I recently bought the book “What I Know Now,” as a present for my daughter’s birthday with the off-chance that she would find the time, or even the desire, to read it. Though she is an avid reader, her choice of reading material is not always the same as mine.
The book conatins a collection of letters written by female celebrities to their younger selves and centers on crucial points in their lives, which has had an impact on their lives. Advice, regrets and heartache unfolded in each story. Happy endings and not-so-happy endings reflected the authors’ thoughts on what could have been.
I read a few of the stories before giving it to my daughter and thought about what I would write to my younger Self. Would I tell her not to pick up that first cigarette because she would spend the next 30 years trying to quit? Or should I tell her that happiness could not be found in another person? Or that she needed to look inside herself to find the answers she was looking for?
Or maybe I would tell her that college really was that important. Should I also tell her that if she decides to skip school and go straight to starting a family it won’t turn out the way she expected? That fairytales don’t really exist? Maybe I would mention that life gets really hard for a while and there are times she may want to throw in the towel, but she shouldn’t give up; she would come through it with a better understanding of how precious life is.
But maybe I won’t tell her those things after all. Maybe I’ll write a letter that tells her how proud I am of her for never giving up. How sorry I am that she had to go through so much pain and heartache, but life does get better. I will tell her that I am glad she never lost sight of her dreams, even though they seemed out of reach. I will tell her that she has made me who I am today; a strong, independent and courageous woman.
Not long ago, I thought that if I could, I would go back and change a few of the choices I made in my life. But I’m not so sure anymore. Now I know that I had to go through all the experiences and learn from every mistake to become the person I am today. Now I know, I wouldn’t change a thing.