30 Jun Letter To My Younger Self
**this blog was originally published on June 30, 2012 but was updated on December 31, 2015**
Remember when scrunchies & fanny packs looked “hot”?
Not too long ago I attended an 80’s themed party. As I was getting ready, I remembered how “cute” I used to look with that scrunchie permanently attached to my head (over 20 years ago) when I was 19. I was excited to re-live the 80’s with friends until I tried that dang scrunchie on. The image staring back at me in the mirror made me freeze! What the heck happened?
It is sooo NOT fair… just when you are at your most confident, most educated, most worldly self, you look in the mirror and the image staring back at you is much “older” than you feel! What the heck happened? How did time and years go by so fast? Most 40-somethings know this feeling all too well.
A Letter To My Younger Self:
Dear 15 year old Natalie,
I know that 40 something seems like a million years from now. I know…that is older than your parents, but it will be here before you know it! You may think you know everything now; you are thin, you have lot’s of friends, nothing hurts, and your tan makes you look like you have that “natural olive skin”. Yes, your mom is “mean” for not letting you wear those high heels, which you will regret years from now, and for not letting you pierce your ear with 10 holes. Before you tell your dad he is “embarrassing you in front of your friends” recognize he may not be here to embarrass your kids one day.
There are a couple of important things I have learned over the years that I would like to share with you. If you are not too stubborn to listen, these things will save you a lot of pain, heartache, money, time, and discomfort later on in life without experiencing them for yourself. I know, I know…you’re so type-A and just want me to get to the point. So here goes…
Stay out of the sun
Tan-orexia has consequences! Just because it is sunny outside and you are not basking in it, you will still live. I remember every summer where you could find me either in a tanning bed or basking on a raft in the pool with baby oil and all. Sunblock and hats were for nerds and the darker I was the better I felt…but in the long run, this is NOT a good plan.
If I could erase one thing in my life it would be that dang permanent suntan I felt I had to have in my teens and early 20’s. Every mark on my body and every fine line is a result of that poor choice. It may feel good now and you may think it looks good, but you will be sorry as you get into your late 30’s and 40’s.
I am actually thankful for getting that basil cell carcinoma when I was 25. It scared the tan right out of me. If it wasn’t for that, I am SURE I would look a lot older then I do now. So please, do yourself a favor and take it easy in the sun and realize it is OK to sit in the dang shade!
Make time to warm up
Get in, work hard, get out…that might work in the short term, but there are long term consequences for skipping the stretching, warm-up, and cool down with your workout. I know you love to workout with that type A ‘do it now’ personality. But part of what comes with that type A personality is that you will skip other important aspects like stretching and warm ups for years. As you age, you WILL pay for that. There is more to working out than just ‘burning calories’. Getting out of bed is sometimes painful, as is standing up after sitting for a while. So do the ‘little’ things and take care of your body…it will help you out a LOT years from now. Stop rolling your eyes…remember, I WAS you 20 years ago!
Higher is NOT always better
I know…they looked sooooo cute. Not only that, but I thought they made me look leaner and taller! So much so that they never left my feet from age 16-35. The problem is that dang pelvic tilt they create and the back problem they exasperate. High heels are NOT good for your posture in the long run, especially if that is ALL you wear for the next 20 years. It won’t matter to you now, but in time, you will be cursing the need to be a few inches taller at all times. 30 minutes of every workout is now spent doing corrective exercise to fix the muscle imbalances caused by many years in high heels. It also helps so that I CAN wear heels on those special occasion now. So just realize it is OK to wear flats during the day. Save the heels for when it really matters…
People die before their time
Appreciate your parents. I know, talking back comes with the territory of being a teenager. Your parents annoy you, and you feel you must tell them every chance you get. Well guess what, I have a daughter of my own, so I understand WHY your parents were the way they are.
Know this, you are the apple of their eyes, and they are only looking out for you, even though you sometimes see it as a source of embarrassment. Cherish the time you have with your parents and don’t take anything for granted. You never realize how much they mean to you until they are gone. Sometimes things happen so suddenly where you DON’T get to plan and say the things you wished you had. So tell dad how much you love him because I would do ANYTHING to have him back.
Surround yourself with positive supportive people
Don’t waste your time with people that tell you “you can’t” do something. I spent 15-29 listening when someone told me I couldn’t do something. Friends, boyfriends, co-workers; they all loved to try and stomp on my dreams. Being told I couldn’t do something became a self-fulfilling prophecy as I didn’t do those things.
Then I changed my mindset and changed it all! I dumped the controlling boyfriends, I changed my friends, and I made things happen by believing in myself! I bought my first house on my own, I took a position at work that challenged me, and I successfully picked up and moved across the country to a place where I knew no one. No matter what the challenge, I believed in myself and I have succeeded. So the sooner you start doing that, the better off you will be!
Listen to your gut. I do this frequently…NOW, but I didn’t for many years. I wasted time in bad relationships when my “gut” told me not to. I passed up opportunities when my gut told me to jump on them. I wasted time not listening to my gut.
I had a career in medical device sales for years when my passion was always health, fitness and nutrition. If I had listened to my gut years ago I would be so much further ahead now. It has never steered me wrong and I always listen to my gut now.
Don’t be self-righteous
I was that person. I was successful early on. I had accomplished my goals and I was ‘successful’. I had married my prince charming. I was pregnant with my first baby. I lived in the house with the white picket fence. And then…I lost it all!
I can’t tell you enough to NOT take things for granted. Material things can be gone in a flash and relationships take work and need nurturing to continue to grow. Things can change in a heartbeat with little to no warning. Poor decisions, not listening to your gut, karma… it all plays a role. Don’t ever get self righteous, and no matter how good things are going for you, don’t let that change the way you look at others.
It’s a lifestyle, not a project with a deadline
It is not a destination, it is a way of life. I tried so many things in my younger days. From this cleanse to that diet, to those pills, to the latest ‘diet secret’, I was like so many always trying to find that ‘magic bullet’… until I realized there is no magic pill, diet, or bullet that will get you where you want to go.
Instead, I learned to LIVE a healthy life year round and be happy with myself. I threw out the gimmicks, started to read and study what works, and
take action with the fundamentals over time. Consistency is key along with doing things in moderation. Eating healthy feels good and I am in a great place now and will continue doing it forever. I just want to tell you, my younger self this, so that you can not only save a lot of money, but do things RIGHT from the beginning. Learn from my mistakes and realize that you CAN enjoy chocolate without guilt my 15 year old Natalie!
While you are out partying with your 21 year old friends and gossiping about that 38 year old ‘cougar’ dancing next to you in an outfit that looks like she is trying to hard. Well, let me tell you, that will be you one day! Maybe that 38 year old’s husband left her and her young kids for a younger version and maybe this is her moment to feel attractive and wanted again. Don’t judge. You never know what a person has gone through or what they are dealing with.
Life goes by fast
20 or 40, life goes by fast. You will never be “younger” than you are today and “older” comes around very quickly. What you do every minute of every day has consequences later. Live the lifestlyle now that will help you be your best you 10, 20, 30 even 50 years from now. Your “older you” will thank you later.
Keep being you, but take these life lessons to heart and it will save you a lot of time, effort, money, pain, and discomfort.
44 Year Old YOU
Ready to take ACTION and be ACCOUNTABLE for a new , healthier and fitter you? Look HERE!