Sunday, November 11, 2012

if i had known then what i know now...

When I was in the eighth grade, I remember my English teacher asking us to write a letter to our future selves to be opened when we graduated high school. At the end of my senior year, she delivered all of our letters to us. She was pretty much the best teacher ever, and has been a bit of a mentor to me during my first year of teaching. I remember being eighteen, reading that letter, and thinking, I really hadn't changed all that much. It wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties, and found the letter again, that I realized how much I had grown. I still haven't traveled to Australia like my younger self had always dreamed, but I have crossed so many other things off my bucket list. Look at me, I am a first year English teacher in my teeny tiny county, which is practically unheard of in this economy. You don't really notice how far you've come until you take the time to look back at where you've been.

What started me on this tangent is my latest read, The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to Their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon. This is a collection of letters written by sixty-four award winning authors to their younger selves. Some include letters (like mine) they had written to their older selves in school, and include a response. Some are filled with advice that they could have used when they were those little kids. These letters were surprisingly powerful, inspirational, as well as funny. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll think back on your own childhood, and all those stupid mistakes you made, and all those worries that didn't actually matter at all.

If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would it say?

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