Letters to our younger selves

Friday, November 4, 2011

On Monday I was able to work at a local Pharmacy to do some health screenings. It's a small town Pharmacy rather than a large chain but it has more of a Hallmark store feel to it.

It's just a little nicer than the average bear.

Because it was a slow morning, I looked around some aisles and picked up a book. It was entitled, "What I Know Now: Letters to my younger self."

I am intrigued by this kind of thing. When I was growing up I tried to make my mantra, "No Regrets" which in itself is a bit of a naive idea. But before I went in to anything, I tried to weigh the options in my head as well as potential outcomes. I hated to make mistakes and wanted to save myself from some. That thought process saved me from some mistakes for sure but I was still allowed to throw caution to the wind hoping I was doing the right thing. Inevitably there were a few regrets and unfortunately I still have some but that's life I guess. At least it makes me able to give my kids advice which I hope they find valuable some day.

I have compiled much for them. I quickly learned after my mother died that I still crave her insight and wish I had something to refer to. So I am doing that for my kids.

In the aisle I perused the book, going right to the letters that powerful and successful women wrote to their younger selves. I only read a handful but they contained some interesting advice and got me thinking on what advice I would have given my 20 year-old self. It also got me thinking on what I did right as a 20 year-old and writing a letter congratulating myself on choices then that I might not have the courage to make now. You know, I always see the more optimistic angle.

Have you ever thought about what you would say to your younger self?

Either advice for the future or congratulating the past.


I found this write-up on Amazon:

"Today show correspondent Ann Curry writes to herself as a rookie reporter in her first job, telling herself not to change so much to fit in, urging her young self, “It is time to be bold about who you really are.”

Country music superstar Lee Ann Womack reflects on the stressed-out year spent recording her first album and encourages her younger self to enjoy the moment, not just the end result.

“Your hair matters far, far less than you think,” is the wry advice that begins the letter bestselling mystery writer Lisa Scottoline pens to her twenty-year old self.

And Maya Angelou, leaving home at seventeen with a newborn baby in her arms, assures herself she will succeed on her own, even if she does return home every now and then.

These remarkable women are joined by Madeleine Albright, Queen Noor of Jordan, Cokie Roberts, Naomi Wolf, Eileen Fisher, Jane Kaczmarek, Olympia Dukakis, Macy Gray, and many others.

Their letters contain rare glimpses into the personal lives of extraordinary women and powerful wisdom that readers will treasure.

Wisdom from What I Know Now:

“Don’t let anybody raise you. You’ve been raised.” –Maya Angelou

“Try more things. Cross more lines.” –Breena Clarke

“Learn how to celebrate.” –Olympia Dukakis

“You don’t have to be afraid of living alone.” –Eileen Fisher

“Please yourself first…everything else follows.” –Macy Gray

“Don’t be so quick to dismiss another human being.” –Barbara Boxer

“Work should not be work.” –Mary Matalin

“You can leave the work world—and come back on your own terms.” –Cokie Roberts

“Laundry will wait very patiently.” –Nora Roberts

“Your hair matters far, far less than you think” –Lisa Scottoline

“Speak the truth but ride a fast horse.” –Kitty Kelley


  1. I can't wait to get it. My letter would be a thousand pages. Thanks for telling us about it.


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