I'm prone to earworms, and I've had one particular song bouncing between my ears for a few weeks now. It's a new country song called "A Letter to Me," by Brad Paisley. (Don't tune out yet, Mary B. I won't make you listen to the actual song.)
Anyway, the song is basically a letter that the singer would write to his 17-year-old self. One of the best lines is "Have no fear, these are nowhere near the best years of your life."
It made me think about what I would say to my 17-year-old self (pictured), so here it is...
You won't believe this, but this is a letter from your future self. No, really, it's me, er, you, at age 29. You can tell that it's me because we're the only ones who know about the list on your closet door that names every outfit you've worn, in order, for the last six months. You started it because you didn't want the other cheerleaders to call you out on wearing the same bright green Girbaud jeans twice in the same week. Believe me, now?
I'm writing to you to offer a little advice, gleaned from surviving another 12 years or so:
Let go of your hangups about your "gut." You are gorgeous, and there will always be skinnier, more petite girls around you, so just enjoy what you've got. Rock your legs in short skirts as often as possible, honey!!
Also, don't let those high school teachers get you down! Being a nosy busy-body fits right into your career path. Soon people will be paying you hard cash to mind other people's business! Don't ever be afraid to challenge the rules and ask more questions.
Tear your sister away from the video games and sneak her out of the house for some fun. You may not believe me now, but she'll soon become one of your favorite people in all the world, a true friend and confidant. Might as well get an early jump on the sisterly giggles.
So, I know that you just got your first taste of heartache. Unfortunately, it won't be the last. It's bitter and it sucks, but it will not crush you. And believe me, all the sadness you encounter is worth it. I don't want to give too much away, but a broken heart actually helps you figure out who you are and where you belong. (Clue: it ain't Woodhaven Drive.) Plus, your husband turns out to be hot and more loving than you could imagine.
However, on the heels of that first broken heart, you recently rebelled a little and bought your first pack of cigarettes. You're still barely inhaling now, and it wouldn't be a big deal to drop the habit at this point. Please quit now, or you'll get stuck on them. In fact, by the time I'm writing this letter, you've been smoking for a dozen years. Nothing good has come from any of those smokes, so do us both a favor and put them down. Now. Never touch them again. Thanks.
Just one more thing before I go... enjoy the ride. You will be part of some truly wonderful moments, and there are some major blessings in store for you. Remember to be careful of other people's feelings, especially with the folks you don't particularly like, and stand up for yourself when it's time.
Elisabeth at 29
Oh, and P.S., Don't let the blueberry champagne fool you, rebound romps are always a bad idea.