I'm a mentally ill person raising another mentally ill person. With chickens.

I’m telling you now

So before I continue giving my younger self advice (there really is a lot to say) I just want to say how happy I am with last nights election results.  Maybe we will start to actually look the first world country we’re supposed to be over the next four years.  I doubt it, but today anyway I’m hopeful.  (I can still get more affordable health and dental in Central America, but at least now I feel like we’re moving in the right direction.)

Younger Julie:

You will look for family everywhere, attaching to people like one of those sucker fish on a whale.  I don’t know why, but I suspect it’s an abandonment issue.   Figure it out or you will make choices that you will later regret.

Do not rush into marriage or parenthood.  They are both so much harder than you think they are going to be.  And while marriage can be undone, divorce isn’t the pain of ripping off a band-aid, it’s the pain of losing a limb.  And it doesn’t begin to compare with the pain that children can bring.  Not that children are bad.  They are a gift that I don’t have words to describe.  But loving them is a fierce and powerful thing; it is not the stuff of bunnies and teddy bears that you think it will be.  And that child-birth video from Mr. Baake’s class?  Remember how awful you thought it was?  The real thing is worse.

I know it seems like I have had nothing nice to say about relationships.  I’m trying to find something encouraging and I can’t.  So let that be a warning in itself.  If you spend your high school and college years settling for boys who don’t deserve you, you will be a bitter 40-year-old who thinks relationships are merely a necessary evil and that sex is a tool to get something you want.  You will be complacent and comfortable, but you will not be happy.

Do not settle for someone who doesn’t attract you: you are worthy.  Do not settle for someone who belittles your interests:   you are fascinating.  Do not settle for someone who wants to rescue you: you are a warrior.  Do not settle for someone who makes you feel guilty: you are blameless.  Do not settle for someone who tells you you need to be more.  You are perfect.

Love,

40-year-old you

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