Dear 32-year old me,

YOU’VE no doubt by now read at least one person’s letter to “16-year-old” them. This is one of my favs, mostly because it mentions me, and since two friends have more recently returned to the country brandishing horrid letters and journals I wrote during my teens-early 20s, it seemed this post was unavoidable.

But first….

I actually have a letter from myself, aged… hmm, maybe 13? Wasn’t I just a treasure? A self-deluded, know-it-all treasure? Since almost 20 years later I still don’t like being told what to do, I’ll ignore her warnings not to show anyone this letter and put it on the internet. I know, in time, she’ll come to understand. 😉

Dear Peta,

Hi, I’m your teenage-style, past-life. I’ve just decided what we’re going to do with our life. Your (sic *shakes head*) going to find a nice flat and live there temporarily with a friend. Speaking of friends you will always stay in contact with Kerri Olsen (yay for Facebook!). After getting your career together – you’ve got to be either a secretary or a journalist (yay for newspapers! I’d have been a loco-secretary!), keep putting a little money away to go towards paying off your house. Your house will be kind-of like a Queenslander (yay for Leichhardt!) on a large property with heaps of trees, a pond, a cubby house for the kids and a fenced-off pool  (*coughs* Does she know what kind of maintenance a pool requires?!). You will have only-the-best husband, someone who is caring and you know that he really loves you (yay for Karl! Except for when he jumps out of dark halls and makes me scream.)

(Aaaand…. this is where it gets awkward.)

Don’t be like other parents and turn the art of making love (yes, that’s what 13-year-old me wrote) into a weekly chore.

No doubt my husband is probably nodding right about now. Let’s just say the rest of the letter demonstrates quite satisfactorily that I was a virgin when I wrote it!

Moving right along. I opened this letter at age 21 and added the following:

Dear Peta, This is the 21-year-old version of you. The one more cynical of “love” but still searching for it anyway. Have you seen the world yet? Have you gotten over your self-pitying complex? (Bitch) I hope so.

I want you to remember the things I’m rediscovering about the girl who wrote the first entry but took many things for granted – hang on, I have to change the cassette (HAHAHA!) – things like silence (shit, 21-year-old, childless me doesn’t know noise yet!), blue skies and the warmth of the sun on your skin. Reading a good book on an orange baby blanket (nwah – that was mine. My two kids used it too. *sniff*) These simple things are powerful for the soul.

I am proud of all the things you’ve achieved and there is no doubt you will do even more to make me proud (amen, sister!). But I want you to keep one thing in mind. You will not spend your life alone therefore do not jump into just any relationship and certainly don’t compromise yourself for the sake of staying in a relationship. Expand your horizons and keep peace with your soul.

PS In this house of yours, I’d like the bath and shower to jut out in a glass enclave thing surrounded by trees (native Australian) so no-one can see in. Sound good or what?

Yes, 21-year-old Peta… sounds good.

So, the question remains… what would 32-year old me say to 16-year-old me? Well, I’ve had a couple of years to think about it I suppose but I’m still intimidated at the prospect that I’m somehow meant to know the things I didn’t back then.

I still sit cross-legged in playgrounds, for crying out loud. I don’t think I’ve matured all that much. But I will try…. next week. Surely any wisdom I ought to impart to teenage me will be discovered in the next seven days, right?!!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. NeeSay
    Feb 17, 2012 @ 01:54:03

    That’s amazing that you wrote letters to yourself! God knows what I would have written, I was very righteous and self absorbed. 16yr old me needed to loosen up a bit 😉 Visiting from the Flog.


    • petajo
      Feb 17, 2012 @ 01:59:18

      I needed to loosen up too. Obviously had very little confidence in future me being able to sort stuff out for herself!


  2. bybeckyh
    Feb 17, 2012 @ 09:39:31

    I wrote letters to my future self, too. Though, I have no idea where it is, probably threw it out years ago – right now I’m wishing I had it! Isn’t it amazing how our thoughts change and develop over the years. I love that 21 year old you added her 2 cents worth.


    • petajo
      Feb 20, 2012 @ 02:06:13

      Yes – I was pretty surprised to find it myself. But I’m a pathological hoarder so knew it was in the melee somewhere!


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