A Letter to Myself at 9

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Kristen,

I wanted to share some thoughts with you now that I’ve had 14 extra years of experience. It’s too bad you can’t actually read this at nine years old since I’m going to be giving a lot of advice-but maybe it’s better that you learn everything the natural way.

At this point in your life, things are absolutely perfect. You’re a chubby, awkward, imaginative, active kid with a passion for flowers, reading, becoming an international spy AND ballerina, and violin. You have four (going on five!) siblings, a dopey, wonderful dog named Bailey and two amazing parents. I envy you at this point in your life- I can’t really remember a better time to be alive.

A lot of the things you have and enjoy at this point will stay with you throughout adulthood. You still read about 2-3 books a week, your parents are still incredible, Mary is your best friend, plants are something you still delight in, you’re in Virginia for the time being, and you are passionate as ever.

On the other hand, almost everything has completely changed. You have eight siblings at this point- four ridiculous, amazing brothers and four lovely sisters. Most of the family lives in Carrolton, Ohio now (long story), Mary goes to college in Steubenville, Ohio, and David is in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Air Force).

I hate to tell you this, but Bailey passed away about a year ago. He lived an extremely long, happy life and you loved him until the very end. Mom and Dad have a new dog who looks like him- a big meaty head, sweet as pie, and always happy to see you.  You have two of your own dogs as well- a retired racing Greyhound named Whiskey and a Goldendoodle named Mr. Snuffleupagus (you probably don’t even know what one of these is at 9, oops).

Oh did I mention, you’re also MARRIED. For two years now, to be exact. Your spouse is very handsome, innovative, has the best laugh in the world (I know that’s always been important to you) and he loves you dearly. I know you said marriage wouldn’t happen until at LEAST age 30, but when he came along you couldn’t help yourself.

You never did become an international spy/ballerina. I know you said you’d never give up on those dreams, but let’s be honest, you don’t have the body or stamina for that much dancing and being a spy would cause too much anxiety. You work in something called social media, which I am sure at your age you have never even heard of. You absolutely love it and you get to work at home! It’s fantastic.

I will not tell you that things stay as easy and wonderful as they are at nine. You are going to get beaten down by a lot that life throws at you- public school, boyfriends, anxiety, depression, college…But you always stand back up. Never once did you actually stop trying to make things better for yourself, and even during those very, very dark times you had other beautiful people in your life to do it for you. When you get up, you hit back. You share your experiences with others, you write, you research, and you love those close to you even harder.

I never admit this, but I love you more than I realize. You make mistakes, but you quickly learn and rarely make them again. Now again, I know you can’t see this at nine, but I am going to offer a few pieces of advice anyway.

Boys are going to treat you like dirt. Yes, most of them, and even if they don’t some of them will expect too much of you in return for their “niceness.” Don’t give any of them anything you don’t want to, and if they try to take it from you anyway- get loud and make them hear you. Also, you’re going to want to wear thick, sparkly teal eye shadow in the near future- I’d advise against it. Over the next decade, you will actually become a Democrat- you’ll understand this more later on.

You actually stop playing violin at about age 15, and you will really regret that fact at 23. Try and love your body more than I know you’re going to. You’ll never be a size 2 with perfect proportions, and you’ll have to learn to accept it. Spend as much time as humanly possible with your extended family, trust me when I say that they won’t always be as close. Also, maybe don’t be an idiot and start smoking at 19.

There’s so much more I could say to you, but at this point I think it’s better that you brave this on your own. I love you- stay strong out there.

Love,

You at 23.

 

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