Today is my birthday, and I absolutely love birthdays! At my age I celebrate the whole month of November because I’ve earned it. To celebrate my 56 years of living on this magnificent earth, I thought I’d write a birthday letter to my many different ages…
Dear 1-year old self… Keep running, but for heavens sake work on your form. You’re wasting a lot of energy flailing your arms like that!
Dear 3-year old self… That stuffed monkey that you just shoved back into the birthday gift wrap and said that you didn’t like, will soon become your favorite toy and will even go off to college with you!
Dear 4-year old self… When strangers comment to your mom that since you have red hair, you must have a horrible temper and must be a very difficult child, kick them in the shins instead of hiding timidly behind your mom.
Dear 5-year old self… Embrace every second of “daycare” that you spend with your dad and granddad on the farm. You’ll someday be very happy that you can use a hammer, screwdriver, and pretty much any other tool to fix almost anything, and don’t need to ask your husband to fix things for you.
Dear 11-year old self… Rock that pixie haircut and those gold tights on your eleventh birthday! You are too cool for school!
Dear 12-year old self… Take in every second of watching your mom walk across that stage to receive her BS degree after making so many sacrifices to earn it. You have no idea the positive impact she is having on you.
Dear 13-year old self… Don’t hate your two different colored eyes. Even though kids ask you if you can see out of your half brown/half blue eye, gently tell them that it’s only a genetic variation of your iris and move on. One day you’ll think it’s cool!
Dear 14-year old self… Thank you for begging and pleading with your mom and dad to let you go out for the track team. You are about to fall in love with a sport that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Dear 16-year old self… Don’t be insulted when the ticket taker asks your uncle and aunt how old the little boy in the back seat is when you’re joining them for a movie at the drive-in. Someday you’ll be thankful for your young looking skin! To him calling you a boy? I have no thoughts on that; just don’t let it eat at you for the next 40 years.
Dear 17-year old self… Embrace cleaning house, cutting the grass, and making dinners every weekend so your mom can go back to school and get her master’s degree. Her drive to make herself the best that she can be, will make you the woman you’re about to become.
Dear 18-year old self… Thank you for deciding to accept Virginia Tech’s admission to their great university. Even though you were being sarcastic at the time, you had no idea how prophetic your comment to your parents would be when you said, “I’m going to hang out in front of the engineering hall in hopes of meeting a nice young man to marry.”
Dear 19-year old self… Go ahead and throw that snowball at that dorm window. In just a few minutes you’ll be walking into that dorm room and meeting your future husband for the first time!
Dear 20-year old self… Don’t waste so much time lying out in the sun. You may think your tan makes you look good now, but it’s doing irreparable damage to your skin and setting you up for years of dermatologist visits.
Dear 21-year old self… Thank your parents for the gift of an education. Not many kids in your generation have the luxury of graduating from college debt-free.
Dear 22-year old self… You may have had to work three jobs to make ends meet while living alone hundreds of miles from your family, and you may have been taught a tough life lesson when your teaching position was eliminated, but it built character. One day you’ll look back at that difficult year and realize it made you a stronger person.
Dear 23-year old self… I know you love that guy you’re marrying, but he is going to be far more than you think. He’s going to be your best friend, your partner for life, and a fabulous dad to your future children. And he’s going to push you to be the best that you can be!
Dear 24-year old self… Embrace moving out of your comfort zone and moving to Utah. There’s a whole new world of hiking and cross country skiing waiting for you!
Dear 27-year old self… As beautiful as Utah and Colorado were, moving back to Virginia from out west to be near family was the best move you and Bill could have made.
Dear 28-year old self… Embrace your popped collar and big hair. You’re rockin’ the 80’s look!
Dear 29-year old self… That 5-pound, 12-ounce little bundle of joy will show you a love that you never knew existed, and will grow up to make you so incredibly proud.
Dear 31-year old self… Enjoy the easy and relaxed life of being the mom to only one baby. Your life is about to get very busy!
Dear 32-year old self… That 8-pound, 3-ounce little cutie pie will steal your heart. Just when you thought your life was complete, another little man will be vying for your attention.
Dear 34-year old self… Moving into a cramped two bedroom apartment for three months while you’re waiting for your new house to be built will be worth it. Your new neighborhood will bring you neighbors who will be your friends forever.
Dear 36-year old self… Thank your in-laws profusely for watching your little boys while you and your husband take your first vacation without children, and spend ten days in Hawaii.
Dear 39-year old self… You have no idea how your decision to train for and run your first marathon will impact the rest of your life. Good job!
Dear 40-year old self… Good call on letting your friend Miles talk you into running your first 50-mile ultra less than a month after your first marathon. You don’t realize it at the time, but you’ll never have a chance to run it again.
Dear 44-year old self… Don’t be so surprised to find that first basal cell carcinoma. You brought it on yourself by getting that “perfect” tan when you were young and stupid.
Dear 45-year old self… You’re purchasing your third and hopefully final house, and have no idea how much you and your family will enjoy your little piece of country in suburbia!
Dear 50-year old self… Embrace your “I don’t give a crap what people think” attitude. You’ve earned it!
Dear 52-year old self… You’re a badass! You just qualified for Boston again after two years of less than stellar marathon performances. Go run it and have fun!
Dear 53-year old self… Don’t be embarrassed that you just became an opportunist and hogged in on your son’s dermatologist appointment so your doctor could take a look at that odd place on your leg, rather than waiting three months until your next check-up. Catching that melanoma early was a very good thing.
Dear 54-year old self… Be nice to that cute young lady that your son has invited to dinner for you and Bill to meet. You’re going to fall in love with her too, and one day she’ll be joining your family.
Dear 55-year old self… Enjoy your care-free summer visit with your parents. You never know when you’re going to lose someone you love dearly.
Dear 56-year old self… Savor every minute of your Sunday afternoon phone conversations with your dad, and ask questions about your family history. Be grateful for that last week you got to spend with him, even though he was in the hospital. After he’s gone, be strong for your mom, and remember that she just lost the love of her life, and husband of 60 years.
- When is your birthday?
- What big things would you tell yourself in a similar letter?
- What’s your favorite birthday memory?