Dear Young Me (Margie Gelbwasser)

Hey there,

This is the 37 year old you. Yeah, I know. That seems so far away, right? Let it be. Don't think so far ahead about what you want. Stop making wish lists that start with "If only X happened, then I'll be happy." There is no magic X. If you keep chasing that X, you'll miss all those wonderful things that are happening in the here and now. That's a problem you and I both have--missing the here and now. Searching for that magic.... Maybe I need an 80 year old me to write a letter....

Anyway, here's the good stuff. The writer dream? It happens. You get published. Your books (that's right, there's more than one) appear in actual book stores. People not only read them, but write you e-mails about how those books changed their lives. You give talks and people actually come to listen to you speak. Sometimes you feel like a celebrity. That's the good, Margie. Remember how awesome it feels to read this paragraph. I know the young you is probably flipping out right now. Stay that way. That stuff is good.

The problem is you let the other stuff get you down too much. You start to doubt yourself. You act like those books are nothing. Because it takes a while to get others out. You and your agent part ways. Amicably, but it sucks anyway. You write something new and try to find a new agent, but it hasn't happened yet. I'm sure it will, but it gets you down anyway. You also forget about all those people who said your books changed their lives and you focus on the ones who say mean stuff. The ones who say books about real teens and real issues don't belong in the real world and how there's something wrong with you for writing them. Teen me, are you shaking your head at this craziness? Remember that indignation.

I know you want to know about the rest. The boy, right? After kissing MANY, you meet the one. He's a good man. He loves you and believes in you and lets you follow your dreams. (You don't ever get a Delorian that travels through time, though. Sorry). The two of you have a son who's the most amazing present you'll ever know. You want to be a better person for him. He drives you. It's because of him you don't give up. It's because of him you learn that you have value. You want him to have a mom who stands up for herself, who follows her dreams, who doesn't let people step on her. It's because of him, you finally cut loose the people in your life who treat you poorly. I wish you had learned this sooner, but better late than never, right?

You are pretty awesome, but don't wait until you're 37 to believe it. Take care of yourself now so you don't have regrets about that later. You know those silly shows where characters stand in front of a mirror and give themselves pep talks? This makes you laugh, but you should do it. Close the door so no one sees you and say it until you believe it.

Don't give up. Enjoy being young. Don't worry so much about everything. Don't care so much about what other people think. I know you hate journaling, but keep one just to jot ideas or you might forget the best ones. Shocker: you will become very close with your mom. There will come a time when you guys won't yell at each other and will enjoy spending time together. You'll even call her to make plans. Just. Because. I know!

Other stuff you may be wondering about, but it's a spoiler alert so be prepared.

90210: Kelly ends up with Dylan. Sort of. We assume. Although then they do a revival and she plays a guidance counselor and no one knows where Dylan is. And Donna marries David but in the revival they're getting divorced. Bummer.

Dawson's Creek: Joey ends up with Pacey. What a relief, right? She and Dawson sooo did not belong together.

Melrose Place: You lose track. People blow up.

Friends: Best. Show. Ever. Ross ends up with Rachel. Chandler with Monica. Joey with some blonde girl on a spin-off that doesn't last. But they all come back with other shows and those shows do well. And even if you don't watch them all, you route for those guys.

There could be more, but you're probably falling asleep. Follow your dreams. Appreciate your life and your family. Stop always looking for the next best thing. That's what you should take away from this letter.



  1. Oh, man. I'm the same age you are, Margie, and I'm making so many of the same realizations. What is it about 37?

  2. Maybe it's close too close to 40 :-p


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