To a Younger MePosted: August 12, 2013
Have you ever thought about what you’d say if you wrote a letter now to your younger self? The temptation is to put all your current wisdom in hopes of changing the way things went. I don’t think I could write myself a letter like that and here’s why: I wouldn’t be who I am now if I changed things. Could it be better? Sure. Could it be worse? Sure.
The parts that bother me about writing to my younger self is that I really like who I am now. If I hadn’t made all those mistakes, or what I thought were mistakes at the time, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I did. I wouldn’t have done some of the things I did (assuming I heeded my own advice.) Our experiences, both good and bad, help make us the people we are. Temptation to go back and only change the bad stuff is strong. Who wouldn’t want to save themselves pain? But pain is necessary to understand what is good and right in our lives. And who is to say that by changing something bad that something worse wouldn’t have happened?! This is what speculative fiction deals with. So write the story where something didn’t happen. Most popular is changing history: what if Hitler had never come to power or become an adult, for example. Change it to what you would have done differently. Write the story, and see where you end up. Are you a free-willer or a designed-planner? Would something else have happened that you could have prevented? Time travel may someday become a reality. What are the ethics and responsibilities of its use? Who gets to decide? This is where writing allows us to explore possibilities, opportunities, or just play and see what happens.
There are those who think that high school was the ultimate pinnacle of our lives. I, for one, am thankful that was not the case. I hated high school. For me it was a time to be lived through, endured, survived. The things that make us unique, what contributes to our voice in writing, are the experiences we have. We are all different. We all have something to add to the great pool of knowledge and life. What makes your voice unique? Write that. Be true to yourself. I couldn’t write that letter to me. The Brad Paisley song aside, I’d want to, but I couldn’t.
Would you write the letter? What would you write? All I know is that today is the day to write something. Write on.