Dear Younger Me

by Melannie Svoboda SND on September 19, 2016

As we journey through life, we learn a lot of things. We develop all kinds of skills. We grow in wisdom. Here’s a little exercise you might want to try. Imagine you could talk with your younger self—maybe eighteen or so. What advice would you give your younger self from your current age and perspective? (You might even want to dig out a picture of your younger self and speak to that picture.) Here are a few pieces of advice I would give to my younger self.

  1. Enter the Sisters of Notre Dame. And stay there. This decision will prove to be one of the most significant
    Dear Younger Me

    Dear Younger Me

    decisions of your life.

  2. Stay close to your siblings. Your shared formative years with them can be a strong bond for life.
  3. Pray every day. Share how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking with God, with Jesus. Don’t censor anything. Then listen. Really listen.
  4. Love and respect your parents. Pay attention to them. Say “thank you” to them often. Care for them especially in their declining years.
  5. Surround yourself with good, upbeat, and fun friends. Lean on them. Allow them to lean on you. Always make time to nourish these relationships.
  6. Be attentive to the beauty and mystery of nature. Get outside every day. Feed the birds. Talks to squirrels. Watch sunsets. Gaze at the stars. Give thanks.
  7. Embrace the adversity, pain, and sorrow that life allots to you. Let these experiences be the rich soil where humility, patience, and compassion may grow.
  8. Hang on to your sense of humor. No matter what.
  9. Recognize your limits. Admit your mistakes. Say you’re sorry. Ask for help when you need it.

    Your dear older self

    Your dear older self

  10. Be a teacher. Be a writer. These two professions will enrich your life in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.

Those are a few of my pieces of advice. Now it’s your turn. What advice would you give your younger self?

Another piece of advice I would give myself is to surround myself with good music. All kinds. Here’s a song by the group MercyMe. It is appropriately entitled “Dear Younger Me.”

 

Would you be willing to share with us some of the advice you would give your younger self?

PS: Thank you to all who came to the Sisters of Notre Dame annual fundraiser last Sunday: our Chicken/Ribs Barbecue and Boutique. We serve about 3,000 dinners between noon and 5:00. The event is held at our school, Notre Dame Cathedral Latin, in Chardon. In case you missed last Sundays, we repeat the event next Sunday, September 25. Enjoy a drive into the scenic fall countryside, a tasty dinner (take-outs are available too), all kinds of crafts, and meet lots of nice people! 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen September 19, 2016 at 5:18 am

Good one Sr. Melanie!

I would tell myself to try more new things and don’t be afraid to fail. God does not expect perfection.

Kathleen

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John Hopkins September 19, 2016 at 5:49 am

Hi Sister Melannie,

Your posts always seem to delight and intrigue at the same time. Advice to my younger self, hmmm, let’s see…..well, being a young man, I had many urges and desires, and so I would tell that younger self to relax, breathe, take it easy. God has a plan for you, and all that other stuff will eventually take care of itself. Just give yourself a second to reflect on how much God loves you!

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Jean Canatsey September 19, 2016 at 9:19 am

Dear Sr. Melannie,
I am forwarding this to all of my 8 children and to my grandchildren. I think I would tell my younger self most of what you are telling your younger self because I have been given the years to come to these realalizations.
In addition…even though I am a Liturgical Musician and have been since my teenage years…..I would tell myself to work harder at perfecting my craft.
I love to write, and do, but I would tell my younger self not to wait until my waning years to put pen to paper and tell all of those stories inside of me. I would tell myself to write that book….Now!

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Sandy Zabierowsky September 19, 2016 at 10:04 am

My older self has learned not to try to change friends, a soul mate or a family member. Whoever they are enjoy each person fore their own wealth.

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Rosemary September 19, 2016 at 11:25 am

This is a great reflection, Sister!! I related, as I discovered my old yearbooks from the 50s, and spent a couple of hours looking, laughing and crying over the photos. Adolescent years are such a struggle for women and men. Looking back I realized all the energy wasted on worrying and trying to fit in and be like everyone else, and realized God loves me just like I am…..with all the imperfections! As I was making the R.I.P. And praying for all who had died, I gave thanks that I am still here….still trying. “Saints are sinners who keep on trying”. Peace and love ❤️
After all, “Saints are sinners who keep on trying”…

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jyosita snd September 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm

I will have a dialog with my younger self soon

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Barb September 19, 2016 at 4:04 pm

I agree with all you would write to your younger self! This is what I would add to mine:
* Worrying about what other people think of you is a waste of time and energy.
* Don’t be so hard on yourself all the time. Don’t get caught in the trap that everything needs to be perfect, or nothing will ever get done.
* Always believe in yourself – don’t let people discourage you. Appreciate your own uniqueness and gifts.

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Jane Oliver September 19, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Wow…I will do this… What comes to me at this moment.. BE HONEST WITH YOUSELF. Challenging, ,however, it will grace you with inner strength, humility, and ultimately a deep peace/joy.

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Eileen September 19, 2016 at 8:42 pm

A lot of food for thought, Melannie. I would give my younger self two pieces of advice, one is to always find something in each day to be joyful about and two is to always be grateful. No day is ever so bad or so hard that there isn’t something to be joyful about or for which to be grateful. A positive outlook can change everything.

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Shirley September 20, 2016 at 8:55 am

Sister, I always enjoy your Sunflower Seeds!
I would certainly try to be the hands and feet of Jesus when I was much younger. Also as others have said don’t worry what others think, God loves you always.

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Tom September 21, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Thank God the Younger Me and the Present Me can get together occasionally to challenge the person I pretend to be.

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ken September 24, 2016 at 8:31 am

love God,love your neighbor……..thats all that matters

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Elizabeth September 29, 2016 at 8:13 am

Dear Melannie,
I love your presentation of thoughts and words. They truly inspire me. What would I say to my younger self? Be more adventurous. try new things. Do not be afraid. God is always near. Blessings. E.

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Madelyn August 7, 2017 at 9:10 am

Sister,

I have read things you have written for years and you have always touch a place in my heart. Keep on writing. I love it.

Madelyn

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