I saw this idea, to write a letter to your future self, on Healthy Living Blogs. It got me thinking about what I would say if I could seal a letter and leave it for myself to open 10 years in the future. What would the 30 year old version of me want to tell my 40 year old self? Then I decided to take it one step farther. What if I not only could send a letter 10 years into the future, what if, knowing what I know now, I could send one 10 years into the past?
Dear Future Abby,
Congratulations on just turning 40. Don’t let people teasing you about being “over the hill” stress you out. Remember when all your friends freaked out about turning 30? Instead you embraced the change with open arms. You were smart enough to realize that 30 was not the end of anything, in fact, it was a fabulous beginning - the beginning of a great new chapter in your life. A chapter full of wonderful friends, amazing family (adorable new nephew included), a great job, a beautiful town you love, and a new healthier you. Do the same with 40. Stop. Relax. Take a deep breath and realize that it is not your age, but your actions that define you. You’ve got this!
Now that we have that out of the way… I know you won’t have stopped running because it’s become a part of who you are. Be sure to love that about yourself, you are strong and you are dedicated. However, things do get busy and life gets in the way. Maybe you don’t get to tie your shoes on and escape as much as you would like to. Remember how happy you were a decade ago when you had new running goals? A summer running challenge and a second marathon approaching kept you excited and moving. Give yourself permission to do that again. You may have other things go on and there are lots of things that come up which are more important than a daily run, but you’re important too and running gives you great happiness and fabulous health. So sign up for another race, a half, maybe a full, and let yourself run wild. You’ll be glad you did.
Finally, at 18 you took a weeklong trip to Italy for a college course and could not wait to fill that passport full of stamps. Who knows how many times that passport has expired since then without making its way to a single new country? You’ve always been responsible and pushed all those travel dreams out of your head because it wasn’t in your budget. Well if you’ve hit 40 and still haven’t been anywhere out of the country yet – GO! Turns out you’ll always be struggling to pay bills that is one of the joys of being a teacher. You’ve spent the last eighteen years since college working hard and listening to the stories your friends tell of cruises and trips you can’t afford. It’s time to stop just listening and live! I give you permission, for once in your life be reckless, book a trip, put it on a credit card (even if you can’t pay it off right away), and take off on an adventure. Bike the Italian countryside, have lunch at a sidewalk café in Paris, hike through the Costa Rican rainforest, or swim from a beach in Indonesia. Pick a trip, make an adventure, and LIVE. You deserve it.
Always remember it is your inner beauty that makes you glow, that determination to push farther that keeps you moving, and your love for others that makes you happy.
Never lose who you are,
Abby May 2012
Dear 20 year old me,
Top 10 Things I Wish I’d Know When I Was Your Age:
10. Stop dating idiots, bad boys, and jerks because you think you can’t do better. You can. Besides it’s better to be single than to be with any of them, trust me on this one.
9. That bratty little brother of yours and those super embarrassing parents are probably the most amazing, caring, hilarious people in your life. Stop acting like you’re too cool for them. Embrace your family; you’ll be happier because of it.
8. Learn to enjoy time alone. It’s great just to sit and relax with a book or a movie even on a Friday night. It’s a fabulous way to distress and saves you tons of money.
7. Turns out you’re a pretty decent cook. Don’t be afraid to try new recipes, cook big dinners, invite friends over, and enjoy the delicious dishes you are capable of making.
6. Try running. I know your brother says you could only run from bears and to ice cream, but give it a shot. I know it is soooo hard at first. Don’t give up, keep pushing yourself. Try to set small goals and little challenges and very slowly you’ll work your way up. Turns out you’re not too bad at it and (even better) you really enjoy it.
5. Make your own health a priority. You are important and you need to start treating yourself as such. I know that right now you can live off of chips & queso, Velveeta shells & cheese, pizza, and chicken fingers and it doesn’t seem to affect you, but it will. I hate to break it to you, but it is going to catch up to you very soon. Make smarter decisions about what you eat, watch what you put into your body, and make occasional treats not every day splurges the norm. Your overall health and waistline will thank you for it.
4. Stop worrying so much about what others think. It doesn’t matter if your hair isn’t as pretty as that girls, or that you weigh more than her, or don’t have as much money as that one. Learn to be happy with yourself. Have confidence in who you are and don’t worry what anyone else thinks about you. It is a liberating and wonderfully feeling and I promise it comes with age, but you should try to speed it along a bit.
3. Your job should make you happy, or at least be bearable, don’t settle for less. If you wake up every day mentally and physically dreading going to work, quit. Take a chance and try to find something you enjoy doing. You might be out of work for a while, or stuck working as a waitress, but in the end it is worth it.
2. Be brave and don’t do what others expect of you. You hate living in Indiana and scraping snow and ice off your car every day. Do something about it! Pack up and move somewhere warm and beautiful. It’ll be scary being on your own, but be strong, be brave, and dive in. You’ll be very glad you did.
1. Stop trying so hard to “grow up.” Trust me it is overrated. Enjoy being young, being silly, and having less responsibility and more free time. Go out with your friends, try new things, make mistakes, but learn from them. You have the rest of your life to be an adult with a job, bills, and responsibilities. Don’t rush it.
|With friends in college (far left kneeling)|