Saturday, December 12, 2009

If I had to do it all again...

I don't consider myself one to get writer's block but I do get overwhelmed and find that I just do not make time for writing. Today, however, I'm writing a letter to my younger self. Why? Well, I could say that it's because I'm inspired by the holidays... but that wouldn't be entirely honest. I'm actually entering a contest at Chocolate Covered Daydreams where someone will win a Wii Fit Plus. It's not a random drawing, but is being judged. Of course, I'm hoping that all the winner will be me but this contest had an unexpected outcome. Once I started composing the letter in my head, I realized it was pretty therapeutic. I went back and changed my letter entirely. With that, here's my letter to my younger self:

Dear teenage Nicole,

What would you think if I said that 25 years from now, you'll be married to a fantastic man, have two beautiful daughters, have seen some wonderful places and be retired? As you look around, that doesn't seem very realistic, does it? You feel unpopular, ugly and sad. But I'm here to tell you that it's all true. It will happen if you stay on the right path.

You're going through a rough time, I know. I remember. But seriously, it's really not as bad as it seems. The braces will come off and you'll shed the glasses for contacts. You'll do great in school, too. Believe it or not, you WILL eventually have a boyfriend. You'll smile with confidence and make people feel at ease around you.

But I'm not going to say everything is rosy. The hard truth is that you'll find more difficulties in the future, too. Depression, an eating disorder, financial strains, infertility and depression (again) to name a few. But you'll get through it and you'll come out stronger on the other side. Alongside your husband, you'll become financially savvy. Your children will make you feel old and young at the same time. You'll see some family members leave way before their time and others live to see great-grandchildren.

Just keep a few things in mind:
- You're not perfect. Nobody is.
- You won't have the perfect life. Nobody does.
- Realize there's a difference between being hard on yourself and beating yourself up.
- You're a good person, even when you are at your lowest.
- You'll have some friends who stand with you and help you... you'll have others who use you and abandon you.
- Experience will show you that life is not fair. Some people lie and cheat to get ahead while others work hard just to make ends meet. You will get passed over for job promotions but something better will come along if you maintain a positive attitude.

It all works out eventually.

When I started this letter, I had every intention of telling you YES, apply for West Point or Harvard like you (will) consider. But then I realized that the decisions you're about to make... that I DID make... got US to where we are now. And if I had to do it all over again, I would. The same way. With all the mistakes, hardships and all.

I'll close this letter by simply saying "Hang in there. Just keep your chin up and have hope because good things happen to good people."

A much older, much wiser and much more confident you.