Friday, May 10, 2019

Hey Future Self! Are You Listening?

In eighth grade the teachers told her to write some letters to her future self. That was four years ago, and this week, as a high school senior, my daughter got those letters back. I'm not crying. You're crying, as they say.



Her: One of the biggest thing I learned is you need friends who make you happy.

Me: Have you ever had a friend that sucked the life out of you? Or a friend that was selfish and self centered? Or the kind who stabbed you in the back or was all about the drama? These people can make us miserable, yet we hold onto them sometimes for fear of letting go of the past or because we don't want to be lonely or because we think we don't deserve better. Well, we all do. Deserve better.

There is no shame in letting a friendship die or in walking away from someone in order to take care of yourself. I've done this a few times. It's hard but it's worth it. My life would not be what it is without my core group of friends who always have my back and who would move a dead body for me and dig the grave if I asked them to. You know who you are!

Her: I have always felt so pressured to be the most athletic person that I could be because people were always asking me, "Do you run with your mom?" I realized that I have no shame in not being interested in sports because that is just the type of person that I am.

Me: I felt a bit bad reading this wondering if she felt pressure from me. I never meant to pressure her, but I know the value of moving your body and in finding a team of support. I know just by my running all the time she probably thought I expected that of her and that she disappointed me if she didn't do it. That was not at all the case, but I can see where the 8th grade brain thinks so. I'm glad she learned self acceptance along the way (and I bet she starts running one day, just wait and see).

Well, it doesn't look like I forced her to do this 10k


Her: I think happiness is a mixture of the best thing in life. Great friends, doing what you love and without a doubt loving yourself.

Me: Okay, yeah, she nailed it here. I can't say it any better at 52 then she did at 13.


Her: I am truly hoping that in high school you have a sense of self love because 18-year-old-Emma, you are an amazing person.

Me: And, yes, she is.



Just reading her words really made me think of what I would tell my future self in four or five years.

I would tell that I hope she was brave and kept on even when the odds were not in her favor or when people were critical and judgy. I would tell her she better have reached for those things she wanted even though she was afraid of rejection. I would tell her I hoped that she had remained fearless and continued to do things that took her breath away and scared the shit out of her. There's really no other way to live in this 52 year old's opinion. And, I'm sure I'll feel the same way at 62, 72 and until I croak (<or die very peacefully with a glass of chardonnay in my hand).




What would you tell your future self?

Have you ever written these kinds of letters?

Do you think your kids feel pressured to run or be athletic because of you?

SUAR