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May 2012′s Healthy Living Tuesdays topic is “A Letter to My Future Self.” [Don't forget: we challenged you to join us!] This letter comes from Susan Lacke. Susan is a freelance writer, columnist for Competitor Magazine and the Resident Triathlete at No Meat Athlete. For updates on Susan, follow her on Twitter or “like” her on Facebook.
If you are reading this, you are now 60 years old.
Do me a favor, would you? Go look in the mirror. Tell me what you see. Wait for it… wait for it…ah, it just hit you, didn’t it?
You turned into your mother.
You’ve always looked exactly like her. From the time you were a child, people remarked that you were her “mini,” much to your mortification. In your adolescence, you rebelled, insisting you two weren’t even remotely similar AND OH MY GAWD MOM STOP EMBARRASSING ME I AM NOT LIKE YOU AT ALL I CAN’T WAIT TO BE AN ADULT SO I CAN GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE AND I AM NEVER GONNA BE LIKE YOU.
Little did you know, while you were out being ever-so-unique, you became even more like her. You foolish girl. Genetics are more than just eye color, don’tcha you know?
By now you’ve probably figured out that all those times you were about to do something really dumb (god knows there were many of those times) she let you continue. She knew the only way you’d learn from your mistakes would be if you actually made them in the first place.
You didn’t appreciate it before, but now you cherish the experience of letting go sometimes, of getting messy and making mistakes.
Somewhere along the way, you realized she allowed, even encouraged you, to take those risks. It wasn’t because she wanted you to learn from your failures – it was because she knew you were going to succeed.
Not everyone is so lucky to have someone like her in their corner, giving unconditional support. I hope you’re doing that for others – believing each friend, family member, or stranger when they tell you their big wild dreams. Remember, you never once heard your mom say the word “impossible.” Not. Even. Once.
Hopefully you’ve been using those skincare items she brought to your house every time she visited in your 20’s. There’s a reason she looked so hot when she was 60. And pluck your eyebrows, girl. You look like a Yeti.
Don’t half-ass your relationships. No one deserves to be multitasked. Remember, every time you were having a bad day, she stopped what she was doing and listened – really listened – and that singular act could make everything better. When was the last time you really listened to someone, fully, without distraction?
Drink a lot of water. Have a good, firm handshake. First impressions count. Every kitchen should have a good, heavy skillet. Volunteer. It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. Make friends with your neighbors. Don’t burn bridges. A little black dress works in every occasion. Hot rollers work better than a curling iron. Never charge something on your credit card you can’t pay off at the end of the month. Don’t use the “r” word. Tell people you love them, loudly and often. Lying is wrong. Buy new socks every year. Sit up straight.
And for crying out loud, be nice to people.
You don’t have children. You won’t have a daughter to share the same relationship you did with your mother. That’s okay, because of all the lessons you’ve learned from your mom, the most important is one she never verbalized. It’s one she taught every day, perhaps without even realizing it:
You don’t have to have children to leave a legacy behind. You do that by loving – loving life, loving laughter, and most importantly, loving others.
She was right, you know. About everything.
It’s okay, you can admit it.
Susan, Age 29