Look back at your life. Where were you one year ago, five years ago, ten years ago? What have you learned? What do you know now that you wish you knew back then? What would you do the same if you could do it all over again - and what would you change? Write a letter to your younger self, and share the advice, knowledge, and wisdom that you've gained from your life.
One Year Ago-July 2009
Dear Anna,First of all, the dining room you just tore up a few days ago...bad idea. Projects in old houses are never as easy as you think they will be. It'll stay torn up for an entire year, maybe more, and you'll get to look at it every day and think "the wallpaper that was there really wasn't THAT bad..." You should be studying for your CPA exam that's in three weeks instead of starting house projects anyway. And what about the dinner party you are hosting in one week IN the dining room? Trust your gut before jumping into things, you know you knew better.
Oh that exam in three weeks...you're gonna rock it. And it will start a passing streak for the other sections, even though I know you are stressed right now that you failed this first section a few months ago. Listen to your husband's encouragement and thank him for it. He has been and will be your biggest fan through this whole crazy CPA process.
You just bought a very large house and it will be a lot of work to try to do all the upkeep yourself. Start working on a plan now for splitting up chores and keeping things straight. Stay on top of said chores or this big house will become an awful mess in no time.
I'm glad you're not having serious baby thoughts yet, because you're not ready. You're only 22, you've got the CPA exam to study for, your finances aren't in great shape, lots of student loans to pay off. And you're not done enjoying being just husband and wife instead of daddy and mommy. Cherish this time together. Reconvene on this subject in a couple years.
Overall, you're doing great. Happily married, homeowners, your parents are proud of you, and you're headed for great things. Keep it up.
Five Years Ago-July 2005
Put down your journal and dry your tears for a moment. I know you are extremely confused and hurt right now. Leave it to Facebook to break it to you instead of him telling you in person, but that seems to be the way this world is headed. You won't believe me right now, but this the BEST way this crazy situation could have ended. The girl he's now suddenly dating will eventually be trying to get out without him hurting her again. The next couple girls will learn the truth about him in worse ways. Be glad he lost interest in you when he did. You didn't know what you were doing the whole past few months anyway. Your world got a whoooole lot bigger when you came to college and you don't quite know how to handle it just yet. Remember those tears of relief when you drove away from campus at the end of freshman year and headed home for the summer? You were driving away from drama, friendship barriers and confusion. I think some of the tears you are shedding right now are tears of relief. You know deep down this is for the best. Maybe not even that deep. Once you get over this initial shock and confusion, you'll realize you're the better for it, you learned from the situation, the friendships that had artificial walls put up because of this will become some of the deepest friendships of your life. You'll eventually look back on this as yet another learning experience in this crazy life, one that hurt at the moment, but in retrospect is almost silly. Don't let it scar you. Don't let it make you doubt that there are good guys out there. There are. You're going to meet one in a few months when you go back to school. He's going to be kind and caring and considerate. He won't trample your feelings or two-time you. He will challenge you to grow and become a stronger person. He will climb up to your second story dorm window at 2 in the morning to leave flowers on your windowsill for you to find in the morning. He will be completely in love with you and entirely devoted to you. You will love the person you become because he is in your life. Cherish every moment, for each moment will lead to an even better one.
Ten Years Ago-July 2000
How does it feel to be 13? You've got your ears pierced, you're going to a real school for the first time this fall, you're starting highschool, you're pretty much on top of the world huh? That world is pretty big. You don't know it now. Your world has been the small bubble of homeschooling up until now but it's going to grow. It'll only grow a bit for your freshman and sophomore years of highschool. You'll still have a very small fishbowl to swim in but you will make new friends and get closer to some you already knew. Then, just as you get comfortable in that setting, you'll switch schools. This is going to rock your world for a time, but it is for the best and your world will grow even more. You'll have several crushes and finally find the courage to ask your parents what the rules are about you dating. They won't say a word about it and you'll assume it's forbidden, but you just have to have the guts to breach the subject. You will decide to be more open about such things with your own children. Senior year, a guy will come along and ask you out. It will end up being a pointless three months but please go for it. It will teach you a lot and I'm glad to say you will have kissed one boy before you go to college. You'll learn about having someone you don't really want afterall, and wanting someone you can't really have. You'll enjoy being taken on rides around town in an old Mustang and dancing in the elementary school parking lot. But that's all very far away since you are only a freshman. For now, enjoy going to SCHOOL. You've always wanted to go to a real school. Enjoy your lunchbox and backpack and uniform and homework. Cool it with the puffy hairbands though...
As you know, the world did not end at midnight on 12/31/1999. So, your family will have to figure out what to do with the propane tank, generator and refrigerator, milk cow, wheat grinder, freezers full of home grown chickens and white air tight buckets full of dried food. The first few things will get sold, the chickens will be eaten but the white buckets will last FOREVER. You will spend the next decade slowly picking away at them and watching them dwindle. The world did not end, but if it had, this family would have been SET.
Be nicer to your sister Sarah. I know she is a terror right now but she will turn out to be immensely cool and one of your dear friends. Remember that family comes first no matter how badly you've been hurt...you'll forget that several years down the road, but it will turn out alright.
Try not to be so shy. Try to stand up for yourself more and make your own decisions. This is something you will always struggle with, but as your world grows, allow your confidence to grow as well. You've got an awesome road ahead of you.