One of my first posts on my blog was A Letter To Me where I wrote some words of wisdom to my younger self. That remains one of my favourite posts to date and I have decided to take it one step further and write a letter to my older self. I do think it would be wonderful to be able to put an old head on young shoulders, but I also think there is value in holding on to some youthful magic. My blog will be like a time capsule and I will make sure that my older self does actually read this post! Sorry, younger Scarlet, there is nothing that I can do for you. But you turned out pretty good anyway.
Dear Future Me,
You have the benefit of my experiences. You have seen me cry, rage, despair and, ultimately, make it through okay. You have seen my joy, my pain, my sorrow, my moments of doubt and self-loathing and you know that each experience I’m going through is required to become the person that you are now. You can see that all the blood, sweat, and tears that I’m struggling through were worth it.
However, what I fear that you forget is exactly how it feels to have these experiences. My current life is something you look back on and remember either fondly or with sadness but, for you, it happened a long time ago. There are things that I really don’t want you to forget because while you may be older and wiser, the younger you has a lot to offer, too. So while you’re going about your grown-up life, keep some of my wisdom in mind.
Don’t forget about what’s important in life. We learned a lot about the things that truly matter in life when dad died. As I write this, it was only 2 years ago that we lost him, but from where you’re sitting, it was a long time ago. I know that time makes pain fade, but I implore you not to let his lessons fade. Please don’t become motivated by money again and give up valuable, precious, and irreplaceable time with your family for a career that, in the long-term, really won’t make a difference to anyone. Do you know what will make a difference? Your presence. So be present and don’t forget the things you struggled so hard to work through in your earlier years. If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.
Stay healthy. I’m working so hard to lose weight and get healthy so that you can live a long and happy life. Don’t you dare get complacent, comfortable, or lazy and ruin all of the hard work that I’m doing. It is not easy and I really don’t want to ever have to repeat the grueling weight loss phase again. Maintenance sounds pretty good from where I’m sitting right now, so you really have nothing to complain about. Keep making healthy meals, stay away from those drive thru windows, and no matter how busy you are (and I know you’re busy because we wouldn’t have it any other way), keep exercising and stay active. The only one who will suffer if you stop is you.
Don’t define yourself by being a mother. Did you and JP have kids yet? I have a feeling that you did. I just want to remind you that right now I am a wife, a daughter, a friend, and a professional. Soon, I have a feeling that mother will be added to that list. However, I want it to be added and not to erase everything else on it. Motherhood is going to be one of the most important things that you ever do and I know that even from where I’m sitting (hint: the house is clean, quiet, and B is laying on my lap sound asleep), but you can’t lose yourself and your identity in that one role. I want to stay a well-rounded and balanced person who has hobbies and interests other than changing diapers and wondering who is doing carpool tonight.
Stay curious. I see a lot of middle aged moms who are caught up in the monotony of daily life. They don’t take the time to let some magic into their day to day and I hope that you don’t forget how important the small things really are. Try new things, push your boundaries, and challenge yourself to learn new things. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo or let yourself become so worn out with life that I wouldn’t recognize you. Remember that life is a gift and each day can bring meaning and lessons…if you stop and take the time to let it. Time goes by so fast that I’m sure I will be reading this letter before I can believe it. Don’t let time go by in a blur of chores and checking things off your to-do lists. I’m learning to live life like that right now, so you should be an expert by now!
Don’t let your marriage fail. So many couples get divorced nowadays and it’s probably even worse from where you are. I encourage you to remember why you fell in love with JP and keep in mind that you two are still those same people, just older and with more responsibilities. My point is that the magic is still there, it’s just hiding under loads of laundry, dirty dishes, and bills. I wrote about your marriage commandments and the things you wish you had known before you got married and I’m sure that you could add even more to both of those lists by now. You and JP always promised each other that you wouldn’t become “one of those couples” who snapped at each other over nothing, who resented each other, who stopped having sex, and who essentially resigned themselves to co-exist. Have you kept that promise? If you haven’t, then go on a date with your husband before it’s too late. Take a trip without your kids. Do something because I’m telling you that your marriage is worth it and you can’t forget it. Kids move out; don’t let your husband do the same.
Stay motivated. I have a lot of goals and I’m hoping by now that you’ve accomplished most of them and have created new ones. I am working really hard on a book right now, which I’m sure that you’ve not only published, but written another one in the series. I’m pretty terrible at yoga at the moment, but you’re much better since you’ve kept up the practice. I also know that you’ve traveled to at least a few of the places on our bucket list and have the wonderful photographs posted in the house for proof. Right? Personal development is so important and I can tell you that you will be a pretty dull person that I wouldn’t want to be around if you’ve given up on it.
Don’t let toxic people into your life. I have a pretty good group of friends now because I’ve eliminated a lot of them from my list. Have you let others in since then who you really shouldn’t have? I’m picturing your mommy and me classes, your pre-natal yoga, your pre-school dates, and all the other millions of things you’ve gotten involved in because you never do anything halfway. I cringe imagining some of the people you met there and what they are doing to your inner psyche. Maybe you’ve surprised me and kept your life clean, but I have a feeling that your trusting and loyal nature has gotten the better of you. If it’s time to do another purge, then do it!
Stay committed. I am currently trying really hard to be a better person. I want to do fundraisers for causes that matter to me several times per year, to donate time and money to people and animals in need, and take the time out of my busy day to be kind. Are you still doing all of that? I understand that priorities change as you get older and that you might be looking back on “poor, young, idealistic Scarlet” who wanted to make a difference in the world. Don’t let your crazy schedule distance you from making a difference. Don’t lose touch with the things that matter to me right now because while I might be idealistic, I’m not jaded…and I don’t want you to be either. Remember these wise words:
Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.
I will see you soon.