Note: This post is another installment for the Carnival of Journalism project, where people passionate about journalism are sharing ideas in the blogosphere about ways to preserve and improve the craft. This month’s prompt:
For December I would like you all to write a letter to your younger self. You can write about anything, no rules, no apologies. You may like to share with yourself advice, things to look out for, things you wished you did differently, regrets, hopes, what you’ve learned, about your life, choices… or just about anything that is on your mind. Ideally these are deeply personal to you and I hope it’ll be enlightening to others in its universality to the human condition.
I know you won’t listen. No one ever listens when people tell you how it’s supposed to be, how it should work out, how you should live your life.
Do I tell you to take risks? To work harder? To be bolder? Should I remind you to cling tightly to your friends and family, to those moments that blur by so quickly?
You won’t listen. I know you. You want to figure everything out for yourself.
So let me share a simple thought: The mid-life crisis or moment or whatever you want to call it is real. It happens. It washes over you when you least expect it, and you realize at that second that the time you have left is less than what you’ve already experienced.
No, you won’t buy a silly sports car, or get a tattoo, or fly off to a gambling binge in Vegas. You won’t be filled with regret or dread. You will have a wonderful family, a respectable career, a circle of special friends. Like the T-shirts that come out when you get older say, “Life is good.”
No, that mid-life moment is when you tally the minutes left to be spent and wonder: Did I cherish the previous moments enough? And what do I want to do with those that remain?
With each choice, you are choosing not to do something else, and as you age, it becomes harder and harder to choose as you fear the unintended limitation of those choices. So I would tell you choose confidently. Don’t let caution lead to fear. Pursue the unexpected moments, and be fully in the moment, every moment.
But I know you’re already tuning me out. You have your dreams, your belief in yourself. You will find out soon enough.
So I will leave you with one last thought: When the chance comes to see Stevie Ray Vaughan, don’t say no.