Upon the occasion of being one year away from half a century old...

Dear 17-year-old me,

Yoo-hoo. Hey. It's me, your 49-year-old self. Been thinking a lot about you lately. Have some things I want to share. Wrote them down so you can have a hard copy. So hang up with you-know-who and listen...

You are not fat. Seriously. No matter what anyone in the family says. In fact, while we’re thinking of it, go ahead, put on the bathing suit with the zipper and take a big bunch of pictures. One day you’ll be 45 and driving a Honda Pilot and you’ll look back at those photos with a big old smirk on your face. You are gorgeous just the way you are. (Get it? You'll still listen -- and love -- Billy Joel, even when you're old like me.)

You are going to kiss a lot of frogs. Have fun. But be intelligent about it. I know you know what I mean.

It is okay to change your mind. You are not expected to know what you want yet. Honestly. It’s ridiculous to ask a person who cannot yet vote, fight for her country or legally drink alcoholic beverages to decide what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Experiment. Take chances. Fail. Try again. Follow your heart. Take that dance class. That acting class. Voice lessons. Creative writing. Follow your heart. It’s your life. Not anyone else’s.

Never be afraid to stand up for what’s right. Even if it’s not popular. And try not to spend too much time worrying about being popular. There’s more to you than that. Embrace it. Feel comfortable in your own skin. And make sure you take care of that skin – moisturizer is your pal.

Keep writing. And save your journals. Take notes. One day, you’re going to want to write a book. If you keep on journaling, you’ll have great material.

For the love of God, do not register for any class before 8 am in college. You will not go. Ever.

Work harder in Spanish class. It would be nice to remember something you learned in those 19 years of Spanish classes, plus two semesters in college. You’re going to want to go to Cuba, perhaps to celebrate a significant birthday, and it would be great if you could do more than order a cerveza and ask where el baño is while you’re there.

Pay better attention when Nana is making her boiled custard. No one on that side of the family is a good cook and the boiled custard is really the only family recipe that’s worth anything, except for Auntie Ruth’s rice, but that one is so easy that we all basically have it memorized. Some holiday season you are going to want to make some boiled custard to surprise Betty Jane and it would help if you remembered how Nana did it. You are also going to find yourself scouring something called eBay for a glass Gatorade bottle in which to store said boiled custard, so maybe use your hoarding tendencies for good in this regard.

Gather old stories from Grandma. And Gentry. Daddy (although his best stories will be told when you are older, so be patient.) Nana. Write those stories down.

You are more than a number on a scale or a number on a clothing tag. Do not let that become your obsession. Even if the world around you seems to think it should be. Be healthy. Love yourself, warts and all. And find ways to channel your emotions other than eating. You’re welcome.

Your hair is gorgeous. Just the way it is. People pay large sums of money to have hair like yours. So embrace it. Love it. And love the boys who love it. It’s a gift. Even when you find that first grey hair in a couple of years. 

Find a way to study abroad. And travel. Go, see do. If you don’t, you will regret it.

That meteorology class you think you should take in case you are called upon to be a weather girl? Yeah. Don’t. Not the class to take in the semester you decide to embrace your inner party girl. Trust me.

Bill will become one of your best friends. Happens faster than you think it will. Not many brothers/sisters have the kind of relationship you have. Cherish it. And him, his smart-mouth and all. 

Learn how to drive a stick shift. Make a point to do this. You never know when it will come in handy and you will avoid one set of recurring nightmares that will haunt you well into middle age.

The standard issue path to marriage and children. Won’t be one you take. Your trek will be, well, a little crazy. But you are strong enough to manage it. I didn’t say handle, for that has a negative connotation. I say manage, because it gives you control. And about that control… it’s ok to relinquish it sometimes. You don’t have to be superwoman. Let go. You’ll survive. You’ll thrive. And will amaze yourself. 

Remember: you are enough. You do enough.

You are a spectacular woman. You. Yes you.

Much love...


planetKnit said...

Happy Birthday!!!!! <3 <3 <3

Ruprecht said...

Very nice, Janey ...

Marissa Rapier said...

Tell her post script she is MOMNIMPOTENT!