My friend Nicole purchased a copy of What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self for me when I turned 30. The book sat on my bookshelf for over a year-and-a-half despite it’s pleasing cover and list of contributors. However, I decide to pull it off my shelf when I was packing for my trip to Vermont last week. It got tossed into my suitcase with The Choice and This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women. I wanted to read all three of them in five days, but I knew that would probably be too ambitious if I were going to enjoy the outdoors while I was on vacation.
I grabbed What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self on my way out the inn door on Monday morning. I knew I’d have a couple of hours to myself while my husband went cross-country skiing. I cracked the book open in front of a fireplace and began reading the introduction Spragins, the editor of the book, wrote. It moved me. On page xv, Spragins wrote, “We don’t always have the wisdom we require at the time we need it. We struggle. We worry. Often, only later do our choices make sense to us.” Two pages later she wrote, “To know that these talented women didn’t enter the world as finished products — confident, successful, glamorous — is to understand that it’s within our grasp to reach loftier levels than we might have dreamed of.” I then, turned the page and found a letter Madeline Albright had written to her younger self when she was trying to rebuild her life. Then I found wise words from Maya Angelou about independence. Person-after-person I found letters offering guidance and wisdom each women wished they had when they were younger.
By the end of the text, I decided that I wanted to write a letter to my younger self… maybe a couple of them. This writing exercise won’t be easy, I’m sure, but I’m interested in seeing the words of wisdom I write to a younger Stacey when I sit down to do this. Like the women in Spragins’ books, I’m eager to see what advice I offer to myself with the wisdom I have now.
Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.