Letter to Yourself at 17

I had the radio on the other day when Brad Paisley’s new song “Letter to Me” came on and as I listened to the song I contemplated the merits of a letter like Brad’s.

For those of you not familiar with the song, Brad contemplates what he would say to his 17-year-old self if he could send a letter back in time.

Can you imagine how your life might have changed if your youthful self could benefit from the knowledge and experience the older, wiser you has?

So I’ve got a couple questions for you.

  1. If you could send a letter back in time to yourself, would you?  Why or why not?  And what age would you send it to?
  2. Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your teenage self?  Advice, warnings, reminders, encouragement, something else?
  3. Do you think that if you gave yourself advice that changed a regret that it might change other circumstances and a good thing in your life might not then happen?

For instance, I was married and divorced in college.  Not exactly the proudest moment of my youth, but going through the experience made me a stronger person.  What if by preventing that marriage, I actually remained the shy, timid person I was before the divorce?  And would I have still eventually met my husband now?

I’m not actually sure if I would send myself a letter if it was possible.  But if I did, 17 or 18 would be a good age.

I was a very determined girl who was focused on the future and always doing the “right” thing, so I would have told myself to not be in a hurry to grow up.  I would have told myself that I should take time to enjoy life and live a little.

And no I wouldn’t have warned myself about my first marriage.  Despite the downsides of the divorce, there were a lot of things I gained and learned from that experience.  I think it not only helped me grow as a person, but it also prepared me to meet and appreciate my husband and be in a healthy relationship.  Sometimes the benefits of going through a painful experience far out weigh the pain in the end.

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