If you studied Hamlet in high school (or wherever) you can finish the quote: "to thine own self be true."
Sounds like great advice, doesn't it? What is ironic, however, is that the character who speaks these lines is Polonius, who is--to put it rather bluntly--a big windbag. He is constantly interfering with affairs that he should leave alone.
So, how does this connect to the writing challenge of the week--what advice would I give my younger self? Well, I suppose just this: advice is not always helpful.
As I get older, I find myself doing the reminiscing bit. You know, going over events from the past, wondering what would have happened had I...fill in the blank with a "this" or "that."
But I always come back to one conclusion: while I am well aware that things in my life aren't perfect, and I certainly am not perfect, in the main--I like the way my life has turned out and I like myself.
So for fear of altering the course of my life in some unforeseen way, if given the chance, I would most certainly decline to tell my younger self anything.
There are a few dumb things I did. Perhaps if I had been forewarned, I might have done better. Such as:
--remember the time I stopped going to movies? Well, that was dumb. Plain and simple. I love movies and I made no great moral point by avoiding them.
--then there was the time that because I had a migraine, I decided not to go to a concert. My husband had gotten tickets for us to go to an Eagles concert--I am a big fan of that group. Turned out the concert was superb--part of their comeback tour. To this day, my husband has the tickets tucked away. And every so often he mentions it. Wish I had told myself--go to the concert. The headache won't last; the experience of a great concert will.
--swimming. Yup, just that. I wish I had learned to swim properly when I was a child. I had lessons, and regularly went to the public pool (in Bulawayo) where we had instructions. But I just couldn't get the hang of it. I loathed diving--putting my head underwater. I never mastered breathing. I can't float. Seriously--I just sink. So I wish...
--And one thing I most certainly would have told my younger self--take advantage of the places where you live and absorb as much as you can. For example. having grown up in southern Africa, I never even tried to learn any of the languages. I missed out on the experience of a lifetime simply because I couldn't be bothered.
That's it, folks.
Perhaps, as Polonius advised, I was being true to myself. Too impatient, too distracted, too young and immature. But, isn't that what it means to be young? Even if I had been able to advise my younger self, I doubt if I would have paid attention.