A Letter To My Younger Self

To my younger self;

You probably don’t recognize me with these little lines around my eyes and a figure that went south after giving birth to five children. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here; these lines by my eyes came from years of laughter and the scars on my belly are a badge of motherhood I proudly wear.

When you get into high school, stop worrying so much about what other people think and be who you want to be, not who you think your peers expect you to be. Embrace your individuality—it will be the ticket to your success one day.

Although the school years feel like nothing more than a popularity contest, in the end you’ll be happier sticking with a small circle of friends who love you for who you are. They’ll be the ones holding a catcher’s mitt when life throws you some curve balls.

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Forgiveness. This is a tough one for you, but the bitterness will only weigh you down. Let go of the anger you feel towards those kids who poke fun at you. What you don’t realize is how unkind their life is. Their spirit has been broken and they’ve learned the hard way how to protect themselves by preying on vulnerable people like you

You waste too much energy berating yourself in front of the mirror. Society has fed you a warped perception of beauty—don’t let its definition convince you that you fall short of everyone else’s expectations. Stop punishing yourself with starvation diets and binge eating to mask what is really bothering you. The people who made you feel stupid and small inside were wrong. I know how much you’re hurting; you just haven’t figured out yet that inner beauty outlives physical beauty every time. The mirror is not your enemy; see yourself through your own eyes and know that others love you even though you don’t love yourself.

There will be some unimaginable losses in the years to come—don’t be afraid to face them head on. You’re going to walk through a valley of grief but you’re going to come through the other side a stronger, braver woman. You’ll need these experiences to hold up the others when life knocks them down.

I know you feel as though your parents are judging every move you make and you hate living under a microscope. Strict curfews, lost phone privileges and being grounded from social activities may seem unreasonable, but your parents really do have your best interests at heart. If they didn’t love you, they wouldn’t care what you did. Boundaries and rules are a sign of good parenting and tough love. You’ll figure this out once you have kids of your own.

Appreciate the time you have with your family. Those summer vacations in Montana won’t last forever. Take your father up on that trip to Scotland before it’s too late and spend more time in the garden with your sister. Don’t assume she’ll always be there for you because she won’t. She’ll be gone sooner than you think and her absence will leave a hole in your heart that time cannot mend.

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You’re going to fall in love several times while you’re young, but be more conscious of the men you choose. Your happiness shouldn’t depend on them. One will break your heart and in the process break his own. Others will come and go, but each one will teach you a valuable lesson in love that will prepare you for the man you’re going to marry. Stay away from the sly one at the bar who asks you to dance. Nothing good will come from this. His lies will hurt you more than his fists. He’ll tear you down to keep you from standing back up, but you will. You are a survivor. One day you’ll meet your soul mate, and he’ll help you find your smile again.

Life is full of twists and turns; don’t be afraid to stray from the well-worn path that everyone else is walking. Embrace the challenges you’ll face and don’t let the fear of failure box you into years of regret. How will you ever learn anything if you never make a mistake? Trust your intuition, listen to your heart and fight hard for what you believe in. Stop wasting precious time running down hollow streets in search of happiness. You’ll find its been inside you all along.

Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Slow down and enjoy the ride. Even though you are struggling with some tough, emotional issues, each experience is a small piece of the puzzle, a composition of the beautiful person you’ll become. Every day will be your happiest—live life to the fullest. It will never be this way again.

Love,

Your much, much older self

About the writer

@MenoMother

Marcia Kester Doyle is the author of the humor book, “Who Stole My Spandex?” and the voice behind the popular blog, Menopausal Mother. Her work has been featured on numerous websites and in nine anthologies. She lives in sunny Florida with her husband and four children and can usually be found with a fan in one hand to ward off hot flashes and a jar of Nutella in the other, in case of a chocolate emergency. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Faye Upton 2 years ago

Marcia, This is magnificent.

Rena McDaniel-The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver 2 years ago

This is probably my most favorite post of all. Really terrific!

brickhousechick 2 years ago

I love this, Marcia. Nice visiting you over on this site. I enjoyed your flying post as well. :)

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Wow! Thank you so much for reading both posts–I really appreciate the support! <3

Patty Hill 2 years ago

A bit long but so good
!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    I do tend to be chatty at times but glad you liked it anyway—thank you!

Cristina Sasser 2 years ago

And dont bother with the first guy. Waste.of.time!!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    LOL we’ve all had one of those!

Cristina Sasser 2 years ago

Try harder in school and go to college! Having a career is so much better than min wage jobs.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Yes! Absolutely!

Nicole Chardenet 2 years ago

It really is true that youth is wasted on the young.

We spend *so* much time obsessing about silly crap or thinking every negative event is the biggest thing in the world, and we just haven’t developed the proper coping skills. Unfortunately, some people *never* develop them and go on to self-medicate through alcohol and/or drugs or just become miserable people.

The good news is, the older you get the more you develop a Wanda Sykes “Ah just don’t GIVE a f**k!” attitude. You don’t care what others think, you do or say what you want…hell, to coin a phrase from Malvina Reynolds (I think it was Malvina Reynolds), you wear a red hat with a purple outfit if it damn well pleases you 😉

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Very true—the older I get, the less I care what others think. I have to take care of myself and do what makes me happy.

Nanci Elmasri 2 years ago

I’d tell myself listen to your mom she was right about 99% of everything she warned you about.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Yes! My mother was correct on most of it–I should have listened!

Sherry Wood 2 years ago

Oh the things I’d tell my younger self. To start winning lotto numbers lol.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Hahahahaha!!! Me too!

Allison Schmalbeck 2 years ago

The bullying never goes away no matter how old you are. Grow a tough skin.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    100% correct. Bullying comes in all sorts of forms.

Kerrie 2 years ago

I cried a bit. Xx

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    You are so sweet, Kerrie!

Launna 2 years ago

I love your honesty and openness Marcia…. I wrote something similar one time, it’s quite liberating to get through those years… getting through things we never thought we could.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    The writing certainly helps—I know you get that! XO

Jordyn Hodgins 2 years ago

I’d tell myself to stop trying to grow up and embrace the age i was at. I was tell myself that education is important and to take it seriously. I would tell myself that you can stand up for yourself and be assertive without being a bitch. I would tell myself that fitting is overrated and 99% of those people aren’t in my life 5 years later anyhow.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    That is so true! I can’t believe how much time I wasted trying to fit in –all for nothing!

djakala@wi.rr.com 2 years ago

Very emotional and heartfelt post. Exceptional.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thank you so much, Daniel!

Lorinda McKinnon – the Rowdy Baker 2 years ago

Marcia, I think this speaks to every single woman. Every one of us needed to hear this – or needed to listen to this. I’m guessing my mom tried to tell me some of it, but what did she know 😉 Love your post!
Lorinda

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thank you so much, Lorinda. Ah yes, if only we had listened to our parents…..

Rosey 2 years ago

Lots of great points here. I wish I could tell my daughter all that I know now (she’s 15) and have her listen. What a lot of grief and worry she would save herself. :)

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    So true…but they just don’t want to listen at that age because they believe things will be different for them.

Jennifer Leigh Matthews 2 years ago

Not to be in a hurry for kids, that way I wouldnt have felt forced to marry. I should have went through with the ARMY after I took the test, start work earlier, finish college, don’t take that jeep from your dad, dont hang out with this person, love morw, should have had more fun and not to stress, life is not that serious, oh geez there is alot of stuff I would tell my younger self. Def to RUN FAST from a few of those boyfriends in highschool too lol.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Right there with ya sista!

Keesha Moore 2 years ago

It’s not that bad, be patient and have faith

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Good advice!

Natalie D 2 years ago

I could have written this myself…

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    I think a lot of women share that thought. If only we had listened when we were young….

Jodie Loudin 2 years ago

Stop at two!!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    I thought the same thing too at one point in my life, but now that the kids are grown, I’m glad I ended up with four!

Kali Stanland 2 years ago

But maybe I’ll write one anyway so my daughter can read it and learn from it.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Yes, you should!

Kali Stanland 2 years ago

You really don’t want to know or have me go there….its a 13 page typed letter, font size 6.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    LOL! I completely understand!

Miriam Fernandez 2 years ago

dont settle for less. your vagina do not define you.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    LOVE that!!!!!

Bea Lumbreras 2 years ago

I wish I hadn’t spend those teenage years suffering for ‘best’ friends and boyfriends – wish I could go back and just study, have fun and spend quality time with my Dad who passed away when I was 29. Unfortunately part of life is the learning process….

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    I hear you—my dad was almost 80 when he died, but still…..I have so many regrets….

Brittany Ann 2 years ago

Write the essays, it was only 3 essays. Some day you will have 4 kids with a wonderful man, right now you DO have a beautiful body, quit comparing yourself to others. Quit drinking and say no when Tony askes you to make a deal.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Sounds like you’ve learned from the past and have worked things out well. :)

Donna Kiffer 2 years ago

So true,wish I had this knowledge back then.When your young even if someone who loves you tries to etch something in your brain that will help you unfortunately none of us really listen.Its only through life’s experience that we Truely learn.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Correct—mistakes are the best lessons learned.

Beatrice Leavens Brown 2 years ago

Don’t wait until your 36 to have your first, or last one will be 2 months after you turn 40. I had 3, April 96, Oct 97 and Aug 99. Wish I had them earlier, but then I probably would have had more.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Wow!!! That would be tough having that many young ones in your late 30’s! I admire you!

Susan – ofeverymoment 2 years ago

Marcia, If you never wrote another word (and I sincerely hope you do!) this would be enough! What a beautiful, touching, and insightful piece of writing.
Wondering where you used to vacation in Montana?

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Awwwww…thank you so much for such sweet words of encouragement! My folks had a place in Big Sky, Montana. After Dad died, my mother sold it. Very sad day because it made me realize a world of regrets for not going out there more often when it was offered.

Diane 2 years ago

Something every teen should read. Every person should read! Sharing . . .

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thank you, Diane–please spread the word. I appreciate the love, too! XO

Lana 2 years ago

Beautiful post Marcia! Thank you so much for sharing with us. I would say so many of the same things to my younger self.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thanks Lana! Yes–I think this is true for many of us.

Tracey McCurdy Harvey 2 years ago

I’d tell my younger self to have more confidence in who I am and what I can accomplish. To be brave, to travel more, finish school early, get a degree in something that will guarantee a good paying job so you never have to rely on anyone else, ever! And when you feel something in your gut, listen!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Absolutely—listen to your gut! That inner voice is never wrong!

Chrissie Quez 2 years ago

Made me teary

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Awww..thank you, Chrissie!

Marsha Cooper 2 years ago

To respect yourself.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Good one!

samantha 2 years ago

Simply beautiful and quite thoughtful. Incredibly well written piece. Thanks for sharing.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Wow! Thank you for the kindness, Samantha! It was difficult but very cathartic to write. I’m glad you liked it!

Carin Kilby Clark 2 years ago

What a great post Marcia! I often wonder what it would be like to have a conversation with the me 20 years ago.. the saying about youth being wasted on the young feels so true once you get older and have that much needed hindsight.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Exactly! Sometimes I have dreams where I go back to high school but I’m my older self…and I always think, “Yeah, NOW I know what to do!”

Risa 2 years ago

But can’t you see your younger self, fingers in her ears, saying “La la la la…I’m not listening!”
Some lessons, I think, we have to learn the hard way. Someone once told me that good judgment comes from experience–and experience comes from bad judgment!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    You are SOOOOO correct! I definitely would have had my fingers in my ears if parents had tried to warn me about these things.

Lauren 2 years ago

Love this! It is so funny how we really do get wiser with age!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thank you! Thank goodness we FINALLY wise up!

Brandy Maricle 2 years ago

Use sunscreen and don’t sweat all these losers you keep dating. Your soulmate doesn’t come along until almost 30, so make youf family your top priority. Gosh, I could go on and on. I was such an idiot from 18 until 28!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    LOL you and me both!

Crystal 2 years ago

Beautiful post. Will always be one of my favorites and one that I reference time and time again. Touched my soul!!! :)

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Awwww…thank you, Crystal. Love you, lady! XOXO

Amanda Jewett-Mathis 2 years ago

“Wait, it gets better”. Also, “you gotta take the bad with the good”.
(Actually, I’m deeper than that but this is the gist of what i would say…)

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    It’s good advice! :)

Kami Fox-Varela 2 years ago

Ask for help in school, don’t get those tattoos, don’t get married until after you’re 30. You know, for starters… 😉

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Right there with ya—I think we all have quite a long list…..

Jessica Maka Rhodes 2 years ago

I’d tell myself that I can’t find myself by trying to be what everyone else liked. Study harder and stop skipping classes. Leave after the first break-up. And remember those people won’t be around forever so do for me, not for them.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    You’ll only be happy when you are yourself. Hard lesson to learn when you’re young and trying to fit in.

Allyson Tolboe 2 years ago

Wear sunscreen, don’t go fake baking. Because age spots aren’t pretty and cancer sucks. Don’t let people walk all over you. Don’t care what others think. Listen to your parents. You are not the ass hole whisperer, so quit wasting time on losers.There are so many things.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    I agree with EVERYTHING you said here. My folks had so many skin cancers—we ALL used to bake in the sun. Now we’re paying the price!

Peggy Keeney 2 years ago

Great wisdom often comes from hind site!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Isn’t that the truth!

Melanie Crain Cheshire 2 years ago

Wow

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thanks, Melanie!

Gary.Sidley 2 years ago

Wisdom as well as the talent to write humor. You are a multi-talented lady, Marcia.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thank you so much for the kind words, Gary—that means a lot to me. XO

Britanie Myers 2 years ago

Find a way to travel.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    You still can—make it a future goal!

Jenny Cooper McEntyre 2 years ago

I’d tell myself to be more kind to others and myself and to spend a couple of years traveling before starting a family……

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    I wish that I had been kinder and more patient as well!

Lucy Cocks 2 years ago

I’d tell myself to go to college,learn to drive and travel the world before settling down.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Those are all great things to do and it’s not too late!

Elicia Hays Ross 2 years ago

Beautifully written!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thank you, Elicia!

Claudia Alonzo 2 years ago

Lay off the cookies!!!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    I’m still trying to tell myself that very same thing…every damn day, hahaha!

Katie Woodson Guardiola 2 years ago

I would tell myself to major in something other than political science for under grad..I’m in a good place, but man I took the long way around yo get there! I would tell myself to have more self confidence, that you’re not fat, so stop thinking you are! I’d also leave more time to go out and dance and to travel everywhere!!!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    It may have taken awhile but I’m so glad you were able to do what you wanted to do!

Katie Schmidt McMurry 2 years ago

stop being so damn worried and just wear the freaking bikini!!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Amen, sista!

Tracey Plante-Peixoto 2 years ago

So very true!!!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thanks, Tracey!

Lea Bifano-Vozzella 2 years ago

Beautiful and so true. But, our younger years sometimes teach us our hardest lessons.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thank you and absolutely true!

Kristen Bjornson 2 years ago

This is awesome, spot on

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thank you so much, Kristen!

Sarah Fritz-Maldonado 2 years ago

I’d tell myself to get rid of those zeros I dated and go to med school like I dreamed instead of being an engineer… I’d tell myself that I hate accounting lol and to marry my husband the fourth time he asked instead of waiting til the 24th time lol

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Too funny! Happy that you finally did say YES! :)

Gretchen Dennis 2 years ago

I need to do this.

Great post.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Writing it was cathartic for me. You should try it :)

Cathryn Adams 2 years ago

I would tell myself to not make small things such a big deal. After loosing my husband in January- I have come to realize that small things like when he left his dirty clothes a foot from the hamper really weren’t worth a fight.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    So sorry for your loss, Cathryn. A painful loss like that certainly puts life into perspective, doesn’t it?

Heather Smith 2 years ago

Drink more, play more, party more, see more of the world, stay out later (as long as you make it to work in the morning), spend more time with friends. And above all, who gives a damn what others think of you? Love your body and others will too.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    LOVE the way you think, Heather. Could have used a friend like you when I was a teen!

Andrea Shay Mooradian 2 years ago

To work out more

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Me too!!!

Kimberley Smith 2 years ago

Its amazing how similar a lot of our messages to ourselves are…

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    I think it’s a female thing, I swear. We all seem to suffer from similar insecurities. Sad but true.

Carol Cassara 2 years ago

Age brings the gift of wisdom, doesn’t it? Lovely post.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    It sure does! Thanks for stopping by, Carol!

Cicisbeo Insolente 2 years ago

Don’t waste your time. Be strong, tell what you think above all to all that people that hurt you.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    YES!!!! I wish I had been more outspoken about these things but I was too insecure to tell people how I really felt!

Kimberley Smith 2 years ago

Id tell myself to finish uni while you’re young. And to take more chances, have more fun and travel more.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Yes—taking chances! So worth it—living in fear is a waste of time.

Jaclin Acanfrio 2 years ago

I’d tell myself to go back and finish my last 2 years of college, no matter the cost to find a way. I’d tell myself that I WAS strong enough to stand on my own 2 feet, despite the insanity at home, and to depend on me first, before a man. If tell myself to wait to get married, until I’d become who I was meant to be, because then and only then do you find your soul mate. Unfortunately I didn’t have anyone to tell me all of this and I wasn’t strong enough to know it myself. 1 marriage, 3 kids and 20 years later, here I sit.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Awwww…..thank you for sharing this, Jaclin. My heart goes out to you. Please don’t give up—it’s never too late to make changes in your life. Hugs! XO

Kristen Ezovski Cassi 2 years ago

Do it all while you can. Spend more on travel and less on clothes. Save more money

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Definitely! When I think of the money I wasted in my youth, it makes me cringe.

Nickole Trayhurn Darling 2 years ago

Honestly? Don’t have kids. I love my boys with all my being and I wouldn’t be without them, but parenthood is a tough gig, single parenthood even more so. Of course, being the contrary girl I am, I wouldn’t listen to myself anyway!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Being a mother is for sure one of the toughest jobs in the world. I probably wouldn’t have listened to myself when I was 16 either, though. I would have thought myself some crazy, old mom, LOL!

Adriane Travis 2 years ago

Don’t settle for less that you deserve. Have some confidence, embrace the inner book nerd

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Agreed!

Doreen McGettigan 2 years ago

This is so lovely. (((HUGS)))

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thank you, Doreen. I appreciate that you stopped by for the read! XO

Katie De Oliveira Anderson 2 years ago

I would tell to sleeeeeeeeeeep for as looooooong as you want before kids because they suck about sleeping, suck!!!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    YES!!!! I regret all those lost opportunities to nap!

Misty Murphy 2 years ago

That money makes the world go round!! Stupid me believed the lies that love and happiness were more important. Hahaha what a fool I was. Biggest lesson ever learned!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Real love is hard to find….having money makes life a whole lot easier but I think if the love is real (and no longer painful) it’s worth the risk.

Hazel Thompson 2 years ago

To stay in school and go onto uni to study teaching, ive always wanted to be a teacher but didn’t pay attention at school (or go to school lol)

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    It’s never too late to follow your dreams, no matter what age. Never give up!

Debbie Young 2 years ago

I’d tell myself to stick in and do well at school, to travel more before I had children, and to have more confidence in myself, I am stronger than i know

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    That’s what we all need to realize—that we really ARE stronger than we realize!

Shya Gibbons 2 years ago

Stop sweating the small stuff. My biggest crisis at 19 would seem like a dream at this point.

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Isn’t that the truth?!? I wish I’d known better!

Claudia Schmidt 2 years ago

Oh, Marcia, these are such wonderful and wise life lessons. I’ll be sharing with my two teenagers! Don’t I wish I had taken these lessons to heart when I was younger, we are so hard on ourselves until we get some life and years under our belts. A meaningful and terrifically useful post, thank you for sharing!

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Thank you so much, Claudia! I wold love for you to share ti with the teens—-I wish someone had sat me down when I was 16 and told me these things. But I’m not sure I would have listened.

Tamara 2 years ago

Marcia, this is beautiful. Bittersweet, but precious! I wonder if we had listened to our older self back then, because we sure didn’t listen to all the other “old folks” around us. Cause, really, what did THEY think they knew?

    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother 2 years ago

    Exactly! I really wish I had listened to my parents. They were right about almost everything, and I could have saved myself a lot of disappointment and pain, had I listened…..

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