Posted on February 22, 2012


Today is my 35th birthday.  Yay me!.  Turning 35, for whatever reason is a little harder to wrap my head around.  It’s not that I feel that 35 is old, but I can’t help but think “Damn, I am 35, I don’t feel like I should be 35!”   I think it’s just that, even though I have matured, at my core I am still a goofy, awkward, hyper teenager/twenty-something, who finds humor in inappropriate things, at inappropriate times.  I am not trying to cling to my youth, or pretend I am still in my twenties, by being into all the hip, and cool things young adults are into now, but I don’t feel like I should have to like different things just because I am older.

Anyhow…we’ll discuss my cognitive dissidence at a later time, the reason I am back from “hiatus” (r.e. work sucked out any ranting I wanted to write about, lol) Thirty-five seems like the kind of year you mark, probably because it ends in either a 5 or a 0.  Personally I like marking years that end in 3,6, or 9, but that’s just me.  The last few days, I have been thinking about all that life has taught me in my 35 years, how I have been molded and shaped by the things that have tried, and sometimes succeeded to break me down.  I know it’s cliché, but I have been thinking about what I would go back and tell my younger selves if I could.  I wouldn’t to change the things that happen to me, but I wish I could give some insight and encouragement to the younger versions of me.  Here is what I would want to tell them.

Dear 5-year-old me,

Part of me wants to tell you how your world will fall apart in just 4 short years, but it is a major event that will shape you into who you will become, plus it would just be cruel to have that knowledge hanging over you for 4 years.  What I will tell you is have fun, run, jump, play, but don’t slide down large pieces of wood, the 2 hours your mom will spend pulling splinters out of the back of your legs, and rear is really not worth it.  Also when your grandma tells you to wear shoes when you are camping in an area with lots of cactus’ you should listen, again, not worth the time spent pulling out thorns.  Be nicer to your little brother.  I know siblings pick at each other, and tease one another, but you are 4 years older than him, and you shouldn’t be so mean.  Your mom always told you one day, he’d grow up and be as big, or bigger than you, and will be able to take you on.  She was right, but luckily he doesn’t seem bent on revenge…that I know of anyway.  😛    Lastly, for what is to come I want you to know two things.  You couldn’t have stopped it, and it’s not your fault.

Dear 10-year-old me,

It has been a rough year, really rough, and every emotion is still so raw, you know what though?  It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to cry in front of your grandma, and it’s okay if she cries too.  I know you hold it in because you don’t want to make her sad, but she is already sad, and it has nothing to do with you, it actually would do you both a lot of good.  I wish I could tell you to not eat your feelings, both figuratively and literally, because it doesn’t make the pain go away, it only buries it for a bit, and allows it to build up into a rage will try to consume you, and it nearly will.  I know you’re trying to be strong, but pretending everything is okay…telling…no, lying to yourself , that everything is okay, will not make you stronger, because it will eat you alive.

Dear 15-year-old me,

You don’t have to be so grown up.  I know it seems like you do, and in the next few years you will have to be more grown up than you should have to be, but remember you are still just a kid.  I am sure you think that by acting so mature that your grandma will stop worrying about you, but the hard truth is, she will never stop worrying about you, it’s her job.  In a couple of years you’ll have to take on the role of caretaker for a bit, and though you are capable of doing it, remember it is okay to ask for help.  You’ll only be 17 and no one expects you to do it all, so don’t try, help will come if you just ask.

P.S. When you go to Germany in 3 years, don’t be so afraid to speak German.  They’ll know you’re foreigner, and they’ll understand if you mess up, but they’ll appreciate the fact that you are putting forth the effort, don’t be so scared.


Dear 20-year-old me,

Love will come when it is time, and not any sooner.  You’re young, and you’re lucky enough to have a job that is taking  you all over the country, be wild and free, and quit trying to attach yourself to someone so quickly.   The only one who can “rescue you” and ride of with you into the sunset is you.  You’ve gained a lot of confidence over the years, but you still expect someone to define you instead of defining yourself. It is only when you have the courage to be who you really, will you truly be confident, and actually love yourself.   I wish I could tell you to stop chasing after the guy that will reject you when he gets to know the real you, but you’ll need that heartbreak to understand that you are great, and guys like him are not worth it.  You’ll also need the heartbreak to finally notice the guy who has loved you for exactly who you are this whole time.   He wasn’t what you thought you were looking for, but he is exactly the one you needed.

Dear 25-year-old me,

This is going to be another hard year, and one of mixed emotion.  You’re a new mom, you have a beautiful, almost 1-year-old boy, a great husband, and things are good.  This will be the year though that you lose your grandma.  It was tough losing your grandpa, your Papa, a couple of years ago, but the bond you had with your grandma was something special, and her death is going to hit you harder than you’ll admit.  I want to tell you that you need to mourn her.  After the numbness wears off, mourn her.  You didn’t, and spent the next 6-7 years in a fog, one that you recognize now as depression.  You didn’t see it then, because it wasn’t the pain and darkness that you felt back when you were a kid/early teen, but that lack of energy, that loss of your  enthusiasm,  feeling overwhelmed, not caring about the things that you used to be passionate about,  the reclusiveness?  Yeah, that’s depression too. I wish I could have told you so that you could have sought help, better yet, I wish you weren’t so damn good at pretending everything is ok, because maybe someone might have noticed the changes in you, and tried to help you.  I wish I could have told you, because you missed out on so much, even though you were there for everything.

Dear 30-year-old me,

You, are going to start taking charge and accomplish things.  It’s going to be slow, and there are still some rough patches ahead, but you are finally finding you voice.  It’s not that you didn’t have one, or that you never used it, it’ s just that sometimes it was too quiet.  The physical pain you are feeling will be over soon.  You are going to kick a nasty habit.  You are going to start realizing again that you can accomplish so much when you believe you can.  That last bit is still a work in progress, but it’s coming a long well enough.

Dear 35-year-old me,

Take no prisoners.  No more excuses.  Don’t be intimidated by anyone else.  Be creative. Sing.  Don’t apologize for being a “bleeding heart”.  Ask for help when you need it ( you still haven’t learned that one yet, your pride is a pain in the ass sometimes). Take care of yourself.  Be yourself.  Be content, and for God sake, be happy.

Sincerely, me.

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