Advice to Your Younger Self

- August 21, 2013

'You may not have known at the time the moment was pivotal, but it became clear afterwards...'

In my memoir writing and family memoir writing classes, I often ask participants to pause for a moment and remember some of the turning points of their lives after which everything changed. You may not have known at the time the moment was pivotal, but it became clear afterwards: a favorite English teacher praised your writing in third grade, your parents moved you to another state, you declined a marriage proposal, you spent a year abroad, you became ill, you lost your job, you became a parent, you wanted to be a doctor but you learned one summer you couldn’t handle the sight of blood.

Then I ask this question: What advice would you give to your younger self? I ask this question to bring them back in time to their younger selves and to give the experienced self something to ponder as they move forward. Mostly I ask the question because I want to know the answer.

In one class, a 97 year old woman offered this answer to the question of what advice would you give your 18 year old self: “Well first, I would run up to her and give her a big hug. I would tell her I LOVE YOU. Then I would tell her not to be afraid. I would tell her to go ahead, just do what you need to do despite what everyone else is telling you to do.”

How about today you ask yourself the question and listen to your answer. Then ask one person to answer the question and share his or her response with you. The answers will touch your heart and get you thinking. I promise.