Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Five Crazy Things: Childhood Lessons

Barbara: Inspired by Linda’s question last week in the comments’ section, I wondered what we might say—if we could—to our 12-year-old selves. It doesn’t have to be deep, dark life lessons or game changers or anything like that, but whatever you think might be helpful (or weirdly interesting).
            To young Barbara:
1. Stop envying others’ tastes and choices and rely on your own ideas. Find your own path even if you have to go against what’s popular or cool. Start asking yourself what you like.
2. Speaking of which, don’t be afraid to not be cool. I mean, sorry to break it to you, but you will never, ever attain “cool” status. So just embrace that fact now and make your own rules.
3. Start paying really close attention in History and Geography classes—because they will both come in very handy when you grow up… And accept now that you really want to be a writer (because you can use the extra—and early—years of practice).
4. …and, no, you will never, in fact, miss acquiring those elusive math skills.
5. Start yoga as soon as it becomes all the rage. You will love it and it will get you through many stressful periods of heartache and frustration.

To Young Deb:
1.  You are more than a body. Speak up. Say no. More than that say, “How dare you!”
2.  You are smart. Very smart. You just learn differently and they don’t have a name for it yet, so demand attention and respect.
3.  Try and stick with the piano. Please. Learn to read that music at whatever cost.
4.  Stop being afraid of water, the dark, and whatever else lurks in the recesses of your mind.
5.  Learn to balance a checkbook. Restrain yourself and your spending. You will thank yourself for it later. 60 pairs of shoes, as you will soon find out, amounts to 60 pairs of shoes. Find the balance in this shopping world.


  1. Awesome! First off Deb your sentence "You are more than a body." is so precise!
    And Barb I hope you dont mind coz I have 10 things to say!

    To young Shalaka..

    1. Honey, you have the power to create your reality and your power is in the NOW. So dont waste it crying about the past, rather spend it contemplating your bright future.

    2. Dont cling on what happened and Mom loves you but she is just panicking, it wasn't your fault and its not something big and bad. Dont listen to anyone, they didnt live what you did and I swear....its not worth being in depression for so long. Dont blame yourself for the phase, it's just a phase and its gonna go away!

    3. Dont look at others to love you and dont expect them to help you. They dont owe you anything. Dont depend on them. And the girl you share your bench with is your future best friend so treat her right! and LOVE YOURSELF like you'd love a CAT!!!

    4. You are extremely beautiful, Smart and talented.. YOU REMEMBER THAT! Soon people are going to force you study things you dont want to and point out that you aren't smart. Don't let them obstruct your radiance! There will come a time when people will call you FAT and make you lose weight, coz they'll want to make you look "BEAUTIFUL". Remember you are more than just a physical body. You are a wonderful soul, You are an eternal being and you are beautiful to your very core. And you'll probably get this when the time comes but anyone who calls you fat or ugly or says "you look like a boy". Just show them your middle finger! THEY'LL GET IT!

    5. And you are reaching a place when you are going to love two people with all of your heart. Dont stop loving yourself when you love them And it is going to be the biggest learning experience you'll have. You'll come to the other side knowing things you didnt before, just dont panic. Its all gonna be fine!

    6. Start being optimistic, I know the time is tough but...Learn to EXPECT positive things. Believe that Wellbeing abounds and appreciate where you are and the things you already have!

    7. Stop being afraid of the dark and everything that keeps you from sleeping at night. You CREATED your fears.. YOU CAN SMASH THEM!!!! It doesnt have any power to do anything terrible to you. YOU CREATE your reality and you can DAMN WELL CHOOSE TO FEEL GOOD when you dont!

    8. Focus on your dancing and sketching as much as you can. Thrive learning those things and try to learn classical singing and playing guitar like you wanted!

    9. You are not going to get a lotta guys in the future except this one guy you'll meet in about 3 years. He is EXACTLY like your soulmate would be and he lives in your street, so when you see him and you have butterflies in your stomach.. SEIZE THAT OPPORTUNITY... and atleast SEE If he wants to go out for a cup of coffee or something. (I'm not sure if he is THE ONE but he's to cute to let go of!)

    10. Go with the flow...anytime negative things enter your mind just release them coz they dont help you ...You are on the verge of a magnificent life.... And just hang in there for a few years...coz the 20year old you is Friggin' AWESOME!!!

    1. Beautiful, beautiful list, Shalaka. I especially love the simplicity of this: "LOVE YOURSELF like you'd love a CAT" Oh, if we could all remember that when we need to! And 20-year-old you IS friggin' AWESOME :)

    2. LOVE the "love yourself like you'd love a cat". Best advice ever Shalaka!

    3. Aww YOU MADE ME BLUSH! lol

      HA! Ya know what. We all need that reminder, coz Barb ya know what, a lotta times we are so hard on ourselves more than we are on everything else put together! We need to remember that it all comes down to that! Loving ourselves! Coz everything around us is the reflection of how we treat ourselves.. And we gotta make the mirror shine to get a great reflection!!!

    4. LOL Samara... I.LOVE.CATS! My fb wall is FULLLLLLL of cats!!! And I am still working on loving myself like that!

    5. Shalaka, I LOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEE my babies, Harry and Sally (my cats)!!

  2. Oh, nice! That was such a hard time.

    To 12-year old me:
    1) Boys are people. I know they LOOK mysterious, but in fact they like a lot of the same things and can be approached the same way.
    2) Differences are what make people interesting. You will never be 'like' others and if you try, you will be less good at it, but being more YOU is GOOD.
    3) Exercise is a whole lot easier to maintain than 'diets'--put your energy where it works and avoid that yo-yo thing.
    4) SLOW DOWN! Goals are great and you want to keep working toward them, but take some time in between to do some more frivolous things. Stop looking at society's timetable and thinking if you don't meet it that it means you failed. You make better decisions if you dabble a little and try different things rather than just committing.
    5) More drama doesn't mean you (or they) care more. Calm people are better for your soul.

    1. Hart, I so relate to #2 and 5! #4 is the one I keep trying to remember to instill in my daughters. I can see how compressed the expectation rate is for young adults to achieve, achieve, achieve in their earlier years. Like it's a "before it's too late" race.

    2. I think that #4 is one of the great failings in America--we don't have a culture that forgives people who take breaks, whether it is a year off to travel or six weeks a year vacation. The rest of the world seems better at acknowledging the value of those experiential things, but not here.

    3. You know what? I do think that's at the crux of it, Hart. And also this obsession with youth culture -- which is GREAT, don't get me wrong, but it's not the only prism...

    4. #4 hits home for me. The thing about society's timetable? Great advice to the 12y/o me. AND the 44 y/o me.

  3. Replies
    1. I feel bad now, not doing it the way the others did. Well, here goes my list (which basically ends up with just do it!)

      1. What ever she says, is a lie. She will promise you a moon from the sky to make you do what she wants. Trust me, you will never be able to trust her. Also hide your money! (yes always)

      2. Run if you can! Others will say that it will be better if you just wait, but it won't. You'll move out in few years, but is it really worth to wait? I say run and fast! Oh, and in few years you will go through withdrawal symptoms from the passive smoking (if you wait). It won't be nice few weeks, but at least you will now know what it is.

      3. Do NOT write anything down! It will all be read by her. There will be no privacy or family secrets. What ever you say to her will be disccussed at length with probably everyone who will listen.

      4. Don't be the nice kid and wait it out! Really?? You thought it would work. It's just ammo's to the gun. She will admit to you that she had it easy, but it will take a long time. Meanwhile, protect your sister (done pretty good job anyway, but there is always room for improvement).

      5. Just do it!

  4. 1. Don't let the fear of looking stupid hold you back from going after what you want. Of course sometimes you're going to look stupid, it really doesn't matter.
    2. Try not to lose yourself in relationships, and yes you will survive the heartbreak.
    3. Don't drop out of french class! You are going to love France one day and want to be able to order more than cafe au lait when you're out.
    4. Your thighs will always have cellulite no matter what you do. Get over it, wear a bikini with confidence and be nice to yourself.
    5. And don't worry you will get boobs one day!

    1. Ha! Yes, yes to 4 and 5 for me too :) And 3 made me laugh out loud!

    2. So happy to say... I'm living the 5th one !!!!! lol

    3. Do you realize your theme here is "Be comfortable with yourself"? Awesome reminders.

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    1. Freaking phone making multiple comments. Sorry about that... Traveling in bus and thought it would be easier with phone. Don't like to use computer on bus as for some reason I usually get sick. Luckily we just had a quick stop and I was able to correct the mess :))

    2. No worries. Plus, it is very apropos to repeat again and again! :)

  6. You are smart, you are deserving, you are capable, you are beautiful and for gods sake, Do NOT miss out on the opportunity for the sake of a guy _ Go to Brighton and work in that Pub!

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  8. You are smart, you are deserving, you are capable, you are beautiful and for gods sake, Do NOT miss out on the opportunity for the sake of a guy _ Go to Brighton and work in that Pub!

    1. Oh yes, and you got accepted to UBC, you always wanted to go to UBC, don't be safe and go to York, Fly, Be Free!

  9. 1. Don't pay ANY mind to what peers, society, etc has to say about you! You are so much better than a statistic!

    2. Don't waste any time with people who are only your friends out of convenience for them. If they can't see you and respect you for who you truly 100% are, then they don't deserve you (This takes a while to learn). And sometimes that means you having to break that chain and walk away.

    3. Keep up that positive attitude you've always had. People notice. It takes you far.

    4. Be open minded and flexible. You might think you know EXACTLY where you want to go in life, but all of that can change in a second. Don't be surprised if it does. You might end up somewhere pretty incredible.

    5. LISTEN! To that still small voice of God, your friends, your parents, your teachers, to anyone! Contrary to popular belief they DO care about you and have your best interests at heart. Make sure to tell them how important they are to you, too. :)

    I added a sixth, sorry!!!

    6. Never, EVER, stop being nice!

    1. And I would just like to add on to item 6, now as a 22-year-old. Whoever said nice guys finish last is full of crap!

    2. Excellent! #4 bears remembering over and over again, even at my age.

    3. It does! I was so sure I had everything figured out before I started college, but my life has turned out nothing like what I planned and I couldn't be happier! :D

  10. 1. Trust yourself

    2. Have confidence

    3. Enjoy every day.

    4. Ditch the drama from your life

    5. Enjoy self esteem

  11. Another difficult one but healing in a way

    1. Nothing that's happened or will happen is your fault. You are a victim and you have done NOTHING wrong.
    2. Never believe them when they say you are ugly, stupid, and will never be any use but counter that each and every time with I am special and unique and there is no one else like me. Please, please, please don't internalize those messages and make them your personal truths.
    3. As trapped as you feel right now you will one day look back on this and it will only be a memory. There is happiness ahead you just have to hang on.
    4. Stop isolating yourself from others, take a chance and reach out to people around you or you will miss out on so much.
    5. Some day you will be a mommy don't give up that hope. It's not true that all abused children abuse their own. You will be a great mom because you've learned what not to do with your own so let go of that fear

    1. You made me cry and proud, all at the same time. xoxo love

    2. Thank you Barb I have always been a survivor and as my daughter said I wouldn't be the person I am today had I not endured what I have. What doesn't kill us will only make us stronger. I can not even begin to tell you all what your compassion and acceptance here has meant to me XOXO

  12. 1. Searching for purpose and meaning is a part of life, but it's okay if you don't all the answers. Really, it is. You'll never have all the answers, so now that you know that, RELAX a bit! Enjoy the present moment for what it is rather than what it could have been or should be.

    2. Everyone marches to the beat of their own drummer. Let them be, and in the meantime, march to your own. And remember that the drum beat will constantly change - deal with it! Far from black and white, life is infinite shades of grey.

    3. You can't please/be friends with everyone! But don't forget your manners in dealing with people you don't like very much. Treat people how you want to be treated.

    4. Pick your battles. Fight for what/who is important to you. But fighting willy nilly for everything and anything is waste of precious energy. Let it go!

    5. Be thankful for everything you have. Don't take anything for granted, whether your food, shelter, opportunities, your mother's love, your skinny ankles. Ultimately, you just happened to be born into a good family in a good country that provides good opportunities for its citizens.

    (teehee, I added one)

    6. Finally, I wish I told my younger self that I was pretty darn okay (repeatedly...until it sunk in....eventually...hopefully). Looking back, it's sad to think that I spent decades of my life doubting my abilities, intelligent, beauty, body, interpersonal skills...

    1. Irene! I'm so glad it "stuck", because this is a doozy. Awesome list. Beautifully iterated.

  13. 1.Never be afraid of standing up for yourself. No one deserves to be made fun of.

    2.Make sure you live each day to the fullest. You never know what is right around the corner. So don't take life for granted.

    3.Make sure you lisiten to the stories that your grandparents tell you, No matter how boring. One day you will look back and thank them for those memories.Trust me that are amazing memories.

    4.Never give up on what you want to do with your life. It's never to late to do what you love. Even if you think it's too hard. Remember you have got a whole team cheering for you.

    5.You will have some curves and twist in the road. Don't be afraid to take them head on. Your gonna have to deal with them either way so just go straight ahead with it. Once you get through the twist and turns you will look back and relize that those twist and turns makes you.

    1. Lyndsie, so so great. I especially love #3 for myself too.

  14. my net connection is going on and off so i just hope i can get this posted before i get mom yelling at me that it is time to go to hospital .

    o wow I inspired a blog post . thank you , i have never inspired anyone in my life ! i wrote that contribution at 1 am Irish time and wasn't even sure it made sense .

    i hope you don;t mind . i added a 6th thing i would say to my 12 year old self . here is the list:

    1:you will survive the shit thrown at you in secondary school and come out the other end just fine so hang on in there . the bullies opinions of you are wrong .

    2: over eating will not be very good for you , especially when you are using it as a crutch to deal with the bad times in your life . try not to do it . then again don't under eat either . you don;t need to have a weight problem . (FYI i have been a large person struggling with my weight all my life )

    3: I know you won;t agree with them all the time , especially as we grew up in different times and moms temper can be a little bit peppery , but do your best to value your parents , they will not be around for ever .

    4: think for yourself at all times . be wary of the herd mentality and never try to fit in . people will like you or hate you but it should be for who you are not someone you are trying to be .

    5: you can;t please everyone all the time . try to do the best you can to be polite and fair to others but remember there is no need to be a doormat either . people will like you some people won;t . learn from your mistakes but don;t let them over upset you .

    6: never be sad or afraid of being on your own , being on your own will teach you great strength and self worth .

    barbara a while back you asked me where I look for TV shows online. I have 2 ways of getting them . if you search for the name of the show and the word torrent you can find the show for download . just to make it clear if becomes released on DVD after broadcast I will buy it no problem . failing that i have an american friend with a DVD recorder she can record a show put it on a site like media fire for me to download however some shows aren't on channels she has access to .

    1. Thanks, Linda! Oh, and great list. And, yes, you inspire me ALL THE TIME here.

  15. This is great! It makes me want to pose the question to my 13 year old daughter. What kinds of things does she think her adult self will want to tell her now?

    I could choose from both Barb's and Deb's lists like a menu. Barb's #1,2 and 4. Deb's #1, 4, and 5, adding that lifestyle follows money so choose what kind of life you want to have and put goals in place to support it. (Hint: simple is best, having less makes it so much easier to change things up, money = options so save, save, save)

    And then this. So much of this. YES, you can write for a living. Pursue it. And don't forget that great writers are also big readers.

    1. Especially LOVE the last one you included (for obvious reasons).

    2. Oh Oh Oh!!! I love the idea of asking my daughter now. She's 17, but it will always be relevant! And we can learn more about her together!!

      Barb, these lists have opened up a new way for my daughter and I to talk. I learn more about her, and she learns more about herself. Win Win!

  16. These are so great everyone. I am learning things. Really learning things. I always do from you guys.

  17. 1. Hug Grandma, and tell her you love her
    2. Despite being best friends for 8 yrs. Heather will ditch you for new, cool friends without warning, Get over it, She wasn't worth that many tears
    3. Put some effort into high school
    4. Start a garden, later it will prove to be a relaxing hobby
    5. Just a heads up , you will fail your driver's test the first try, and cry the whole way home, and be completely embarassed. Don't worry you will get it on the second try : )

    1. Made me laugh! Oh, and yes, #2: I have a certain someone I would warn myself about too.

    2. Aww Me too... Not a CERTAIN someone...But A BUNCH OF PEOPLE!

    3. : ) Yeah I think I could probably add a few more to #2 LOL but personally #5 is my favorite.....besides #1 : )

  18. To my 12-year-old self:
    1. No, that does not cause acne. Or paralysis. Or blindness. (But you might want to cool it a bit.)
    2. Be more curious. About everything.
    3. When you're in college, you will be one of those arts & letters people who take tremendous pride in never taking a business course. Take a business course. Maybe two.
    4. In a few short years, you'll lose your mother. Would it kill you to clean up after yourself every once in a while?
    5. Always remember what your father liked to say: "Life is a feast. Most of us are starving." Go gorge.

    1. Oh, Jim, LOVE this! Still, as much as I love the pathos and compassion on your later ones, my personal fave is #1 ;)

    2. Fight the power of stubbornness! James, you have a fantastic way of combining humor with sadness. Beautiful. (#4)

  19. 1. You're 12. You're gonna start high school when you are 13 and university when you are 17. Take the practical classes. High school: Don't be all AP, Honors, and GPA obsessed. Being valedictorian isn't really all that important. Quit having to be "the smart girl" who "takes all the hard classes." Take the home-ec classes, especially all the sewing classes. (You're going to end up being secretly envious of Nita for all the first floor home-ec classes she's taking and all the nifty projects she's making while you're in second floor math and science classrooms.) Home-ec classes would actually be more challenging for you than calculus, chemistry, etc. Be practical, not hyper-academic. For example, yes, you'll use algebra throughout your life. But, calculus? Not so much. By the time you reach 35, you'll be wishing for skills you could've acquired in high school if you hadn't a) let others push you and b)even moreso, pushed yourself so damn hard to be little miss advanced. College: Pick a practical track and stay with it even if everyone wants to tell you "you can do something more." Get in that cool nursing program that's challenging Kevin in such a lovely way. You don't have to go pre-med (stop listening to the others!), and don't tell yourself pediatrics is your only option. Go ahead and be in the ER. Or, go ahead to Doster Hall and get in the home-ec program. Become a domestic goddess. Become very, very competent and skillful. There's gonna come a day when you are sitting in a darkened auditorium with your best friend enjoying a Taste of Home cooking show, and you feel a strong twinge of jealousy and regret when the presenter talks about being a home-ec major. Also, you are gonna grow up to realize it would be cool to be able to work for the extension office, and you're going to have a real appreciation for 4-H. Quit trying to be all elite. STOP BEING AN ACADEMIC SNOB. You're actually being an idiot. Quit listening to people who only see you as "gifted" and a GPA. Get real. Get practical. Get in the real world. You'll have way fewer regrets as you approach 40, and way more money, security, and satisfaction instead of being a giant failure whom people are lining up to tell you've let them down. Use these years to build a foundation, not a reputation.

    2. Get very serious about working out, eating right, and having a strong, buff body. NO, not to be pretty. No, not to lure guys. No, not to have anything to do with the in-crowd. Just to be strong and healthy for yourself. To be POWERFUL for yourself. You are more than a brain. Sure, your brain and grades seem to be the only thing anyone values you for. Being "smart" is the only thing anyone ever treats you nice about, the only approval you get. But, you are worth more than your brain. For your own sake, value your body, too. Even if your mother's always sitting in the recliner dunking Oreos in a glass of milk. Get yourself up and go do. You are more than a brain. Take care of your body.

    1. Ironic that Deb's is "you are more than a body" and yours is "you are more than a brain." How we lock ourselves into other people's type-casting for us. I'm fascinated by the fact that you were already envious of the home-ec skills back then. On a deep level, you knew...

  20. To young Steph:
    1. Spend as much time as possible with your grandmother. She will influence your life is so many ways, and you won't have her here forever.
    2. Embrace the nerd within. Don't worry about what others say or do; do your own thing and love it!
    3. Try to understand that all pain that you experience will change and become less and less painful. Don't take everything to heart. Some people are just rude and cruel for no real reason. You won't have to deal with them forever.
    4. Explore your world. Don't be afraid to try new things and talk to people. You are talented and smart; let it show and do something with it.
    5. Have fun! Enjoy your youth because a difficult road is ahead. Know that you can and will get through it.
    P.S. Barbara, you are cool!

    1. Steph, love you xoxo. And love this list!

    2. Aww...love you too, Barbara! xoxo

  21. 3. You don't have to be the Good Girl. Don't be so strict with yourself. And, don't be so hung up on conservative Christianity. Kiss more guys. And, don't always wait for them to kiss you. Walk up to a few that you want, and kiss them. For example, you'll always regret not having kissed Sam. Especially when you get to university, party. Party hard. Don't be an idiot about it, but you don't always have to be the good girl who ends up getting the drunk guys safely back to their beds, on their sides, trash can by them, phone in reach. You don't always have to be the hyper-responsible one. Play harder. Play a lot. And, dare I say it? Go ahead and have sex throughout your college years. Be safe about it, of course. But, for example, you will always regret not having gone all the way with Chris. Don't have so many rules for yourself. When you get older, you are going to be trapped in some really tight bindings and a lot of regrets and losses. And, you are really, really gonna regret not having had a misspent youth. Play while you can. Be free and adventurous while you can. Stretch. Instead of being so damn ultra-self-critical. Stop walling yourself in with so many internal constraints. Stop always having to be the good girl.

    4. Be a bitch. BE A BITCH. Stop being a doormat. And, for God's sake, STOP KEEPING THE PEACE. Your father is wrong. Stop taking it. Your mother is wrong. Stop taking it. Don't be quiet. Don't be meek. Don't keep the peace. ROCK THAT DAMN BOAT. Demand better for yourself. The bullies at school are wrong. All those guys are wrong. Also, you're going to have teachers/professors/instructors who are wrong. ESPECIALLY, don't listen to the 2 who keep saying you can't write. They are WRONG. And, there's gonna come a day when you have a boss who is a really bad bully. DON'T TAKE IT. Don't let them get away with mistreating you. Don't let people walk all over you. Don't let them get away with lessening your life. Quit quietly swallowing the anger, the injustice, the fear, the sadness, the loneliness, the wrongs. Quit trying to keep the peace. Get in the habit of being a being a bitch. Quit letting people get away with hurting you. You do not have to keep the peace, and it does not matter if the assholes like you. And, really, it doesn't matter if they respect you. Respect yourself. Quit letting people get away with treating you like shit. And, quit internalizing their bullshit. Stick up for yourself. And, don't listen to them when they call you selfish. Survival isn't selfish. Get in the habit of taking care of yourself instead of letting other people hurt you.

    5. Don't stop writing. Always keep writing. And, while you're at it, all those years you kept feeling an urge toward photography? What? 2 decades? Go ahead and pick up the camera! It shouldn't take a guy when you're 36 to get you to finally start taking pictures. Go ahead and immerse yourself in yarn, paint, embroidery floss, sequins, beads, fabric, and more. There's gonna come a day when you realize that being creative and CREATING are a powerful, healthy force for you. Why wait so long to realize that and act on it? Why does it have to take until you are 38 and keep getting insistent emails from Deb to be able to say to yourself and others, "I am an artist." Go ahead and feed this critical component of your soul from day one. Writing and artistry and making will end up being your primary coping skill and healing force. Embrace it young and be faithful to this part of yourself all along.

    1. Yup. Just... absolutely and completely...YES. xoxo

    2. rigel can i just say something about your point number 4 that might seem a little blunt , it is a good idea not to let people walk all over you but be careful of mistaking aggression for confidence . they are both very different . the only girl i stayed in touch with from my school days has made that mistake and she has gone form being too meek for her own good to being so rude , demanding and in peoples faces all the time . i find her very hard to be around now , and i don't speak like that too often about people .

      you sound like a really good person rigel . i wish you the confidence to deal with all the people in your life . good bad and indifferent .

  22. My therapist had me do this exercise once. Talk about getting emotional. The toughest one? The one that makes me cry? "Dawn, I love you."

    Hey, 12 y/o Dawn:

    1. You ARE more than just good grades. You are a WORTHY person with much to offer. It's not your fault that other people have issues they can't admit to and deal with. You will bear the brunt of other people's issues. PLEASE, remember that it's about them, NOT you. BELIEVE that you DO matter. When it seems like that's impossible, that everything is overwhelming, talk to Miss Liebman. SHE WILL CARE. SHE WILL HELP. You'll need the help. TAKE IT.

    2. Talk to Grammy. A LOT. About her family history. About what she reads. About anything and everything. The nursing home isn't going to take anything but her mobility. Later on, you'll admire and respect her strength. Learn from her personally where it came from. Dad isn't going to want to talk about ANY of it.

    3. If you're not ready, for ANYTHING, don't do it. College, marriage... give yourself time to think about it. Impulsive behaviour has consequences. Step back and think about it. Make YOUR OWN choices. Don't feel rushed by anyone, including yourself. And for god's sake, DON'T get the credit cards! Impulse buying is gonna ruin you if you don't do something about it EARLY in life.

    4. Hold onto your passions. Feed them. Enjoy them. Cherish them. They will give you much joy, a release from the bad shit, something to look forward to. You'll feel highs no drugs can possibly come close to achieving. FEED them. They'll save you.

    5. I'm NOT telling you your life will completely SUCK. There WILL be good times. A LOT of them. I want to give you sources to turn to when there AREN'T good times. When it seems like there will NEVER be good times. Regret can be the worst feeling in the world. I don't want you to look back at age 44 and say, "If I knew now what I knew then." Now you know some of it. It can only help.

    1. This could have fit into #2 and I wish I'd remembered it a few minutes ago. Better late than never. :)

      Who you get along with is who you get along with. You are who you are and it's all good. People will become less judgmental as the years go by. Patience will never be one of your virtues, but it'll help you feel comfortable in your own skin. Others are like you, and they're okay. So are you.

    2. Beautiful, Dawn. To add to your last one here, I'd say that that adolescent judgement thing -- which is so debilitating to all involved -- is such a reflexive kneejerk thing that is so a reflection of their own insecurity. But that's 20/20 hindsight, isn't it???

    3. The judgment is also part of the "herd mentality." The only ones who won't judge (well most of them) are too afraid to step up and say, "This is WHO I AM. YOU'RE wrong, NOT me. Deal with it."

      I guess "Rise above the ignorance" is a good way to say it.

  23. 1. People are going to tell you that you will not make it very far. They will tell you you'll probably barely get through high school and not go to college. Don't listen to them.

    2. You are 10000% better than what said people and your stupid peers say about you.

    3. God is here. ALWAYS. You may not be able to see Him or hear Him but He's watching you. He will never leave you if you feel like you are all alone.

    4. People will come and go in your life. The ones who put up with you all the way are the ones you should hold onto.

    5. Your parents may not always say it, but they really do love you. :]

  24. Hmm...that's difficult. I already wrote that I would talk to my younger self...so here we go.

    1. If you really want to learn something, do it. Don't dream about the things you would like to do...do them!

    2. You will see Take That live, and you will never stop loving them. ;)

    3. You want to become a writer. You loooove writing. Never forget that.

    4. Please, think about what you want to do after school. Don't be scared...life isn't over after you received your certificate.

    5. Always check your bunny for fly eggs. Please, take care of him...

    6. Oh, and when Mom wants to get a new hip...tell her to not go to W******!

    7. And never stop being a kid. You did a good job on having a good time! =)

    Sorry...but I just thought...(it's late, I'm tired) what if we DID talk to ourselves before...but we cannot remember? Maybe we did the things we did, and are what we are, because someone already told us about it? Huh...weird.
    I said that I kind of like the thought of predestination.

    1. Just realized I could go on forever....but yeah...don't want to.

      Maybe one last nice thing...

      8. One day you will have friends from all over the world. This is awesome! Oh and please take English lessons seriously. You LOVE that language!

    2. Excellent list, Becki! I especially love the one about staying a kid. Oh, and in Deb's post tomorrow, note that I say something eerily similar to your last thought here. Hey, great minds think alike ;)

  25. The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I marked the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

    (The catch is the difference may not always have been good, but you did it and it's done.)

    1. Love this poem. I've used it for several English classes. It is beautiful! :)

    2. Yeah, this is utterly perfect for today's theme. Thank you.

  26. Dear Little Jo,

    I'm writing you from the future, and I'm leaving you some "nuggets" for you to do with as you see fit.

    1. Life will get better. I didn't say easy because life isn't. If someone says it's easy, they're trying to sell you a load of bull pucky. Don't let their insults wear you down. Friendships will come. They may not be many, but they are strong and deep. You will find a group of people who value you for you.

    2. No. You're not "The Forgotten One" in the family. Mom and Dad love you. They're busy focusing on addressing urgent family issues. They do apologize for not addressing what you may have needed at that time. Parenting sometimes involves a type of triage - what issue/which child needs have to be tended to first. So, Mom and Dad focused their attention where it had to be - your siblings. Mom and Dad had more on their plate than they wanted to share with you because that's what they do - they don't share their problems with the kids. You weren't presenting blatant signs that you needed more because you internalized everything, and tried your best not to make waves. So, Mom and Dad thought you were okay.

    3. It's okay to be different. You don't see the value of it now, and you're doing your best to "fit in", but what makes you interesting are the differences. The family may call you overly emotional, but that's okay. Ignore them. Embrace life - that's what life is there for.

    4. You're stronger than you think. I know you've endured a lot. The future - at times - may be difficult. Your strength is your empathy. Your empathy makes you a leaf on the wind - flowing with the situation. Accept people for who they are, and what they can do. Respect people for knowing what they can't do. Love people because they take the time and make the effort. Find the positives - and celebrate them.

    5. This last one easier said than done. Try not to be afraid of change. Change is the only constant in this life. Embrace change. It's through change that you can grow as a person. You value what you think is important, and incorporate that into your own character.

    Celebrate the small things. People keep telling me we're amazing people. You are loved.

    Big Jo.

    1. Oh, just so lovely, Jo. I'm going to believe we are actually telling our 12-year-old selves, as opposed to imagining it. #1 and #5 particularly resonated with me too. love, Barbara

  27. 12 year-old April,

    1. Don't be so worried about what people think of you. The only opinion that matters at the end of the day is yours, and in a few years those people won't be around to bother you anymore.

    2. The panic isn't imaginary. Don't believe those people who tell you that it's all in your head, or that you just need to "quit worrying". And when Momma tries to get get you to go the doctor for it, listen to her. Don't make her spend over a year trying to convince you it's okay. Cause once you go, it gets much better...

    3. You're gonna lose some friends along the way. Some high school friends and some college friends. Try not to be too upset about it, because just a few years after college, you'll come across the best friends a person could ever hope to have. And these friends aren't going anywhere.

    4. Don't change your major in college, no matter what Daddy tells you. Music is more important than anything to you, so keep at it. Besides, the Computer Science degree isn't nearly as useful as dear old Dad thought it would be.

    5. Stick very close to Grandpa Woody. You don't have a lot of time left with him, and you're really going to miss him.

  28. And Deb and Barb, I love these "Five Things" posts. They really make me think, sometimes of things I haven't thought of in years. It's just lovely to be back here. :)

    1. April, we're THRILLED to have you back here! Excellent list, wow. No regrets, but still it would've been nice to be a bit nicer to ourselves when we were young, huh?

  29. Gosh, I'm so glad I'm not twelve anymore! Here's what I'd say to my younger self:

    1) The most important one - it's going to be okay. I know things are tough right now, but hang in there.

    2) Don't be afraid to live your life. You can't keep everyone you love close all the time, or protect them from what life holds, but if you don't live for yourself, you're not living.

    3) You're smarter than you give yourself credit for. Keep working hard and don't listen to anyone who tries to bring you down.

    4) Try not to be quite so shy, and hold on to your friends.

    5) Enjoy your friends and your childhood. It goes far too quickly!

  30. 1. Steel yourself for the next eleven and a half years. It's not pretty. You will see the underbelly of human nature.
    2. The sadness matters. It has value. It will teach you lessons.
    3. When you start making choices that have real-life consequences, you will doubt yourself. Don't. Everything you gave up because of those choices comes back to you, many times over.
    4. Don't worry about losing your childhood. You do develop a child-like sense of wonder, and it's much more fun alongside the adult capability to fully explore ideas.
    5. Thank you for all the decisions you will make. You made the right one every time; there's not one I regret today. They made me who I am.
    It took me half an hour to write this and the catharsis is almost physical. If I were to have written this a few months ago, it would have been a very different list. It's taken a while to realise that happiness is a form of gratitude-The Newbie

  31. Dearest Newb, thanks for taking the time to add this list. It makes me feel warm and proud of the human spirit. So happy for you! xoxo

    1. Oops, wrong account! That was me (points up)


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