do it though because it meant a lot to mom and dad deserves it. Don’t worry. JP will be right there beside you, like always.

It will be hard to see your friends get to do things with their dads that you will never get the chance to do. It’s also hard to hear them disrespect their dads and not be grateful that they still have them. Try not to become bitter. You had the best dad ever, your #1 superhero, and he wanted to live and stay here with you. He didn’t want to miss anything from your life and he tried so hard to beat cancer. It’s not fair, but it’s the hand our family has been dealt. Focus on what you’ve gained by being dad’s daughter (no one can take that away from you) rather than what you’ve lost through his death.

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Sometimes, mom really does know what she’s talking about. I know she sounds ridiculous sometimes and you think she couldn’t possibly know anything about anything, but she does. She can save you a lot of heartache if you stop having such a bad attitude and just listen.

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Know your value. There will be men who just want you for your body and friends who just want you for your stuff. You feel too insecure to be able to recognize this and you’re also way too trusting. Only give your loyalty to the people who deserve it and know that you are worth respecting.

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Quality over quantity in terms of friendship is actually true. Right now, you have a lot of people to go out with but they aren’t your real friends. I know it’s hard to hear that, but it’s true. They won’t be there for you when things get hard and it will hurt when they let you down. Your social circle will dwindle down significantly but the relationships that you do have will become stronger. Only keep people in your life who deserve to be there.

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Stop worrying so much. Most of the things you worry about don’t even end up happening (I can tell you that with certainty). There’s a lot of things in life that you can’t control and you need to accept that rather than trying to change it (or continuously dwelling on it).

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Know that your best is enough. All that you can ever do is your best. Sometimes, you’re going to make mistakes but it’s true what they say: your mistakes are experiences that will help you learn and grow as a person. No one can expect more than your best and you need to stop being your own harshest critic. Try being your own biggest supporter instead.

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Take more pictures. Life is short, time goes by so fast, and your memories will eventually fade. Pictures are so important, so take a moment and snap some!

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One day I will need a letter from my “38 and counting” year old self. Life is a constant learning curve and what you consider crucial at this very minute seems trivial from where I’m sitting. There is certain wisdom that can only be gained by living and you can’t always give someone the benefit of your experience. However, if I could, the above is exactly what I’d tell you. I only hope that you’d listen.

Sincerely,

A Scarlet who knows better

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117 thoughts on “A Letter To Me

    1. Thank you! I think active listening is something a lot of people struggle with. Often we are just waiting for our turns to speak rather than actually hearing what the other person is saying. I’m always trying to improve this skill (yes, I think it’s a skill!).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, not old…just oldER.

      It’s funny how your concept of what is considered to be old changes as you age. I remember when I thought 25 was ancient. I’d take 25 again!

      It’s amazing how much perspective a decade brings and how fast the decades sneak up on you!

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      1. age is just a number! you’re only as old as you feel, i’d say. but then again… that would make me a centinarian? 😛

        time flies when you’re having a good time 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 I’m going to go through this exercise every 10 years. It was really tough to write because it was so emotional, but I’m proud of the piece I ended up with. Usually if I’m crying as I write, I get a good output!

      You should make that post! Advice to your 20-something year old self from your 40-something year old self. I’d read it 🙂

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    1. I appreciate the feedback and I do agree with your sentiment. I feel like I’ve got things more figured out now than I did as a teenager, so I can only imagine how I will feel after I’ve been married for longer, potentially have kids, have advanced in my career, and know myself even better.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laura! I love your blog and I really enjoyed reading your responses to the questions you were asked. I also think it’s adorable that your parents left you sweet comments!!

      I will definitely participate 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. An exciting and inspiring post, thank you so much! I’m 36, and I recognized a lot of things you write about, and I’m surely going to think more about some that I haven’t experienced yet (both of my parents are alive, and I feel I talk to my dad way too seldom). There has been research that suggests we sometimes tend to live like we’ll never get old, so we don’t really think about the harm we may do to ourselves. The research (I can’t find it right now) said – if we wrote letters to our future self or imagined being really old, we’d take better care of ourselves, our skin, our retirement fund etc. Your letter reminds me of that and makes me see the perspective, so thanks a lot!

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    1. Thank you so much for your feedback!

      I think a lot of times we don’t believe that things will happen to us. We also tend to avoid dwelling on uncomfortable subjects and imagining what they could mean for us. We don’t take the time to stop and examine how we are living and consider that a lot of things that we assume only “happen to other people” are actually really common experiences.

      We really should make the most of every single day but too often we simply don’t. We are too caught up in our day to day existences to really stop and consider if we are living how we want to be and treating people how we should be. I never thought that cancer would take my dad from me and it really changed my perspective and outlook on life.

      I also think that we often feel that we can just do something later. We push things off until it’s potentially too late. It’s horrible to consider that there may not be “a later” and so many of don’t even consider the possibility. I do believe in living in the moment but I also think it’s practical to consider the future and what we want to stand for in our lives.

      It’s a tricky subject, but this reflective exercise (writing the letter) was really helpful for me.

      Like

  2. What a great thing to share, not just for yourself, but for us as well! The part about your dad deeply touched me, I really felt that. I want to write one like this for myself too, I hope you wouldn’t mind me getting the idea from you, Miss (Mrs?) Scarlet. 🙂 And thanks for dropping by my freshly “made” page! K xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate that you took the time to let me know that my writing inspired you. I’d be honoured if you’d write your own letter because of mine – that’s the greatest compliment a writer can get! I look forward to reading yours (if you post it!).

      Losing my dad is still pretty new for me, so this was a difficult post to write. However, I’m really glad that I did it. The writing process helps me heal and I am also really happy that I’ve been able to touch others with my prose. So, thank you and I look forward to following along with your blog!

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      1. Yes, I will post it! 🙂 I experienced loss as well (my uncle) and for what it’s worth, I believe the bond as genuine as what we have with them (plus the love), is something death can never touch. I admire you for posting it, great strength.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. That reminds me of the rollercoaster we went through with my dad. When I went to visit, I had no idea what state I would find him in. Some days would fill me with hope and others would fill me with sadness. Even at the bitter end, I was still holding on to a thread of possibility that he would make it but unfortunately that did not come to pass. It’s a very challenging experience to watch your parents get old, sick, and then pass. I hope my mom (Grams) can at least skip the sickness phase and live a long, healthy life!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What an insightful post. Thank you for sharing! There are many pieces of wisdoms we can all benefit from regardless of how old we are.

    I was at a dinner party once and the conversation was “if you could be any age, what age would you be?”. And similar to your musings, my response was “Can I keep my current mind or do I have to go back to being an idiot?”

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    1. Thank you for your kinds words 🙂

      I couldn’t agree more with your dinner party response. If I could go back to my 18 year old body and responsibilities, I would only agree if I could keep my 28 year old brain. Otherwise, it’s not worth it!

      Like

  4. very nice..i like the way you write.. some of the points are so so heart touching.. sorry about your dad.. I know how deeply hurting it is because i have gone thru that.. thank you for the wonderful blog and nice reads today.

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  5. This is timeless. Everyone I grew up with could have used this advice. Young ones now could have used it, and even younger ones could still use it, if they’d only listen. This is wonderful advice for the young (Girls and boys). Definitely worth a re-post.

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  6. This is wonderful. If I were going to write to my younger self I would tell myself that she counts and that the crushing weight of emotion that she spends years dealing with was not hers. I would tell myself that I / we are an Empath and I would explain how to deal and work with it. Oh, there is so much I would tell me!! There might be a blog post in this. I’m going to have to give it some thought.

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  7. Dear 28 from 57, I can verify that time flies way too fast. What you heard from the totally grey zone was true. Many tell you age is just a number. Personally I now dish that idea as well. The reality is that you will appreciate that every day is a privilege and it is the only one you have. It is up to you to make the most of it. The number you need to zone in is Today is the one! If you are lucky, you write yourself a letter in the future, but there is also a risk that you won’t. Around 57, you start to accept that idea. Trust me, live today. I am not telling you to eat what you like and don’t wear sun screen. You will be too wise to do that anyway. Just go for the priorities. Take deeper and sweeter breaths, smile and be kind.

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  8. I am so happy that I stumbled across your lovely little blog. I read this post and felt like I could breathe after, telling myself to stop worrying about things in life you cant control. I am inspired by your writing and the things you have gone through in life and how you can write about them in such an honest way. Thank you for helping me relate to some things that I have also gone through, suddenly I feel like I’m not the only person in the world… which I’ve felt for a while. Such a good piece of writing!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment. Your words really made my day after a terrible week! Finding so many people going through similar experiences has been one of my biggest surprises since I started blogging and something I’m also extremely grateful for. I had no idea I would have the opportunity to connect with so many people from around the world, but I’m so glad that I have!

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      1. That fills me with confidence that there are others out there who we can connect with, all it takes is someone as brave as you to open up about them. So thank you for that, I’m sure I will love to read your other posts too. I hope you have a lovely rest of the week!

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  9. Hi, Firstly, Thank you for liking my “Bluebirds of Happiness” but, secondly, this “letter to me” is really lovely, sometimes its nice to actually remind yourself of exactly what you did and were not prepared to do.
    Hope you dont mind if i follow you, i’m new to this writing malarky, a twice stroke survivor, its great for my rehab, and loving it.
    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kinds words!

      I’m sorry to hear about your health challenges. I think it’s wonderful that writing has been therapeutic for you and that it is helping you to recover.

      Writing is my passion and having a creative outlet makes so much difference to my overall well-being. I’m making a lot of progress with my novel and it’s a great feeling!

      I appreciate you following along 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I enjoyed this post so much! It really made my day. IDK how to explain this … it just really connected with me, so much that I can’t even explain it in words! There are so many things we don’t know and so many things we did that we regret when we look back at ourselves …. when I’m 50 years old, I’m gonna write a letter to myself, too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad that my post resonated with you 🙂

      I am thinking of writing a letter to my future self, too. I think it would be an equally worthwhile exercise. I’m going to be 30 this year (eek! scary!), so no time like the present!

      Thank you for reading and following along. Much appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

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