Saturday, February 24, 2007

Letter to Myself

(With thanks to Miscellaneous Mum.)

From: Bubandpie
February 24, 2007

September 1, 1989

Dear Self,

I expect you’re a bit surprised to receive this letter. Get used to it: more surprises are coming. A few weeks from now, the Berlin Wall will come down, and you’ll watch in amazement as the world wakes up from history. (You haven’t heard that song yet, but you will. And you’ll find that history has a longer shelf-life than people are giving it credit for.)

You’re feeling nervous about the upcoming year, your last year of high school. A decade from now, grade thirteen will be abolished, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying it. You’re stronger than you think: those three months in Germany last spring have given you some perspective, emboldened you to make a terrifying move – joining a new lunch table. Your terror is not unfounded: there will be some snubs, a few red-cheeked moments of humiliation. But it’s a calculated risk, and it will pay off rapidly: the friendships you make this year won’t last a lifetime, but they will change you, make you happier and more adventurous.

I know you worry sometimes about what I think of you. Do I read your diaries and laugh at you? Am I embarrassed by your earnest ideals? Well, sometimes, maybe. But more often I envy you for your drive, for the confidence you place in your future. What you may not realize is that I worry, too, about what you think of me. Have I disappointed you? Have I repaid the effort you’re putting now into this last year of high school? I’ve made a few compromises along the way, I admit – I’ve balanced one dream against another, balanced ideals against reality. The results are a bit mixed, to be sure.

I have no advice to give you, my eighteen-year-old self. I could tell you that you’re beautiful (astonishingly beautiful, and almost totally unaware of it), I could tell you that you’re smart, likable, and not inherently disgusting to boys – but I know it won’t make any difference. Your mom tells you that stuff, too, and it helps less than it should. I could warn you to beware of handsome Italian men, or advise you to check your tendency towards narcissistic projection (if you think you’ve met someone just like you, it’s not because you have) – but these are lessons you need to learn for yourself. I don’t want to change the path you have ahead of you, because eventually that path leads you here.

What you really want me to do, though, is to give you a sneak preview of what’s up ahead. I’ve always been prone to self-indulgence, so I won’t hold out on you: here it is, the good and the bad.

The Good News: You’re going to get married – and way sooner than you think.
The Bad News: It won’t be to Jeff – or even to the right person. The right one will come along eventually, but don’t start looking for him just yet – right now he’s about five feet tall and about to enter grade 9. (Sorry.)

The Good News: Eventually you’ll find yourself teaching that Children’s Literature course you’ve been looking at so covetously in the university syllabus.
The Bad News: You’ll be teaching it in London, and not the one in England either. Don’t worry – you do get to go away for a few years, but eventually the white-bread blandness of home will start beckoning you away from your dreams to live in Germany and England.

The Bad News: All those warnings about the ubiquity of computers turn out to be completely true. (I realize you don’t know the word "ubiquity" yet, so go ahead and look it up – it's one of several words you’ll pick up in the next couple of years, along with "diaphanous," "paradigm," and "continuum." University really is everything you hope it will be – and good for the vocabulary too.) Tell Dad that the top-notch typewriter you’re going to purchase in a few months is really not the good investment that it seems: if you go whole hog and buy a brand-new 386 IBM-clone you won’t regret it.
The Good News: Computers aren’t nearly as scary as you think they are. Pretty soon, there’ll be a few innovations like "Windows" and a "mouse" that make them a lot easier to use. One day, you may even find yourself using a computer voluntarily in your spare time.

The Bad News: I know how much you want children, or, to be more specific, a daughter. You’ll get one (and you’ll even give her the name you’ve had picked out since you were sixteen years old, with one or two variations in spelling). But first you’ll have a boy. I know that sounds kind of scary (it was scary for me too, even after fourteen years’ experience in actually talking to boys). But it will be okay. Really.
The Good News:

(Need I say more?)

So there you have it: your future, both less and more than you’re expecting. I can give you no warnings or advice, my dear self, but I can give you this encouragement. You’re desperately hoping right now that the people who call high school the best years of their lives are either (a) dead wrong, or (b) the washed-up former prom queens Bruce Springsteen sings about in "Glory Days." Don’t worry – the answer is (c) both of the above. The worst is over – it only gets better from here.



metro mama said...

I love this.

It just keeps on getting better, doesn't it?

What a beautiful picture of pie.

Oh, The Joys said...

Well done!

kittenpie said...

Oh, I am enjoying these. There are so many things I wish I had had reassurance of, from someone I could trust to not be just saying it out of love, like a mother or friend does. Someone who I would be able to trust to tell me not to hold back all the time, that I would regret not doing some of the things I really wanted to, that a little pushing wouldn't have hurt me or my parents as much as I worried it would.

cinnamon gurl said...

Wow, that makes me want to do this letter to myself thing too.

And that photo... yum!

Em said...

What a lovely idea and quite thought provoking (how dreams change over the years). I'm tempted to do this exercise myself.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

Great letter, thanks for letting me know.

If you don't mind, I'll put a link to you.

Love your blog, BTW. I'll be back :)

Anonymous said...

Tee hee--that must have been fun. What I desperately want now is a letter from my 52 year old self offering advice about what to do next now.
Working on my Google account--MLD.

Kyla said...

Heh. I'm thinking "Typewriter? Who has ever used one of those?" *lol* I'm such a youngin'. *lol*

I love that photo of the Pie! So adorable!!

Sarah said...

What a lovely letter...

That picture is just so...kissable!

Lisa b said...

Oh that picture is so yummy!

Does anyone actually think high school was a good time ?

bubandpie said...

Kyla - Actually, that's Bub (though both he and Pie think it's her whenever they see the photo). World's best advertisement for having a boy, I'd say.

Mary-LUE said...

Baby butt crack is the best! I love that picture although I think its Bub, isn't it? I think I made that mistake before, which is why I don't think its Pie.

This is a fun piece. You did a great job with it.

Mary-LUE said...

We must have commented simultaneously!

Beck said...

Baby boys are so unimaginably sweet but there's just no way to know that before having one. Bub is just unbearably cute!
I wrote one of these too.

Mad Hatter said...

That's some good news indeed. I love baby bums. I truly love them.

Great letter.

Kyla said...

In that case, he's Bub-alicious. the gum.

Redneck Mommy said...

Bub's butt is beautiful. But then you knew that!

I wish I had a letter from my future self to my teen self. I would have not made out with the hubs on that dark road (it was fairly embarassing when the nice police man shined a light in our car with my shirt gaping wide open) and I definetly would have avoided that Chinese restaurant in a certain city that sent me to the hospital.

Well done, as always. You set the bar high, my friend.

Lady M said...


I also wonder how much my current life would please or disappoint a college-age me. I didn't understand the challenges of balancing personal life and career back then and what compromises have to be made. I still like to dance and I still like to read. I guess that much stayed the same!

Jenifer G. said...

Oh how I could have used one of these letters! I guess the bright side is all of it - good, bad, everything; led me to exactly this spot.

Love the letter.

Nice shot of Bub, recognized it from your About Me photo, taken at the same time I think? So cute, baby bums are the best.

Catherine said...

What a great letter - you have me thinking of what I would write to myself...

And thanks for your comments. I've interacted with them, so stop by again if you'd like to!

TrudyJ said...

This is a great entry; I love reading these Dear Me letters!

ewe are here said...

Fabulous letter.

And, no, you don't 'need to say more' -- what a lovely, lovely picture of your wee one!

gingajoy said...

This is gorgeous. I absolutely adore this project, I have to say. I am learning so much about everyone.

9th grade, huh? I can imagine your High SChool Senior self would be horrified! (but this 36 yr old now says HOORAH!)

I love what you say about computers--I was exactly the same: terrified. It flabbergasts me some times that I not only ma permanently attached to my laptop, but that I actually make a living working with computers. (I wish I'd told my 15 yr old self that one...not that it would have done any good).

Beautiful picture....