Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A letter to my 18-year old self

Eighteen years ago today when I turned eighteen, I was a first semester sophomore at SUNY Stony Brook, which apparently must now be referred to as the slightly more pretentious prestigious Stony Brook University. I got a great education there and had a blast with my best buds. It was far enough from home for the experience of living away, yet close enough so I could hop on the train and surprise my mom for her birthday / raid the fridge and cupboards / beg for money. I had all the hopes of dreams any person would have at eighteen, including plans to become a lawyer making thousands and thousands of dollars at a job that I would find incredibly interesting. Yeah.

Eighteen years later, things haven't quite turned out the way I expected, in some good, bad and very interesting ways. If I could talk to my eighteen year-old self, I'd have a lot to say about acceptance of people and situations. This would be some of my sage advice: 
  • Don't worry about becoming a lawyer or any of that career track you're on now. Inside of you, the heart of a writer beats with one desire: to share your love of storytelling with the world, one reader at a time. It's not going to be easy, but you don't take the easy route on anything.
  • Enjoy these college years to the fullest, because what's coming will require harder work, tougher commitments and bigger decisions than anything you've faced before.
  • Develop better eating habits now and exercise more. Otherwise, your family history of diabetes and hypertension is going to catch up with you.
  • Friendships change in ways you don't expect. People will come and go out of your life for different reasons. Accept them for who they are when they are there and wish them well when they are gone. 
  • You’re never going to forget your first love. No matter what happens, he’ll leave his mark. Don’t make assumptions about other guys based on him. Learn to love again without fear. 
  • Your parents aren't perfect. Forgive your father for his frailties and love him despite them, cause in a few years, he'll be gone and you'll only have your mom. She's going to depend on you a lot more, even though she taught you to be very independent. Remember the strength inside you comes from her.
  • Get to know your sister a lot better too. It may seem like a generational divide now, but she will become your most constant ally and supporter, if you let her. And, she's going to be the best mom in the world and you will be the proudest aunt.
  • Whatever's going wrong now will be meaningless in a few months and years. Laugh more.
  • And by the way, you're going to LOVE your thirties!  


Christine Murray said...

I love this post! Happy birthday by the way :)

Anita Davison said...

What a wise lady you are Lisa, and so right about the things that matter and those that don't - Have a Very Happy Birthday x x x x x

Lisa Yarde said...

Thanks, Christine. Felt very reflective as I wrote that.

Anita, my dear friend, you've known me for about six of these birthdays and your well-wishes always mean a lot. Thanks!

History and Women said...

Happy Birthday, Lisa! What profound words and so very true. I wish you a wonderfully, successful year to come, my friend!

Hugs and love!

Lisa Yarde said...

Mirella sweetie, thank you for your well wishes again. I wish the same for you.

History and Women said...

I finally got around to adding an email subscription to my blog at in case you want to subscribe to it, Lisa.

I've decided to start writing more about myself and my journey as a writer.

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