Dear Younger Self,

It was difficult for me to decide which piece of wisdom I should give you. Not because I am so much wiser than you. In fact, it’s the opposite. Though I have had more time to learn, it turns out I am a slow learner. I continue to make the same mistakes and learn the same lessons. I am no wiser than you, I’ve just lived longer and am finally starting to notice the patterns in my life.

You’re likely thinking, “Wait, are you telling me I’m never going to learn? I thought this letter was going to make me feel LESS scared!” Which brings me to my chosen piece of advice for you, my younger self: Don’t let fear stop you. Yes, I am telling you you’re always going to be scared. Unfortunately, fear never seems to leave our side.

I know fear can feel paralyzing. It stops us from making decisions. It makes us shut down. But there have been times when we have put that fear aside, and taken a leap of faith. Remember when we were too scared to go on rollercoasters at theme parks? Dad and Caroline would go, while we stayed behind with Mom to ride the “easier” rides. One day, we put that fear aside and bravely ventured onto one of the “scary” rides. It was exhilarating. We rode it again and again and couldn’t imagine a time before we dared to ride that ride.

Remember in high school when we decided to audition for a musical, having never sang in front of an audience before? We weren’t sure we could do it. We blacked out and don’t even remember the audition. But we did it! And musical theater became an important part of our life for years after that. We couldn’t remember a time before musicals.

I’m reminding you of these times to show that, even though some days it feels like fear is ruling your life, you can, and you have, overcome it. You don’t have to let fear stop you from trying new things, from taking risks, from doing something you want to do and not worrying about the outcome. Some of the happiest moments in our life, the times we’ve felt most free, have come from taking a leap of faith and overcoming fear. Let’s do more of that!

I’ll let you in on a little secret, younger self: this letter is just as much advice for you at your age, as it is for me at this age. I’m still figuring everything out one day at a time, but from now on I am going to strive to not let fear stop me. Together, we can build a more fun, more rewarding life for ourselves.

Ready, set, go!

  • Pushing through the fear is the best thing.  I went through the same thing at a young age when trying out for a musical theater group performance of Oliver at a very young age.  It really did pretty much scare me to death but after getting through it and being called back and accepted it was the beginning of learning some things that have helped me ever since.

  • The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

  • Fear is a natural instinct to help keep us alive. This is the good bit about fear, it is mean't to be there to make sure we see the importance of paying attention, to concentrate, to prepare, to take the time to walk the best path.

    Sadly, fear brings the shutters down and stop you. Take this instinctive emotion and manage it, control it, so it does not control you.

    All great advice and a mantra to live your life by, but sometimes easier said than done. I always tell my children that a big life lesson is 'the best things that will happen in your lives, are the things you thought were too difficult or too scary". Seeing my kids faces after they came on the rides at Disney this year and the sense of achievement they gained was worth the price of entry alone! (well nearly as Disney is freakingly expensive!)

  • I can relate to all of that! I'm not the best at initiating conversations, but once I get started or feel comfortable around people, I can talk forever.

    I also felt intimidated when it came to comparing myself to others. There have been times when I decided to stop doing something, like being in the choir in college, because comparison got the better of me. I think you should definitely take vocal lessons! emoticons_happy.png

  • Yes I can relate to that! That's great you were able to overcome those fears!