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Feeling Reflective

Or, A Letter to My Younger Self

Edith here, yes, feeling reflective toward the end of another New England July.

We’re in full summer here. Our glorious short-lived tomatoes are ripe and dripping deliciousness. Corn is starting to come in. The blueberries have been fabulous. The beach is primo. And it’s been nice and hot, as summer is supposed to be. Hey, remember, it’s going to snow soon! I try to soak it all up, all the flavors and aromas and sensations, while summer lasts.

John David and Allan Hutchison-Maxwell

Still, the days are getting shorter already, and I’m getting old enough that it makes me think about my own days inevitably getting shorter. I’m still thriving, don’t get me wrong, and just recently have even managed to corral a couple of runaway aspects of my health. All good. And I have two awesome, healthy, handsome, generous, fun, self-supporting sons (ages 30 and 27), which makes me the happiest mom in the world.


At Indiana University,  1980

But all this makes me think of what I might want to tell my twenty-something self if I had the chance. What might be better about my life now if I’d done a few things differently back  then?

So here goes. Dear Edith (or Edie, as I was known for most of my twenties),

Please consider not lifting the heaviest thing you can. You’re little. You don’t have to prove anything, and it’s going to be hard on your joints. Also, use the gears on your ten-speed bicycle. You don’t have to use the hardest gear at all times, especially going up hills.

Reflect on what you say to your elders. You didn’t invent these freethinking new ideas, and your parents and other older people might have also thought them, both back in the day and now. Go easy on them; don’t be a know-it-all.

Remember those short stories you used to write in elementary school, and the one titled “Viking Girl” you actually got paid for when you were nine? Try your hand at fiction again before you turn sixty. You might find you’re good at it.

You could think about heeding the advice Dr. Mackler [battleax old-style female doctor]
gave you when you were sixteen about staying out of the sun, instead of going 100-percent tanning at the quarry or roasting in your bikini at the beach. You’re a pale-face Celt, girl, and you don’t have the kind of skin that can tolerate burns or even tans. You don’t want age spots and pre-cancerous lesions later on – do you?

But otherwise you’re doing fine. Keep living life to the fullest, keep telling those you love you love them (you’re good at that), keep following your dreams, wherever they lead you. It’s all going to be material one day!

Love, your Older Self

Readers: What would you tell your twenty-something self? Any regrets from those days? Anything you’re particularly proud of from that era of your life?



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