Lessons from the Nest: Dear Younger Me

Dear Younger Me,

I know this is weird, but this letter is actually from you. Breathe and keep reading.

Failure is coming, and I am not going to try to circumvent those moments – they are the best lessons you will learn but they need to be learned in the moment. Gut wrench, embarrassment, regret – they all rewire your DNA. My words wouldn’t have the same impact.

You know that funny guy, David Letterman? He always does a Top 10 every night. Here’s yours…


  1. Engage in more conversations with old folks and dogs. You will go through periods, long periods actually, when you think you know a lot. I’m going to burst that bubble – you will always be on the losing side of that knowledge equation. The scale will always hang heavier on the side of what you still have to learn, even when you’ve learned a lot. So, listen to old folks; they know more than you. LISTEN being the key word. You don’t have to agree or even understand everything they say but try to listen. One day, you may need that knowledge.

Dogs? Well, there is no better listener and there is no better problem solver than getting things off your chest. Your dog will LISTEN with a commitment that outlasts any human’s attention span. Let the words flow. You will feel better and your dog will earn a biscuit.


  1. Say ‘thank you’ more often. This is not the advice that mom gives you. It’s for you. Take care of yourself and remember to appreciate yourself and not hang on so tight to the failures (see above – they are coming). When someone recognizes you for a job well done, say ‘thank you’. Don’t dismiss your good parts or minimize them. Let your good parts stand beside your bad parts. Be thankful you have them.


  1. Very important – cheese in moderation. That’s it.


  1. Embrace your creativity. You will go through a period when you feel you are one-dimensional and you’ll start saying you aren’t creative. That’s B.S. Remember that epic fort you built out of an old T.V. box and sheets? Don’t let the march of time and responsibility separate you from your imagination. Taking time to create will add balance to your life.


  1. Move closer to God even when religion makes an ass out of itself. You know all the times of letdown and disappointment in actions that were executed under the umbrella of religion? They will push you away but remember the innate truth you knew as a child – God is love. Go seek that, be that, bask in that.


  1. Embrace your curly hair. The 80’s may never (hopefully) come back into style but this fluffy mane is yours so wear it proudly. There will be a thing invented called a ‘straightening iron’. Save hot metal for clothes and leave your hair alone.


  1. Light is life. You have a black thumb – your plants will want you to remember this advice. You will be a moody wreck in January & February – remember the sun comes back in March. You will fall in love with photography, which literally means drawing with light. Remember this when you think you’ve lost all creativity.


  1. There are going to be commercials about sadness. There is a pill for that. In the future, you will see 15 second clips, followed by 45 seconds of scary side effects, that will ask questions to which you may find yourself responding, “YES, I feel those things”. Remember the important qualifier is how long you feel these things. For you, physical activity outside in nature will cure those symptoms 99% of the time – plus it’s good for your soul and your soles.


  1. Say “yes” to things that scare you. You will develop a fear of heights – or more precisely, a fear of falling from great heights. You will also go to Sydney, Australia one day. Climb the iconic Harbor Bridge and soak it all in – you make it out alive.


  1. Listen to your gut. Remember those failures I mentioned? Many of them you could avoid if you listen to yourself. While you will never know it all, you know enough. Listen to the voice inside. And if the outside voices are too loud, grab your dog and go somewhere quiet.


Take good care and remember to love yourself, love others, and love the journey.

Love, You.

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