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Letter to Myself--Advice to the Twenty-Year-Old Me

Updated on June 19, 2012
Yes, he's gay.
Yes, he's gay. | Source

Dear Self:

Thank you from taking time away from your rapt enjoyment of the Thorn Birds miniseries to read this letter. I know how much you enjoyed the book and that you have looked forward to this major television event for a very long time, but let me assure you that you will have ample opportunity in the future to watch this entire series as many times as you like. And just to silence that pinging alarm in your head—yes, Richard Chamberlain is gay. Hard to tell, I know—he’s such a good actor—but you have a finely tuned detector for such things. That’s part of what I want to talk to you about in this letter.

I’ve been tasked with sharing three important pieces of advice for you that might make your journey through life a little easier, and the first one is to listen to your instincts. I think you already know that the really cute guy you met last summer has turned out to be rather controlling and needy—and yet you are sticking with him through some pretty distressing behavior. Listen to your instincts. Tell him how you feel when he treats you the way he does, and walk away if you have to. I know there’s a little voice in your head that’s telling you that He’s The One—but you need to weigh the good with the bad and decide whether he’s able to adjust his behavior and expectations of you.

Don't even try...
Don't even try... | Source

Which leads to the second piece of advice: you are worthy. You’ve had the people in your life closest to you accuse you of laziness, lack of ambition, and a major case of spoiled brat entitlement, and your trusty instincts have told you that that’s not true—you have plenty of dreams and ambition, but your body doesn’t seem to be able to sustain the energy level needed to pursue them, much less achieve them. What you don’t know is that there is a physical reason for your lethargy. You will be diagnosed in a couple of years, and you will need to research and learn as much as you can about what you can (and can’t) do to take care of yourself. Don’t ignore it until you’ve run yourself down to the point of clinical exhaustion—take charge of your condition and stand up for yourself and your needs. Especially with that boyfriend—I might as well tell you that he is capable of changing his ways, but please start teaching him how to treat you NOW rather than letting it go for years. You can do it all—you just can’t do it all at the same time.

And so the third piece of advice is this: Start now. Don’t let anything get in the way of feeding your soul. Don’t let anyone tell you that pursuing whatever you’re interested in is a waste of time and effort, and that paychecks are more important than dreams. Get out and meet people—don’t wait until you have children (there are three and they are perfect in every way) to start making friends and building a network of support and love around them. Build that network around yourself—you’ll need it when the road gets bumpy.

You'll thank me one day...
You'll thank me one day... | Source

That’s the big stuff. There are a few little details you might be interested in, though—you won’t like living in Dallas nearly as much as you think you would right now; using all that sunblock is really going to pay off as you get older—be sure to put it on your hands, too; there’s a guy at Jester Hall right now who’s selling homemade computers out of his dorm room that you should look up—he could probably use some help handling orders and shipping details—his name’s Michael Dell; and—well, I’ll let you find out the rest for yourself. Who knows—things might actually turn out differently, and easier.

One last thing: As I write this, your 15-year-old daughter is preparing for her last performance in her first musical theater production (it’s called “Urinetown: the Musical”—trust me, it’s great. No, really.) She is so scary talented that she won the lead role over several seasoned veterans, and she sings a ballad in the first act that sums up much of what I’ve tried to tell you in this letter:

Follow your heart...
Follow your heart...

When darkness surrounds you
And you lose your way
You have your own compass
That turns night to day
And it's even with you
Before you depart
Be still, hear it beating
It's leading you
Follow your heart

We all want a world
Filled with peace and with joy
With plenty of justice
For each girl and boy
That bright shining world
Is just waiting to start
No anger or badness
Just laughter and gladness
If only you follow your heart

--lyrics by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis

Take care of yourself—




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    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 6 years ago

      Great advice! So many let their dreams be doused by naysayers and societies narrow expectations! Self-confidence and determinations allows one to swath their own life path - but - confidence comes with time and age, and determination seems to be a thing of the past - like memories.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 6 years ago from Chicago IL

      Oh how i wish I knew then what I know now. Loved reading this hub very much.

    • hecate-horus profile image

      hecate-horus 6 years ago from Rowland Woods

      I really enjoyed this hub; don't we all wish we could go back? Voted up and interesting!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 6 years ago from Planet Earth

      Great hub - I like the way you not only discussed decisions the 20-year-old you may have been facing, but also some contemporary events that unfolded to become world-famous in the future (the Dell thing). Finally, what a sweet touch to mention a daughter that would bless you in future years! What a nice idea - to give advice as well as a glimpse of things to come!

      Voted up and beautiful.

    • dmop profile image

      dmop 6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      This is great advice for your self, now if you could only go back in time to deliver it. I know there are many things I would tell myself if I could. Voted up, awesome, and interesting.