I have so much to tell you, not all of which you will want to hear. I have advice, which I'm sure you will not like, as well as memories of things you will do, both good and bad.
The first thing I'd ask you to think about is not what you want to be when grow up, but how you want to live. If you can define the how of living, the what will follow course. What I mean is if you want to live the life of the rich and famous, you could marry into money. You could also find a career that would lead to that fame and fortune.
What I would ask you to consider is the price of that fame and fortune. Do you want to give up your privacy for a life of avoiding the paparazzi? Do you want people to stare at you every time you go out in public, not let you eat your meal without someone commenting on your food choices? Do you want to hide behind closed blinds and high walls to protect your children and your privacy in a world that will increasingly blur lines between public and private lives, between what is acceptable behavior and what is intrusive and potentially dangerous intrusion.
Do you choose a life where you are fulfilled with your family and friends? You will marry, once to the wrong man, once to the right one. In the first case, you will not pay attention to what your friends and family say to warn you off the marriage before it happens. You will marry and realize as you walk down the aisle that you could still stop it. But you will not. You will learn from this so when the right man finally appears out of the darkness in a disco in Tokyo you will recognize him as the right person to have in your life.
You will inherit a family, not have your own children, and you will be just fine with that. You will discover three children who will become your closest friends as years go by and they grow up. You will not try to be their mother, since they already have that role filled, but you will be able to be a role model and friend who listens to hopes and fears.
You will have many friends over the years, but not all of them will be around forever. You might have the very best friend who comes into your life for a few days and then exits, leaving behind a footprint of a particular kind of friendship at a moment of need. You will have opportunities to be that five-day best friend often in your life. I hope you remember how important it was when your first five-minute best friend reached out a hand to help.
Some of your friends will turn out not to be as true as you had once believed. You will learn to identify those friends who are toxic, who are emotional vampires who suck the life out of you. When this happens, you will be called on to decide how you want to let the friendship go. You can cause a blow up that will harm both of you. Better, you can let the friendship whither slowly over time. Only you can decide which path to take. Choose wisely, and you will be comfortable with your decision. Choose unwisely, and you might feel better for the blow up but in the long run will realize you chose the wrong path.
To be continued on January 27.
If we only knew then what we know now, huh? Life is full of lessons meant just for us.
If only we could give our younger selves a few words of wisdom. Interesting post, Betsy!
I love this, Betsy. I have a journal that prompts entries and the purpose of it is to leave to my granddaughter. One of the prompts is a letter to my younger self. I was stumped on how to do it. You have given me a great idea. Thanks!
A good way to reflect, Betsy. I love the idea of quick, but important friendships. I'm an Army brat with so few enduring ties...no 'friends forever.' Friends come and go and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Great post, Betsey. On long car trips, Hubs & I talk about theoretical questions--my instigation. LOL Things like "would you change xxx?" We talk about decisions we've made and whether we'd do it differently. Both of us have come to the same conclusion. No, because we wouldn't have the life we're living, wouldn't have the kids and grandkids we have now. Sure, I'd like to have known how certain things turned out. It would've made things easier if we knew a certain bad time that seemed like it would go on forever would end in 10 months or a year. You can deal with anything if you know it will end soon.
Thanks for the thought-provoking post. Even though I definitely have regrets and things I would change, I always say that I don't look back and beat myself up. Every road we take leads us to where we are, and I'm quite happy with where I am. I always have been, even when the 'where I am' wasn't so great. I have inner contentment regardless, or at least I try to. :)
Life seems to be full of so many 'if onlys'. Then we realize we did okay after all. Thought provoking. I like it.
Love this post, Betsy, especially the advice on friendships, and letting go of toxic relationships. That's a tough one, but so true. Looking forward to the next part.
Great post. You had me at, "The first thing I'd ask you to think about is not what you want to be when grow up, but how you want to live." What words of wisdom. Looking forward to Part 2.
Thanks to everyone who commented on the entry. I was away on vacation when this dropped. I'm happy each of you took something away that you could think about. My appreciation to all in this group.
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