“If you could send a letter back in time to yourself, what would it say?”
This is the question asked on the jacket of my most recent recreational summer read: If I’d known then: Women in their 20s and 30s Write Letters to their younger selves. The book is a compilation of interviews with well-known, and/or influential women, including actresses Jessica Alba & Danica McKellar (actress who played Winnie Cooper on the Wonder Years), athletes Sasha Cohen & Julie Foudy, and inspiring entrepreneurs such as Sara Blakely (founder of Spanx!), collected & edited by Ellyn Spragins. Each woman’ s story is shared in her own chapter of the book & to wrap up the chapter, each woman writes a letter to herself between the ages of 12 & 22 – which, as Spragins notes, is
“a measure of the intensity of those ages that women, who could pick any time in their life to send a message to, thought they needed the most help as a 13-year-old or a 16-year-old, or a 20-year old”
This same concept of reaching out to your younger self to provide the girl you once were much-needed advice, comfort, or reassurance is also currently being explored by Cassie Boorn on her website, where she has encouraged women to write letters to their “20-something selves” and then share them with the world in the hopes that 20-something women everywhere can gain wisdom, insight, & inspiration from women who’ve been there, lived through this time in their lives, and come out stronger on the other side of things.
Both projects have got me started thinking about what I would write to myself at a younger age. In some ways, I think that 25 is a bit young to be introspectively remembering my younger self and thinking about what I’d go back in time to say to her. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I agree with Spragins assertion below:
“Women in their twenties & thirties may not have acquired life wisdom in every arena, but they have enough distance to know intimately what would have helped smooth their way through the thickets of cliques, bad boyfriends, bullies, unwise friendships, and family traumas that snagged them in middle school, high school, and college.”
So, I think I’m going to take on the challenge! Stay tuned for my letter to my younger self!
Want to join me? Check out author Ellyn Spragin’s website for more info on her book, & if you feel inspired to write a letter like me, please leave a link in the comments to your letter so I can read it! Also feel free to send it to Cassie Boorn’s site to be posted for a larger audience – after all, how great would it be to save a younger woman from making some of the mistakes you’d avoided in your youth? :)