Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The letter

I have seen this lately on a few of the blogs I frequent, most recently Maria. No doubt inspired by the song Letter to me, by Brad Paisley, the meme is to write a letter to your 17 year-old self.

I have seen very heartfelt versions of the letter, giving detailed advice on future events and sharing the wisdom that has come with the years. I took a different route. I put myself in the shoes of my 17 year-old self and decided to talk only about matters in her immediate future. I don't want my entire future revealed, my journey cut short by ill-timed revelations. I want to walk the path and have the freedom to make mistakes, because they made me who I am today. My only warning about the future concerns the loss of a family member, to give my 17 year-old self a chance to enjoy this person more before he is gone.

So here it is, my letter to myself at age 17.

Dear Ingrid:

When you start college, don't give up on that biology major just because pre-calculus is hard. Getting one bad grade on a quiz should not cause such a drastic decision.

Quit smoking, damnit! On your last day of school you will be off early and a bunch of you school kids will celebrate at someone's house. Do me a favor, don't mix drinks or it will be quite a sight to see you in your catholic school uniform, puking in the bushes at the building where your mom works.

Oh, and before I forget: being 17 and never having kissed does not make you a freak.

Your father will die by the time you are 21. Take some time to get to know him better before he's gone.

yourself at 39


  1. Pre-Calculus hard? I still haven't figured out fractions. Good post.

  2. Wow...I read this and got all teary eyed because I would have soooo much to tell myself at 17.

    I didn't realize that you lost your father at the same age I lost my folks. I wish I would have gotten to know them better, too...

  3. short and too the point. Sure to have made a difference...if it had been sent.

    oh...and have a great day Ingrid! :)

  4. I loved this approach and letter. I like that you didnt give too much away.

    And wanted her to ENJOY 17.

    Beautifully done!

  5. Ah...si fuera posible enviarme esta carta al pasado, quizás hubiera evitado algunas malas decisiones.

    Me hiciste llorar. Hermoso.

    Un abrazo,


  6. But if we knew then what we know now. . .

  7. This is a beautiful letter. When I got tagged I had to do it from a 13 year old perspective. It was HARD!

  8. I am so sorry you lost your Dad at such a young age. Writing a letter to my 17-year old self would be difficult. I wouldn't know where to start. Nice letter!