Advice to my younger self…
You are about to turn 51 years old, which used to sound ancient but now seems merely middle-aged. And over the decades you have managed to learn a few things that would have been really helpful had you known them earlier. So here is a list of Do’s and Don’t’s from Present-Day Me to Younger Me.
Do take the nap. Anytime the grown-ups encourage (i.e. try to force!) you to do so, TAKE THE NAP! Someday you’ll be exhausted and wishing for the chance to nap and you won’t have the time to do it.
Do ask for piano lessons, as early as possible. You will choose to study music in college and having some piano training will help you more than you can possibly imagine. And keep asking until your parents let you do it. Don’t take no for an answer.
Do kiss that boy at the party. He really likes you. A lot.
The other boy at the other party…don’t kiss him. And don’t give either of them your phone number!
When you find those perfect black pumps, the comfortable ones that make your legs look great and take you through countless performances, all four choir tours and both your recitals in college—do buy a second pair. It’ll be more than worth the money and you’ll be glad to have a backup pair when the originals eventually wear out. (I still miss those shoes.)
The same goes for any other “perfect thing” you find and love—your favorite pantyhose (especially in the most flattering shades of black and nude), good tweezers, the slumber mask that fits just right and provides comfort when you have a headache. Do buy extras.
Do get your bras custom fitted. It’s not about vanity, it’s about your health. Your neck, back and shoulders will thank you. And follow the Lingerie Lady’s advice: always have at least 3 properly-fitting bras, 1 to wash, 1 to wear and 1 to spare.
Don’t wear a white slip under a black dress. The last thing you want is for your underwear to glow in the dark. And don’t skip the slip. Mama was right about the need for one.
Do take care of your skin, remembering that your face extends down to your chest. Your neck is especially vulnerable, and so are your hands. Learn to be satisfied with the pale complexion God gave you. Trying to get a tan is pointless for you, and you will regret it later when sun damage starts to show up. Pray that spots and wrinkles are all you have to worry about!
People you love are going to get sick and die. Your Dad, in his misplaced desire to protect you and keep things “normal” for you as long as possible, is going to tell you things that go against what your gut is tellling you. Don’t listen to him. He is WRONG. (You will learn that he has been wrong about a lot of stuff.) Follow your intuition. Go and see Uncle J.B. in Texas while you can, even though your leg is in a cast. Take time off from work sooner and spend more time with Mama before she goes back into the hospital. And when she is gone, spend more time dealing with your own grief and less time worrying about Dad’s. He will be just fine.
After Mama dies, you won’t feel like singing for a while. That’s OK. But don’t let it go for too long.
Don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are foolish. You can decide later on which ones are worth following and which ones are not. But it’s your decision to make, not theirs.
Do have a plan…but be open to surprise.
Do start reading the Bible daily. God will use this discipline to change your life. It will become as vital as food, water and oxygen…and just as nourishing.
Always remember that God loves you. There is nothing, NOTHING, He can’t forgive. No tragedy, no crisis, no failure, is beyond redemption.