Thursday, February 28, 2008

What I Know Now

I was browsing through some catalogs that came in my mail today, and I came upon this book title in one of them: "What I Know Now: Letters To My Younger Self."

It is a compilation of short letters written by 40 well know women such as Maya Angelou, Senator Barbara Boxer, clothing designer Eileen Fisher,etc. They were asked to pass on their current wisdom to a younger self.

I found this idea intriguing, and I wondered would I feel able to impart the wisdom I've learned in my life to my younger self?

One of my all time favorite philosophical passages is this:

"It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards. And if one thinks over that proposition it becomes more and more evident that life can never really understood in time simply because at no particular moment can I find the necessary resting place from which to understand it—backwards."~ Søren Kierkegaard

At what age do we rest and reflect backwards? Is it mid life? Is it when we retire? At what age do we consider ourselves "wise" ?

On today's Oprah show, "The Age Of Miracles: The New Midlife," a similar theme was discussed by Oprah's guest, Marianne Williamson, about recognizing midlife not as a point of change, but as a right of passage to celebrate and embrace.

At 50, 60 or older, we are not finished living, we are entering an age of new wisdom. We may be able to pass on what we've learned so far to the young, but we are also still learning, still exploring, still discovering new abilities, and taking new opportunities. We do not have to dread becoming older. We can accept in our hearts and minds that we have much more of life ahead to enjoy.

"I want you to begin to believe that 50 and beyond will literally be the most miraculous—and I do mean miracles occurring in your life," Oprah says.

Since I am in my middle 50's I can appreciate that concept. I may have weaker eyes, creakier knees, and a thicker waist line than when I was in my earlier years, but I also feel less concern about what others think of me, and I am enjoying life more. I feel happy about all my past accomplishments and I look forward to appreciating each new day as a special gift, as I realize good health is not to be taken for granted anymore. I want to travel, read, learn to paint, have fun, and worry less. I don't think I would change that much of my past. I had an interesting career, spent wonderful years enjoying raising my children, and, along with my husband, have provided for the future. I might have not be what I am now if I did not live the life I did.

So when I stop to think about what wisdom I would write in a letter to my younger self, all I can think of is to be less worried about what others think, and just enjoy life!

What would you write in your letter to your younger self? Are you looking forward to the miracles yet to be?


Kathleen Grace said...

What a great post! I would tell my younger self to follow my dreams. Dont be afraid of failure.Take more chances. Exercise more!:>)

Junie Moon said...

What an excellent and insightful post. What you've said pretty much echoes what I think. I grew up trying to be a good girl and meet everyone's expectations of me. In doing so, I forgot to form my own expectations. So less worry about what others think and more about listening to myself would be included in a letter to myself.

Doodles said...

what I say to myself almost everyday.........follow my bliss!!!

Thanks for visiting PBE.....I enjoy your blog a lot.

Lenka said...

Thank you for wisiting my blog, and for being so nice!
Your post make me think about what I was 20-25 years ago, what I dreamed of, what did I expected? (I know for sure, I would be tell myself to escape Soviet Union as soon as possible in any legal or not legal ways!!! ;-))) But if we talk serious - I will be so happy to have more kids. I didn't understand importance of it when I was younger. Now I know...

Moon said...

Pat, thanks for stopping by our food blog.

I have to agree, I think I'm much happier at 58 than any other time.

Mary said...

Love this post! I'm 51, and still finding it hard to let go of my younger self. I guess I would say, "Appreciate yourself and use your talents!"

I would also say, "Do something nice for someone else every day." Can you imagine what a difference a lifetime of good deeds could make?


Sharon said...

I just happened on to your blog and I truly enjoyed reading every word.
I agree with Kathleen. I would tell my younger else to follow your dreams, and don't worried about what other think. I am now 60 and my hubby of 44 years has had 2 heart attacks.
We take time now to enjoy each other. When we were younger we took everyday for granted. Not now we try to make the most of it. Life is good.
Thank you for your beautiful post.

Loretta said...

Turning 50 definitely was very rocky for me. But now that I'm past the 50th year, it's become an amazing adventure. I'm more sure, more of myself in my own skin, and I feel less worried about what others think all the time.

Thanks for so much insight.