Dear 12-year-old self:
I have frequently contemplated some of the things that have happened to me that I could not have possibly imagined as a young man. Here are the top 5.
1. Yes, you do end up quite bald but you’re very comfortable with it.
Let’s just get this one out of the way because it won’t be much of a surprise. I’m afraid your suspicions prove to be true about your hair slowly disappearing over time. The good news is, for some strange reason, shaved heads seem to have become much more fashion acceptable; by the way, so have tattoos! Of course, like everything else society does, it’s only a matter of time before it goes out of vogue again, so take any permanent measures!
2. You’ll gain and lose 50 pounds before you realize the importance of health to your happiness.
Boy do I hope you can avoid the “25-year-old to 35-year-old” stage of your life where your body goes from a college student’s active lifestyle body to that of a lethargic business professional who does little more than sit on chairs and eat at restaurants. It’s a horrible 10-year period for your health. One day, you’ll wake up and realize what you’ve done to yourself and begin a fantastic journey of realizing how much food and exercise mean to your day-to-day happiness and even self-confidence. Being healthy will become part of your identity.
3. You’ll end up marrying your sister’s best friend.
As old-fashioned as it sounds when you first heard him say it this year, your father’s advice will prove to be spot on: if your sibling thinks they’re wonderful, you probably will, too. Yes, there will be a few tense years in there but, all in all, there’s something beautifully simplistic about an intimate relationship that develops naturally and organically from a mere friendship.
4. You’ll continue to excel at martial arts but will never use it in “real life.”
The lesson here is this: again, your parents were right not to put too fine a focus on your sports activities. Yes, you are naturally athletic. But, no, you’re not a world-class swimmer, martial artist, soccer player, or any other sport I’m currently aware of. So, be glad you are investing time in the skills that actually do end up being relevant to you in real life. No one will care when you’re 45 that you were a high school swimmer or that you ran track and field in college.
5. Your kids are more beautiful than you could have possibly imagined; don’t wait too long to have them.
You’ve always assumed that having children would be life-changing, but you’ll still be underestimating the impact it’ll have on you. First and somewhat counter-intuitively, your love for your parents is different than your love for your children. It’s much more immense. While the former is a love of dependence and comfort, the latter is a love of absolute dedication and blind adoration. You’ll end up with two beautiful kids but you’ll surprise yourself by appreciating why some people have four or five!
Your 42-year-old self
6 thoughts on “Letters To A Much Younger Me: On Personal Facts That’ll Surprise You”
Beautiful post; I quite enjoyed this letter. I think I would ask my 12-year old self to please not get inked, instead of telling her tattoos will be cool, but that’s just me. My kids think their tattooed aunt is way cooler than their non-tattooed mom, so I guess it’s a matter of perspective.
Oh, no. I better edit that part on tattoos. Of course, I know myself and I’m way too wimpy to deal with a tattoo needle so it’s all good.
To add to your great post…. Don’t change your name because you think it makes you ‘fit in’ more… Not fitting in with the rest of the herd turns out to be the best feature (one of the best…) of your personality. Plus, it will confuse your overseas friends who don’t see you on a regular basis. 😉
Touche, Esther. That’s a very good addendum to my post!
Great post. I too had a few questions in my mind about the tattoos. Of course, your boys have probably already seen the post. Don’t be surprised if one of them want to have some “artwork” done on themselves. 🙂
I also agree with Esther; you should include the question of changing your name to “fit in” with the rest of the herd. Your entire blog is about going against the herd and a celebration of your decisions to non-conform, so I think you should add the name question into the post.
Zoe, you’ve scared me into introducing an edit to the post as, while I’m fine with anyone else getting inked, I can’t get used to the thought of my kids doing it :-).