Thursday, September 9, 2010

Letter to Kirsten, Age 21

Dear Kirsten

You live and die by the contents of your little mail cubby, and I'm delighted to offer a few minutes of distraction whilst you endure another mandatory chapel. I know that you love nothing more than a good juicy letter, and boy will this one be a corker.

It's funny, writing to you now, because there is so little I want to tell you to avoid. You have a pretty solid head on your shoulders, and you seem instinctively to make some smart choices - ones that keep your future wide open.

But this word - instinctively - it's something I really have to talk about with you. You need to start paying attention to your gut. (And no, not that completely-invisible-to-everyone-except-you-belly-pooch. Stop with that - its time will come.)

You come from a long line of strong, smart women. At 21, you fancy yourself a strong, smart woman. You're old enough to know you don't know everything, but you're still pretty confident in what you do know. So let me just tell you this right now: life is not so much about what you know in your head. Life - and living - is very much more about what you know in your gut.

Ms 21, after a muddy flag football game

You gotta start listening. 'Cause I'll tell you - right now you're getting into a relationship that you know, you KNOW isn't going to work for you. One of your very closest friends has given you the best warning he knows how - "be careful, Kir. I'm just saying... be careful." Even as those words sound a hollow echo in your heart - your heart that knows the words to be true - blithely, confidently you'll persist in pursuing this one to the ends of the earth. All I can say, because you won't be able to even wrap your head around the details of how badly you will get hurt, is that in your gut, right now, you know the right answer. It is all wrong for you.

In a few years, as the wounds from this heal into angry scars, your instincts will be refined. You will know that you should have listened to yourself. And still you will ignore your intuition - time and time again.

I am writing to you to say trust yourself. Listen to yourself. You know the answers - the intuition engraved deep in your DNA is yours to tap into, and if you are able to somehow start listening earlier - not waiting until your mid-30s to start trusting this sense, you will save yourself repeated disappointment, hurt, and frustration.

Intuition will guide you in early marriage, will guide you in career choices, will guide you in parenthood. Listen - train yourself to be still and to listen. Not everyone is born to this gift, but you are. You are.

Finally: I say with some authority that you are now as hot as you will ever be. Ditch the grunge threads immediately and buy yourself something cute. You are not now nor will ever be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're going to work the whole tall blonde thing, now's the time.

Signed with so very much love (and jealousy of your 21 year old thighs)
Kirsten, Age 37


This post was written for Friday's Red Writing Hood, the prompt being "write a serious letter to your younger self." Luckily for me and my younger self, letter writing is something I love with all my heart.


Emily@remodelingthislife said...

oh. my. gosh. i just wrote a post to myself (to me now, from me 10 years from now) and am afraid to post it for the world to see then i come see this.


so many things i would tell the younger me. especially the part about the thighs :)

love you


cristina said...

great letter. I so agree with trusting our intuition, that gut feeling is there for a reason, survival instinct I think.

MrsNilsenLife said...

Emily - post it! I'll do one if you do yours. ;) I love the idea of looking forward at what you want yourself to remember, to KNOW from this moment right now.

Anonymous said...

Loved reading this letter!

Anonymous said...

Great letter... love the notion of seizing the day... or... thighs. lol

Ratz said...

Great letter... intuition has a lot of role to play....

Mommy Wis(h)dom said...

I love the "be still and listen." What great insight, and a great skill to teach my kids. Your letter was wonderful.

Adelle said...

I loved this!

Especially relating to the "you are as hot as you will ever be."

Amen. If only we knew it then?

Kristy said...

I love it all, but my favorite was the last couple of paragraphs because they are so relate-able. As for trusting your instinct, that is something that I have also had a hard time learning!

Missy @ Wonder, Friend said...

As always, you were pitch perfect. I really enjoyed this letter. I liked how serious it was, while still having a little humor thrown in. Like life. said...

Loved your loving letter and especially the message - intuition. The line that wrapped a great big grin around me was your last one. I felt the same way when deciding which picture I would pick for my post.

Cheryl said...

"You're as hot as you'll ever be."

I say bullshit to that - you're a hot mama right now, sister! ;)

And yes, part of being young is ignoring our gut instincts and doing stupid shit because it feels good in the moment, even though we know the outcome will be bad.

Ash said...

You totally had be giggling with the "hot as you'll ever be" point. Though I agree with Cheryl, you ain't no slouch now.

Gut instinct is such an important thing. They really should teach it as a 101 course - how many of us would be in better places today?

myletterstoemily said...

well written. i'm sorry about
'that' guy. many of us have
them in our pasts.

Anonymous said...

It's crazy how we'll ignore our instincts when we're younger. This is a great letter and that picture is too precious. Love the ending. Too funny!

Michelle said...

Why is it that women have this amazing gift of intuition then ignore it? I know I'm guilty too but over time I have gotten better at going with my gut and trusting myself.

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