5 Things I’d Tell Myself 10 Years Ago

Saturday I turned thirty one. Thirty one is an unremarkable age. It’s not an important one like twenty one or eighteen or sixteen. People look forward to those. It’s not awful either. It’s not like thirty. People seem to think their life is over at thirty. Thirty really didn’t shake me.

At twenty one, I’d just lost my twins. Everything shifted. My life has not been the same.

I was at war with myself over my identity. I was pushing myself to be like other people and not who I wanted to be.

Tony and I made a pact that at twenty one, we’d go to the casino together just to say we’d been. We didn’t go. We discussed it later, but still ten years have passed and we still have not been.

If I could go back and talk to my twenty one year old self knowing what I know now, I would enlighten myself on many things.

  1. Read and write. A lot. Stop wasting your time on things that do not matter. I know it’s hard right now, but writing will heal you. This is what you need to do for you. I know you think you are writing, but it’s not nearly enough.You’ve got better stuff in you. You’re neglecting your reading. Diversify your reading.The library is free and within walking distance. No excuses.
  2. Go see a doctor. You and Tony both have things you need to nip in the bud. Also, I know you work at a fish house, but eat healthier. More veggies. Exercise.
  3. You have several toxic people in your life. Weed them out. You know who they are. Pay close attention to how they treat you. Don’t stand for that. You’ll be better for it.
  4. Think for yourself. Some of the opinions you have right now aren’t your own but those of other people and things that have been drilled into you. Read. It’ll help with the opinions. You owe it to yourself to decide for yourself.
  5. Go back to school. You’ll do this later. It’ll be great, but now is the perfect time. While working nights, your days are free. You’ll appreciate the accomplishment.

I could actually write a detailed book for my past self about traveling from then to now, but I suppose all those things helped me get to where I am now. I have nice, tight group of friends. I do regular yoga classes and am a member of a book club. I am still happily in a marriage that many people said would never last. I have a job I enjoy with people who appreciate me. I am at a place where I’m not wondering who I am supposed to be. I’m pretty happy with my world right now. Thirty one is looking good.

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Do Your Heartwork

I was admiring a drawing a friend of mine did recently. I told her she did lovely artwork. She told me it was because she did the work from her heart. I said, “So, it’s your heartwork.” She laughed and said that she hadn’t thought of it that way, but yes, it was.

I remember my friend, La Rue, telling me to work at what I love and do good work. She said it was important to carve out time to do what has meaning to you and to work at it. She gives good advice. If I did not make time to write or read, I would probably die. Maybe not physically, but emotionally and spiritually I would wither.

I went through a period where I did not write. I did not pick up a pen. I tried not to create in my head. I abstained completely. At the time, I did not realize just how miserable I was. I was lonely for characters that lived only in my mind and longed for words. I needed to create and do good work. It makes life bearable.

When I don’t have an outlet, I feel like I’m imprisoned in myself. It’s odd to think about it, but when I write, it’s like I’m plucking thorns from my skin. I need to do it so that the wound can heal. When Tony and I were dating, I wrote him letters all the time. Sometimes more than once a day. Sometimes, they were several pages long. And bless his nonreading heart, he read every word. I’ve never been great at verbalizing what I want to say, and it was my way of telling him how I felt. His taking the time to read them was his way of telling me how he felt.

Writing is what I do to deal with my reality as much as reading is what I do to escape it. It keeps me sane.

So, do your heartwork. Whatever that may be. Create. Run. Save lives. Write. Be a good parent. Whatever you love being in your life. Be that. Whatever you love doing in your life. Do that.