Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dear Younger Me...

Remember a while back, when it was popular for bloggers to write letters to their younger selves, giving them advice and imparting wisdom they wish they had back in the day?  I always thought it was kind of silly, because 1. Younger Mes always think they know everything and would not have listened anyway, and 2.  Hindsight makes everyone smarter.  But despite being late to the trend, I thought I would give it a try anyway.

Dear Younger Me,

Please do these things.

1.  Wear more sunscreen.
2.   Get a more useful degree, like nursing or something.
3.   Don't date/marry/hang out with men who don't appreciate you.
4.  Stop it with the obsessive running.  Do a pushup or something once in awhile.
5.  Don't be a firefighter.  Do something that makes more money and isn't so hard on you.
6.  Settle down someplace!
7.  Save more money.

Sincerely,

Older Me

Then I decided to break it down.

1.  Wear more sunscreen.   This needs to stay.  Younger Me was known to put on Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Oil and "lay out" in the sun for hours.  Foolish YM, focused on a tan, didn't realize that 90% of the signs of aging are caused by sun exposure.  Thanks a lot!

2.  Get a more useful degree, like nursing or something.  I wanted to be a park ranger in college, so I designed my degree around this.  But I can't really say it was wrong, because I did actually become a park ranger, and had an amazing time living and working in national parks.  So, scratch that one.

3.  Don't date/marry/hang out with men who don't appreciate you.  Facebook memes and quotes love to refute this, saying lofty things like. you meet each person for a reason, thanks to the ones who left me, blah blah blah B.S.  I don't need any jerks to teach me more about myself.  This one's legit.

4.  Stop it with the obsessive running.  Do a pushup or something once in awhile.  Truth, I used to be obsessed with running.  It was all I did, unless I went hiking, when I would often run before or after the hike too! It makes me tired to think about.  I don't do that anymore.  I still run, but I also lift weights, hike, snowboard, and a lot of other things.  Still, I can't be mad at this.  I was a good runner then.  I won races.  And I built a platform of endurance and learned to push through suffering, something that helps me when I climb mountains and work for hours on the fireline.  This one's out.

5.  Don't be a firefighter.  Do something that makes more money and isn't so hard on you.  This one's tough.  I see friends who made different career choices who have more money for retirement, and who can take vacations in the summer.  But, scratch this, because firefighting opened up an amazing world to me and brought me some of the most incredible experiences and people.

6.   Settle down someplace!  I have a gypsy soul.  I used to move every six months.  If I had stayed somewhere I would have more friends.  I might have paid off a mortgage.  But this one has to go too.  I've lived in Alaska and Hawaii, and a lot of places in between, including Glacier and Grand Canyon National Parks.  I wouldn't want to give that up.

7.  Save more money!  I wish I had more.  But then I would have had to give up my favorite money-sucking activity, travel.  Give up sunrise on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro?  Camping on the shore of Antarctica? Backpacking around New Zealand? Impossible!

So here's what I'm left with:

Dear Younger Me,

Do these things.  Or not.  I warned you!

1.  Wear more sunscreen.
2.  Don't date/marry/hang out with men who don't appreciate you.

And:
3.  Try not to regret anything.  Except not wearing sunscreen!

Sincerely.

Older Me
Younger Me at high school graduation, probably not wearing sunscreen.

12 comments:

  1. Good advice to YMe and especially those that had at first seem good advice to younger me, but on reflection, had more good parts than down parts...so can be kept. You have done some good work and lived in some amazing places.

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    1. Younger Me was kind of dumb at times, but also made some good choices.

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  2. I don't know, your life sounds like it's been pretty amazing. And I think we all regret not wearing sunscreen more often. :)

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    1. I had friends who used to put on baby oil in the sun. Ouch!

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  3. I totally agree with the sunscreen thing, except my letter would specifically say "Don't believe that guy who tells you that you don't need to buy sunscreen because he has some for your day at the beach." Turns out his sunscreen bottle was older than dirt and pale-face me spent all day at the beach with the equivalent of no sunscreen. I still blame any signs of sun damage on him!

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  4. I love this blog post!!!! I wouldn't be who I was without the 'bad choices'!!!!! But that said...yeah I wish I would have worn sunscreen also!!!!!

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    1. You're in a good place now, it sounds like. And, those tans were so not worth it!

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  5. looks to me like you've had/got a good life.

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  6. I remember reading these on blogs, there was a whole site dedicated to this. I love the idea, I may steal it. On the topic of sunscreen, I wish I'd started using eye cream at age 20

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    Replies
    1. Steal away, that's how I get my best ideas. Also, eye cream, me too.

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