Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

A Letter to my Younger Self

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I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of writing a letter to my younger self. What would I say, and why?

Now, we all know the answer. Enjoy!

Dear younger Barb,

You’ve probably already figured out that life isn’t exactly a bowl of cherries. But in case you haven’t, let me assure you — it isn’t.

That said, there are very good people you’re going to get to know, including one very special and wonderful man who will be your husband and the other half of your soul. Don’t give up on finding love, whatever you do; you want to find this man, and experience what he has to offer.

Yeah, you’re going to have to kiss a lot of toads before you find him. That’s the tricky thing about love, you see…not everyone is honest about what they want, or what they’re going to want from you. The only way you learn how to fully understand who a person is and what he wants is to experience life in all its glory…and, unfortunately, all of its disaster.

You’re a realist, at this stage of the game, and somewhat of a cynic. (I do remember that much.) You don’t expect anyone to treat you well right now, and you barely believe that you deserve that. This is one reason it takes you extra time to find the right man, and it’s time I wish I could help you short-circuit.

But there’s something about life that must be felt, must be seen, must be shown, or you can’t fully understand the gift you will be given later on.

Lest you think your husband is the only good person in your life — the only extraordinary, one-of-a-kind person, that is — he’s not. You will have female friends to understand you, and a couple of interesting men who also seem to “get” you. Long-term friendships are something you have always valued, and you will indeed have these things.

You may notice I’m not saying much about family concerns. I can’t, because the way I see them and the way you see them may not necessarily make any sense.

And no, that’s not a cop-out. It’s that so many things have happened that I can’t properly explain it in a letter; it’s too complicated.

Will you become the musician you’d always hoped to be? Partly. Your education will stand you in good stead, though, so please don’t think you’re a failure, just because you never get to play Carnegie Hall like you always dreamed.

Will you become the writer you’d always hoped to be? Yes, you will. But not necessarily in the way you’d hoped, at first…(where are those sports-writing gigs, anyway?)

Will you do other things that bring you joy, help you find meaning, and give you serenity? Yes, indeed.

But there will be pain. Lots and lots and lots of it.

Know that your husband, and your friends, and your family, and your strengths and talents and abilities and perseverance will help you rise above it, and give you the ability to keep going.

That’s what matters, in life. Persistence matters just as much as talent does. You have to keep trying. You have to keep living, even though some days are very difficult. (I’ve never believed in lying, and I’m not going to start now.)

So, younger Barb, we’re down to this. The one life lesson I want you to consider, as you continue on your journey.

What can you learn from the pain, in order to better inform your music, writing, and other creativity?

If you can figure that out, you’re going to be a much happier, wiser, and kinder person — and a far less frustrated one, too.

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Written by Barb Caffrey

October 11, 2016 at 10:25 am

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