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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

If I could go back...

If you had to pick an age to be forever, what age would you pick and why? 

When I first saw that question over at Mama's Losin' It for the workshop this week, no particular age that I've passed thus far immediately came to mind.  So I thought about it a little.  Then I thought about it a little more and here's what I think...

I will turn 41 years old in two weeks and I can honestly say that I would not go back to any age.  Not for anything. Sure my metabolism is a little slower than it used to be, I've acquired a few fine lines on my forehead that I'm not exactly fond of and let's not even get into the parts that never really were quite the same after pregnancy or the fact that the skin on my neck is beginning to lose its firmness just a tad and that no matter how many chair dips, push ups and tricep kickbacks I do, my upper arms just will not cooperate as willingly as they once did. 

But not only do I understand the person I am now more than I ever have, I just plain like her more.  I don't want to go back but I wouldn't mind stopping the aging process where it is right now.  At least for a little while. There's a line in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by one of the Ya-Yas (Caro, maybe?) that I just love. She is looking through an old photo album, sees one of herself in a swimsuit and says something like, Oh what I'd give to have known then what I know now, but with those legs!  I think we all have a photo or two like that.  

So while I don't want to go back to stay, I suppose it would be okay (you know, hypothetically) to go back to certain ages and give my old self some unsolicited advice and words of wisdom...

To my 6 year old self (1977):  Lighten up, kid.  Things really aren't bad enough for you to be scowling and looking like somebody just licked all the red off your candy at your very own birthday party complete with balloons, presents galore, and a sheet cake with happy clowns and candles while wearing a kick ass pink jumper, pigtails and white patent leather party shoes. I know you don't like being the center of attention.  That will never change.  But you are beautiful and you are capable of so much more than you know. And all these people are here for you because they love you. Cheer up, sweet girl!  You've got a lot to smile about.   

To my 15 year old self (1986): I know you are struggling with your self-image right now and cannot imagine for one second how you are ever going to survive that move to North Carolina this summer but trust me, you will do far more than survive. You will thrive.  I know that seems impossible to believe right now but I assure you it's true.    You have no reason at all to be insecure.  Remember this though, a smile can go a very long way.  Just a simple smile.  Oh, and prepare to say your goodbyes to that training bra soon and very soon. Good things come to those who wait, girlfriend!  

To my 21 year old self (1992):  This is the one you've been waiting for.  You're legal now.  I know you don't have any big plans to celebrate today though, what with it being Easter Sunday and all.  Tough break.  But don't worry. You've got plenty of time to make up for it. I could sit here and give you some old lady lecture but I know you'd just roll your eyes, shrug me off and do what you're going to do anyway.  That is one hard head you've got on your shoulders underneath all that hair there, girl.  So I'll just say this: Do NOT drink that tequila straight and chase it with that bottle of lemon juice this summer.  Please, listen to me on this one.  You WILL regret it the next morning.

To my 28 year old self (1999):  I know you feel like a big, fat, ugly, waddling bowling ball right about now and don't understand why you can't stop consuming ten pounds of Japanese hibachi chicken with shrimp sauce every week but you will drop this weight before that baby's 3 months old. I promise. And motherhood?  Well, it's gonna look good on you.  

To my 33 year old self (2004): I wish I could fast forward you through this storm you're being forced to weather right now but I can't and even if I could, I suppose it would be the wrong thing to do because you are going to come out on the other side of this grief storm a far stronger and better person than you have ever in your wildest dreams imagined yourself becoming. Keep your chin up and be gentle with yourself because some of the best days of your life? Are just up ahead in the distance.

And then I'd hop back in my 1985 DeLorean time machine and head on back to the future, to the now, to the right where I belong...   

The years teach much which the days never knew.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  1. You came up with a good 'un on this one, nice read.

  2. I think that I'd be ok but I think I'd give 23 a whirl again. It was such an exciting year. We got a house. We got married. We went to Hawaii. I became charge nurse of a level one trauma center.
    Sure it was also the year I messed up my back forever, but I really did all that I physically could that year. I was my healthiest ;)
    Your letter to your 6 year old self cracks me up!!

  3. Beautiful...and while I wish I had not put myself through many things I had...I would not have knowledge I have's bittersweet...thank you for sharing!

  4. What a wonderful post, Diane! Loved all that advice you have for your "younger" self.
    It made me smile.

  5. There are things I wish I could go back and do ,redo and maybe not do.

  6. I always wish that if I could go back to any age, that I would take my wisdom that I have today with me. I really like how you speak with your former self and give yourself advice.

  7. I wouldn't go back either! I love who am I right now and the life that is before me.

    The ONLY thing I think I would go back and tell myself is to spend more time with my sister. To not have allowed my previous marriage to isolate me the way it did. My sister died way too soon and missed time with her is my only real regret. I don't think I would even give myself advice. I would be afraid that to do so would somehow change my course and alter who I am today. I'm not sure I would be willing to take that chance even knowing all the heartache that has lead to who I am today.

  8. I would not bother going anywhere either. That is good right, means we are happy.
    Love what you said to your 21 year old self.

  9. Great take on the prompt! I, too, have some advice for my past self, but wouldn't change much, because it makes me who I am and for the most part, I kind of like me!

  10. I wouldn't like to go back either, but I so wouldn't mind having my 24 year old abs again.

  11. I love how you've taken these specific ages and said just what needed saying. There are so many times I wish I could go back, temporarily, and change a decision. I wouldn't go back to stay either, though.

    I'm thinking I may steal your take on this sometime soon.

  12. Laughing at your 21-year old note!

  13. Its so weird because the note to your 21 year old self and 33 year old self could have been to me at those ages, too.

  14. So where was I in this groovin 70's photo?

    Brings back too many memories!

  15. Very cool.

    I'm not sure what age I'd like to be forever.

  16. I feel the same way - I just wouldn't want to relive the bad times all over again.

  17. Tara @ secretsofamomaholic.comApril 16, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    What a great post!

    I am much more comfortable with myself at 35 than I have ever been in my life. I would however take a night back at around 25 and party like a rock star and sleep until 12pm...& eat a burger and fries without feeling guilty!!!