Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Advice to Myself in the Past

Age one: You can do no wrong. Just be yourself, as you have been. There is no other state, no other world more important than simply being.

Age two: Don’t cry when Mom doesn’t let you keep the outfit your aunt in Taiwan bought you. I know you’re crying for reasons unbeknownst to yourself, but to others, you might just come across as spoiled.

Age three: Sing on the top of your lungs. Don’t let self-consciousness hide your voice.

Age four: Run around the living room. Remember how big it feels. Keep watching the specks of dust in the light. This is where joy resides.

Age five: You will be caught “cheating” on a test. Don’t let society’s rules dampen your own sense of morals. Never be ashamed that your intentions to help others come from the noblest place in your heart.

Age six: You will marvel at the flood waters and will want to wade in it and splash. Don’t lose that sense of wonder, even as you gain knowledge.

Age seven: Hide in the closet, and take all the time you need. In time, you’ll learn that the people that you think control your world are merely human, and you’ll step up and take control for yourself.

Age eight: Start remembering and recording your roots. One day soon, you’ll leave the place you’ve known all your life, and you won’t return for a very long time.

Age nine: Be ready to enter a new world and have your bubble burst. You’ll find out that you’re smarter than you think, but you’ll also begin to see injustice in the world.

Age ten: Don’t lose touch with Gigi. She’ll always be someone you’ll wonder about. She’ll be the first person you truly miss.

Age eleven: Tell Mrs. Bevington how she has inspired you. Your heart will break when you realize she’s gone and you never took the time to tell her.

Age twelve: Don’t not open the door to a friend on account of your wearing an embarrassing pair of tights, because that’ll be the last time you’ll see that friend.

Age thirteen: Know that you’ve found a good place to be. Your idiosyncrasies make you unique. Your sweetness will touch Sarah’s heart. Hold on to her words and live by them.

Age fourteen: Start writing your stories. Write every day.

Age fifteen: Get to know Travis. Ask him for that poem he wrote about you. Years down the line, you’ll realize that it’s the greatest gift that anyone has ever given you.

Age sixteen: Keep climbing that cherry tree before they cut its limbs. Look at the world through its shroud of blossoms in the spring.

Age seventeen: Bring a camera for the night you bawl your eyes out as you present Phil with that photograph. You’ll want that night captured on film to mark the crossing of the threshold into adulthood.

Age eighteen: Skip the classes you find dull. Go and learn from the world instead.

Age nineteen: Keep writing letters to Laura. Ask more than “How’s life?”

Age twenty: Tell Ray that you value all those conversations with him. Take him up on his offer to hang out.

Age twenty-one: Remember Coral, Chanelle, Tiana, and Amy. Hold more recitals for them. Take more time to listen to these girls’ stories.

Age twenty-two: Don’t agonize over Ottawa. Your gut is always right. You’ll have no regrets.

Age twenty-three: Don’t let anyone set you up. You’ll regret that, and you’ll begin to find out how tongues wag in a small town.

Age twenty-four: Don’t worry about fitting in. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” You’ll realize soon enough whom you can count on.

Age twenty-five: Go take a walk in this beautiful balmy weather. Keep breathing. Choose grace and poise.

1 comment: