a bloggy friend of mine posed this question: what would you tell yourself 20 years ago? her answer was so poignantly, beautifully, brutally honest, she inspires me to do the same:
dear annie -
it's 1989 and this is the year you move to bethlehem, pennsylvania, following your husband like the dutiful wife you're trying so damn hard to be. he's going to manage to fuck this job up, as well as the one he gets afterwards, but don't worry, honey... sooner or later you're gonna wake up.
don't fight so hard when he wants to bring home the internet, okay? that's your ticket out - that, and the story that's going to come to you in oh... i don't know...six months or so after you move. you're going to feel the first inkling when you drive past that house right around the corner from the one you're going to live in. you're going to KNOW that something bad happened there, and when you find out the place really is called "the house of horrors", a strange little chill is going to go down your back. this hasn't been the first time you've "known" things, and it's not going to be the last, either.
so don't be so afraid. i know you're young and you've got 3 little kids - haha, there's a 4th coming - and you don't seem to be very good at anything terribly useful. you should've paid closer attention to how angry Jerkimo Jones got when you scored nearly twice what he did in the LSAT. but don't waste any time beating yourself up when you do figure out you should've paid closer attention, okay? just cut your losses, and move on.
and don't waste too much time bemoaning the fact you didn't go to law school. most people who you will meet who are lawyers are miserable. law school does something to people, something mean and nasty and not nice. you're not going to need that. life's going to beat you up plenty, but you're going to come out of it just fine. more than fine, really. that which doesn't kill you is going to temper you into something finer and stronger than steel... something more like mithril.
so when the valley of the shadow starts closing in, and you have to walk through places so dark and scary it seems it might be easier just to give up, hang in there. because i'm here - twenty years later - waiting for you, and the view from here is grand.