I’ve often thought what I’d say to my 10-year-old self if I could go back in time. I recently asked Gar what he’d say to 10-year-old him. Quickly, he said, “Ten-year-olds don’t really know anything, I’d do 12 since they’re learning.” I said, “OK, what would you say?” Obviously, he’d been considering this for a while because after only a moment he said, “Seek wisdom, surround yourself with good people, don’t compromise your values, fight for your beliefs, find a good church family, work hard, do the right thing, learn the laws of money, invest wisely for the future, get an education, when you’re tempted to quit – don’t, put God first and then your family; everything else falls under that.” I sat in awe. He always knows the right things to say. If I had a heart, it’d be all fluttery. He sat musing, then gestured toward me, “What would you tell you as a 10- or 12-year-old?” I laughed then grimaced, “I don’t want to tell you what my first thought was.” He smiled, “Is it funny?” I hedged, “Uh, only in the eyes of the beholder.” He shrugged then grinned, “Go ahead, I’m immune to your sarcasm.” I said, “Well, I’d say, ‘A woman looking for a husband never had one.’ Or ‘Good men are like Martians…you’ll hear about them but you may never actually see one.’” Gar smirked because he knows I’m button-bustin’ proud of him and he also knows I know he’s the smartest person I’ve ever met. Batting my eyelashes, I said, “I wouldn’t say those things because we’ve had such a long and happy marriage.” Giving me a payback, he deadpanned, “Maybe just stick with the long part.”
Chortling, I said, “I could tell 10-year-old me about that day this summer when I came in the house just as there was an announcement on the radio and I asked you what it said?” He laughed, “Ya, I remember. It said, ‘It’s the 17th annual run with the horses.’” I laughed too, “Ya, but I thought it said it was the 17th annual fun with divorces. And wouldn’t that be more entertaining?”
Looking serious, I said, “I’d probably tell me to be smart about who I hung around and that not all educated people have common sense. And how one day my daughter will have friends over for Japanese pancakes and she’ll text, 'We have engineers in the kitchen,' and I say to them, 'I smell something getting too hot and the guy cooking said, ‘Ya, this pancake is kinda burning but the recipe says it needs to cook two more minutes before I flip it.’”
There are things I’d warn me about, such as, when things are hopeless and you feel nothing you do will make it worse, you’ll assume it’s always worth taking the risk to see if just possibly something you do will make it better, but with your personality, you’ll make it worse.
You’ll help numerous clients inflicted with dementia so you’ll have a motto, “I’d rather die too early than too late.” But then you’ll look both ways before crossing the street and your offspring will sadly point it out.
I’d say to use my God-given gift, but to realize they cause folks, especially my children, to be uncomfortable when I blurt compliments to strangers, pick lint off the back of the guy’s sweater in front of me in line and straighten pictures, towels or glasses in someone’s home or office. Not everyone will appreciate such qualities, but then some people are weird.
Take Mr. Stetson’s advice and buy a hat that fits because there’s no cool way to chase a hat.
Strive to add value everywhere you go because God did not give you a kind, compassionate, merciful heart. Maybe just start each morning by looking in the mirror and saying, “Don’t be a crappy person today.”
Know you’ll find the dumbest things hysterical, such as overhearing…
Doug: I don’t really like cats.
Bob: Maybe you just don’t know how to cook ‘em.
You’re gonna develop patience because you’re gonna marry a guy who doesn’t care that his blinker doesn’t automatically shut off, but you do. You care a great deal.
The last thing I’d tell my young self is, “During your lifetime you’ll meet people who go through hardship with patience, steer steadfastly through tough times, remain joy-filled when suffering trials, handle unkindness with grace, bear unfortunate events with endurance and face setbacks with a good attitude. You are not one of those people.”
Trena Eiden, [email protected]