Monday, December 30, 2013

What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self? Looking Back in the New Year

I know that during this end of year time, we tend to look forward. But I thought, for this new year, I would look back, see how much I had accomplished and what I have to continue to learn.

In 2006, a year before Dan was born, the book, What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins was published. I remembered thinking,  "what a cool concept! I would love to write a letter to my younger self!" I never actually did, but I shelved the idea, knowing that I might do it in the future.

Then, in May of 2012, I  bought this issue of Oprah simply because the cover caught my eye. Isn't it amazing? I wondered how I could do this, how could I put a picture of my older self embracing my younger self and combine it with a letter to a younger me. I never figured it out, (if any of you know, please tell me) but when I found this Ziggy doll, I got an idea. The doll was given to me in 6th grade by a group of friends before I had back surgery for scoliois at age 11. I remembered my mom had taken a picture of me with it so when I found it, I attempted to recreate it as an adult. Here is the result as well as 5 consejos (advice) I would give my younger Nellie. Bare with me as I am still learning these lessons and will carry them into the 2014.

1. Your father's alcoholism had nothing to do with you.  He didn't drink because you didn't get better grades, or because his family was not interesting enough. This is an important lesson, little Nellie, because you are going to have two kids with autism and you are going to refer back to what you know, blaming yourself. You are going to think that you ate something you shouldn't have or that you didn't play enough Mozart to your unborn children. Stop apologizing. Not everything is your fault. You are not that powerful.

2. Don't hide, don't be afraid to shine and celebrate yourself and your accomplishments. I know you like to give the spotlight over to others and that you're a great listener, but we need to hear your voice as well. Just as others are gifts to your life, you are a gift to others. People need you. You are going to have a blog where you will be able to celebrate your accomplishments. Opportunities will come from this. Please don't say no to them.  Stop second-guessing yourself.

3. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need! If you plan on being a healthy mom, you are going to have to take care of yourself, little Nellie. Just because you have needs does not make you needy. You are going to have to learn to ask for help. No one does it alone, we all need each other. If someone says no, just move on and ask the next person.

4. Don't be afraid to switch paths.  You are going to do a lot of schooling and have two degrees that you will not use for a while. You will then teach yourself some new skills. I know it sounds crazy but it will be okay. It's going to be a tough ride full of uncertainties but it will also be fun. You are not your career. Don't get stuck on one track. You are multi-faceted, embrace it.

5.  Little Nellie, please do not take yourself so seriously! Don't be afraid to be a goof, to make mistakes, to laugh at yourself. This is what makes you human, real, and relatable.

Whew! I am kind of glad it does not happen this way. That we don't get a sneak peek or a preview of the future. I think I would be totally overwhelmed. I am glad I am learning these lessons as I go and look forward to new ones in 2014. Happy New Year.

What advice would you give your younger self?


  1. I will tell my younger self to speak up for me more and not let people take advantage of me. I try not to think of my younger self too much because my childhood was painful. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. I am glad that we met this year.

  2. Thank you for commenting on this Miz Kp. I am glad that we met as well. Sometimes our painful childhoods make us better adults. I believe that is the case with you!