notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Note To Self

Every once in a while I see an essay or blog or video that looks back to the author’s childhood – hoping somehow to make it better.

Invariably, these stories are titled something like, “What I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self.”

I can see the appeal of it. From a decades-later perspective, when we know how everything turns out and what matters and what doesn’t, how we wish we could revisit the children that we were and ensure their happiness and spare their hurt.

If I could send a message to little Nancy, I would tell her not to care so much what others think of her. That little girl was so desperate for approval, she often became who she thought others would like her to be.  And yet she already had the approval of those who mattered. Just the way she was.

me at 8.jpg

I want to whisper in her ear – or perhaps shout – “You don’t have to please everyone.” That not everyone has to like you. And that’s it okay if not everyone likes you. Just listen to Mom and Dad. And to your own little heart. You are sweet and pretty and smart. And those who don’t see it are missing out on your funny unique soul.

But I can’t tell her. And if I could, and she learned how not to care about approval quite so much – well, she might have turned into a self-centered brat. Or at best, if she stopped trying to become what someone else wanted, if she stopped trying on so many personalities, maybe she would not have developed such an imagination. Little Nancy might not have become Grownup Nancy the Writer.

Instead of envisioning messages and advice to my younger self, I think it might be more useful the other way around.

Instead of Grownup Nancy sending Little Nancy her post-facto counsel, I think I would prefer if Little Nancy sent Grownup Nancy her innocent advice. Instead of trying to change the past, which I can’t do anyway, how about changing the future? Maybe go where the possibility of change actually exists?

Little Nancy might have important things to say.

Like:

Just because you aren’t the best athlete doesn’t mean you aren’t an athlete at all. Get dirty and sweaty once in a while.

The same goes for drawing and painting. Not about getting sweaty. About doing it.

Kiss your mother and your sisters and your brother.

Write that children’s book. Make funny rhymes.

Eat more vegetables, which includes potato chips.

Be a good friend. Be loyal to your old friends and generous to new ones.

Go to the beach every chance you get. Live there if you can. And most probably, you can.

*

And especially,

You don’t have to please everyone. You are just fine the way you are.

me perfect

 

 

 

 

35 Comments

  1. Wonderful

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this – I wonder what little me would say to me now …?

    Like

    • You need to give it some serious thought. You may surprise yourself in a very good way!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. much better this way…I think younger me was probably smarter than old me in many ways…and definitely far less cynical!

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    • Yes, I think we can use a lot more of that innocence.

      Like

  4. Love this. Especially the not the best athlete doesn’t mean you don’t try. Because I used to try and then I didn’t. Maybe I still should. Oh…and live at the beach. Definitely live at the beach.

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    • I am determined to someday live at the beach. Soon I hope. I’m getting older by the minute.

      Like

  5. I remember the years of “little Nancy” and “little Doris” having a lot to say about “when we grow up”. I have never believed that “Innocence is Lost on the Young” I have always held on tight to my innocence and reading your stories, you still have plenty of that long ago innocence.

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    • Thanks, Doris. I need to remind myself that I don’t have to always be so grown-up.

      Like

  6. Deb

    I think that Little Me would say, “Find that Little Nancy and stick with her. She is going to have the best outlook and attitude regarding the really important things in life. Smart cookie, that Nancy.”
    And thank you for validating that potato chips are vegetables!

    Like

    • Potato chips are my favorite food. Then and now.

      Like

  7. i love these looks back and what a cute pic!

    Like

    • Thanks. That is my favorite childhood photo, and I never saw it until a couple of years ago when my cousin sent it to me. I love that I look like a sweet little elf.

      Liked by 1 person

      • They are always so fun to see, especially when they are a surprise

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  8. You are fine just the way you are. If only all children grew up knowing that!

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    • Thanks. And most of us adults are fine the way we are too.

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  9. I’m pretty sure little me would be laying down the riot act. Oh, yeah, I would be in Trouble. 😉

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  10. I wish my younger self had known (so she could have told me) that you don’t have to please everyone (or explain yourself over and over and over again until you hoped others would understand you). I would certainly tell my older self to get in shape and stay in shape so the “senior years” would be easier physically (and that being skinny doesn’t mean you’re in good physical shape!) I’d also tell my older self not to sweat the small stuff, to pick the battles that are worth fighting (and leave the rest alone), and to count my blessings every single day. But since my younger self didn’t know those things and can’t share them with my older self, my older self will have to share them with my granddaughter (who hopefully will remember them as she moves through life). Great thought-provoking post.

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    • Those are great, important things to share with your granddaughter.

      Like

  11. My younger self would probably say what my Dad always did:
    ‘I wouldn’t have done it quite that way, but it works.’
    I was 32 when I called time on being what everyone else wanted me to be. Better late than never I guess. If people don’t like me, that’s OK.. It’s their choice (and possibly their loss?), and I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Now if everyone didn’t like me, I might have a problem!!!

    Like

    • I am an extremely late bloomer. But there’s nothing wrong with that. It has taken me a long time, but I like myself. And (mostly) I like the decisions I have made.

      Like

      • I like the person I am now, and don’t regret anything I’ve done as even if it turned out to be wrong, it was part of my life’s learning curve.

        Like

  12. I don’t comment on your blog very often, but this was a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lydia. You’ve made my day!

      Like

  13. It works both ways, doesn’t it? Thanks for this fresh perspective!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. What would younger Jo-Anne tell this fat middle aged woman, nothing, yeah that is right, I have had a good life and I know I am loved and appreciated. Now the only thing this middle aged woman would tell her younger self is, nothing, because I have a bloody great life with no regrets

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not too many people can honestly say that they have no regrets. Good for you!

      Like

  15. Sometimes, it’s all about being proud of how we’ve grown thus far. Taking charge and being responsible for the growth process, no matter what. As for me, I wish I had started well, a long time ago. But it’s all good.

    Like

    • Late bloomers are good too! Think about all the people who peak in high school and have nowhere to go but down. Us late bloomers are still on the uprise.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Amen!! I think about that often. Had I been popular, beautiful, “gotten the guy” at a young age, I think I would have turned into such a (bleep).

    Like

    • Yeah, Jules. We were “lucky” that we weren’t popular! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m thinking maybe my younger self would have said Just go for it! If that’s not what she’d have said maybe it should be – I’m a good way into my life but just starting a journey to get to grips with myself. Blooming late maybe?? I hope so! Thank so much for your post, made me smile and hope a little more 🙂

    Like

  18. Perfect words to remember.

    Like

  19. You’ve got it the right way round – looking back to one’s childhood is interesting, and sometimes informative, but doesn’t help one’s current life.
    As the British author L.P. Hartley said in his excellent book ‘The Go-Between’:
    ” the past is another country, they did everything differently there”.
    Thanks for yet another thought provoking post.

    Like

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