A Letter to My Younger Self

Dear Karey,

It's been awhile. I turned fifty this year. Can you believe that? I'm sure you think you'll never get here, but I assure you, it will come before you know it and when you arrive, you'll be stunned because you'll still feel young. The biggest reminder that you're no longer young will be your creaking joints and your adult and nearly adult children. I guess that's not entirely true. The older you get, the more you learn and there are a few things I'd like to tell you so you can avoid some of the pitfalls I've fallen into.

You need to relax about your future. You worry about more than you need to. You don't need to wonder if you'll ever find a good guy. You will. It will take you a little longer than you thought, so don't stress. Enjoy meeting people and maybe take a couple of good vacations while you wait to meet him. You're going to like him a lot. You don't need to worry when you don't get pregnant immediately. You'll get to have four amazing kids, so don't panic.

Don't help your kids practice their musical instruments. It's stressful and sometimes you're too much of a control freak. Encourage them, but don't get annoyed or frustrated when they act like kids. You have good kids so worry about them a little less and enjoy them a little more. I promise you're going to be thrilled when you see how they're turning out and you're going to like them a lot. Sometimes they're going to blow your mind with how smart, funny, talented and clever they are.

Remember when your parents said the most important friends you'll ever have will be your family? How friends come and go but family is eternal? They're right. You'll find as you get older that your parents and your siblings are some of the funniest, most amazing people you'll ever meet, so love them, love their spouses, and love your nieces and nephews.

Do more walking and yoga and less stair-stepping and step aerobics. Your joints are going to turn crackly and painful, so be kinder to them when you're younger and maybe they'll bother you less when you get older.

The American Medical Association says to start getting colonoscopies when you're fifty. That won't work for you. You'll be dead if you wait that long. Schedule one when you're forty-three and not a day later. Seriously!

Speaking of your body, eat healthy but don't do Atkins, Body for Life, Weight Watchers or any other "program." Your doctor will explain to you later that your body doesn't react like most and that as long as you have healthy habits, you don't need to worry about the scale. (You probably won't do it, but I think you'd be a happier person if you just threw the scale away.) When you're tempted to do Weight Watchers, let me just warn you that a woman who doesn't smile will tell you that you're not being honest in your food record and that you must be taking in more calories than you're reporting. She's not very nice and she'll make you feel horrible even though you know she's wrong. Just ignore her.

If you do something wrong, apologize for it and then move on. There will be a couple of times when you'll try to make amends with someone who picked a fight with you and then refused to forgive you, even when you apologize and make cookies. Move on. Don't stew over it. Sometimes people just aren't nice. Sometimes they're miserable and they want you to feel bad. Fill your life with people who forgive and don't hold grudges. There are a lot of really nice, positive people out there. There won't even be time to build friendships with all the nice ones, so don't worry about pleasing the negative ones.

Watch less news. It's good to know what's going on, but don't get caught up in the sensational, constant barrage of bad stuff. Right now you like to have the radio or tv on as background noise. I've learned that quiet is much better than background noise, so turn it off most of the time.

Don't cut the toenails on your big toes. File them instead. It will save you about a thousand painful, ingrown toenails.

Accept your curly hair and don't waste so much of your life trying to straighten it. You'll be a lot happier when you stop fighting it.

Don't try Sees candies. Ever. If someone offers to share theirs with you, say no. If someone brings you a box as a gift, re-gift it. If you never taste them, you won't know what you're missing and you'll be able to drive on I-15 without hearing marzipan, California brittle, and butterscotch squares calling your name. They're like a drug. Just say no.

When your husband comes home and he's spent good money on rims for the car (or a new stereo, or having a sunroof installed in a pickup), just smile. It's a guy thing and he'll outgrow it and it's not worth all night fights. I promise.

Don't worry that your mother-in-law doesn't like you. It's okay. She's probably just sad to be losing her son to you. She gets over it and eventually you win her over.

Go ahead and sign a contract with a publisher for Gifted. It will be good experience and you'll learn a lot about the publishing business. But don't give them For What It's Worth. You'll regret that a lot.

And finally, I want to thank you. Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for developing faith when you were young and for putting yourself in places where you could have spiritual experiences that would stay with you for decades. Thank you for serving a mission and for learning how to pray. You've made it a lot easier for me to get through the hard times.

I know you probably don't give the fifty-year-old you much thought, but thanks for helping me get where I am today. I'm super blessed.

Have a great life.

Karey

3 comments:

Mindy said...

I love this, Karey. So many great insights. I think this is the one that gave me the biggest light bulb today: "There won't even be time to build friendships with all the nice ones, so don't worry about pleasing the negative ones." So true! I never feel like I have the time to spend on relationships with the people I adore and love, and who adore and love me, so why am I EVER wasting time trying to build a relationship with someone who just doesn't get me. I agree... apologize and move on. I've worked on and gotten better at the moving on part, but I love the perspective of seeing the lack of time to build the good friendships. I'm going to focus more on that. :)

Gwynn White said...

I so enjoyed that! Thank you for sharing. Very, very special.

Tawnie said...

love this. Its amazing the way we continue to learn and grow and change. Thank goodness.