(From the Archives of Not Your Grandmother’s 70, October 2018)
What would you tell your younger self? Ah, the time machine question.
I was recently challenged to write about what I would tell my younger self. Obviously: “Keep writing!”
I wrote as a young girl. When did that stop? Probably when my mother read my biographical journal and made fun of it. So younger self:
DO NOT STOP WRITING BECAUSE SOMEONE DID NOT APPRECIATE WHAT YOU WROTE
I was so excited to take journalism in high school. I learned to write – who, what, and why for the first paragraph. I learned a little about typesetting. (How quaint.) However, I did not stay with it. Why? The teacher did not like some of my mannerisms and suggested journalism was not for me. So younger self:
DON’T LET SOMEONE ELSE’S OPINION STOP YOU FROM DOING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO
Marriage, teaching, motherhood, divorce, mid-life. When did I stop writing? Why? Then, at last — law school. Law school is all about writing. Complex, challenging, REAL writing. I even wrote a law review article. Great practice, even if it was not published. Actually, it was quite prescient, and I took a stand. As I recall, it was something about defining a “close relationship” and could include an unmarried partner. Not bad for 1995, is it? So, younger self:
TAKE A STAND AND WRITE ABOUT IT
I passed the bar and opened a law practice. Passed another bar and opened another law practice in a different state. Even though bar exams involved a lot of writing, it is not the creative writing I craved. That budding writer was still dormant.
One day as I was building my new business, I received a sales call from a local newspaper. They offered me the opportunity to write a column – an advertorial I learned. You know — the one you would get at the bank or the car wash? I jumped at the chance. That column jump-started my writing. I wrote a monthly column. People came into my office with the column in hand. I got a lot of business. And I was getting great feedback about my writing.
After a few years, that newspaper folded —literally. By then, everyone had websites, and my columns easily transferred to a blog on my website. That led to joining a reticent bloggers group which was the start of many writing classes, retreats, and ongoing groups. I then officially considered myself a writer. I even published a book. Younger self: Why did you have to be 60 before you started writing?
YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO BEGIN AGAIN, AND YOU CAN REINVENT YOURSELF AT ANY AGE
Now it is your turn:
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?