To my youngest self: A year makes the most difference at the beginning of life, and as I see now, in the midst of a pandemic, also as we enter older age. In between, there is time to recover from setbacks and change course.
Be proud of your accomplishments and intellect. Whew, all those highs and lows ...
To my grade school self: It’s OK that you aren’t either a “girly-girl” or a tomboy. Celebrate your imagination and unique take on life. It will serve you well.
To my middle school self: Focus internally, not on what you look like outside. The awkwardness is terrible and both kids and adults are cruel. Just because you are adult sized, adults have said you are “retarded” when you play with your petite friends. Ignore them.
To my high school self: Be proud of your accomplishments and intellect. Congratulations, you are enjoying school, activities, and friends. Disregard your mother when she thinks you are unattractive, but try to have empathy for her personal struggles.
To my college self: Wonderful, you’ve taken advantage of the amazing opportunities that college offers. What a terrific foundation to move forward.
To my 20s self: Whew, all those highs and lows … you establish your career, fall in love, and go your own way on all counts. That’s hard. You eventually go to therapy to help you, but there is no shame in getting it sooner rather than later.
To my 30s self: However hard it is, try harder to resist the social pressure to marry, and now that you are, insist on being treated better. But once you realize your mistake, you don’t beat yourself up. Fail early. You get points for knowing you don’t want children, despite forced trips to psychologists to figure out what was “wrong” with you.
To my 40s self: Wandering in the wilderness, you have the sympathy of my present self. You show grit after a divorce, but it takes a while to find your way after that. A subsequent heartbreaking relationship and death of your father are no fault of your own.
To my 50s self: Many challenges with health and misdiagnoses come your way. Good show for refusing psychiatric meds for what turns out to be autoimmune diseases. You find a way to regain decent health and show discipline in finding a good full-time job. You can lobby more strongly for help at home.
To my 60s self: Be prouder in your retirement and recognize the value of caregiving responsibilities. Focus on purpose balanced with fun.
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.