A Letter to My 60-Year-Old Self

Everyone seems to want to write a letter to their younger selves. That's sort of lost on me since it wouldn't do any good. Or harm. My letter would be short. It would say, "Don't. Don't do it. Don't believe him. Don't try it." It would be the opposite of the Nike ad. It would say, "Just don't." I think it serves me better to write a letter to my 60-year-old self. That gives me 13 years to work toward something.

Dear 60-year-old self,

I hope you are well. As I sit here at 47, I think you have a great life ahead of you. Not one without sorrow or pain, but a great one nonetheless. Your kids should be out of the house by now. If not, please ask them to go. It's what's best for them. For your sake, I hope all of them get great scholarships for college. Please help them pay for college so that they don't have to start their grown up lives with student loan debt. Discourage all forms of debt, even if it's a way for them to live in Egypt for two years. They might think you are a bore, but they'll thank you for it later. Your kids are old enough to understand death now. Please prepare them for yours. Prepare yourself for death as well. I read enough obituaries to know this road is not endless.

Count your lucky stars that you made the right choice in a man. I can already see not everyone will end up with the one they are with now. Be grateful for each day that you can move and laugh and draw the coffee cup to your lips. Spend time with friends and take the time to look at pictures so that you remember how much fun your 30s and 40s were. The 60s will be good too. Be grateful for old friends because at this point I can see that good friends are more valuable than any car you drive, home you own, or 401K. Well, maybe not the 401K.

Please don't buy a magnifying mirror. It won't end well. That random hair or that wrinkle or that mark left from one bad night in Mexico doesn't change who you are. Please remember that all the marks, wrinkles and freckles are what differentiates you from everyone else. Please remember that you are a role model for your children. Their relationship to aging will largely be based on how you handle it. Don't blow it.

Don't hold grudges. It's not worth it. So far, you've changed your mind on most things and surprised no one more than yourself. Enjoy the next 20 years. Remember how you felt like you had the world in your hands when you were 47. Start thinking about who gets what; this ring, that necklace, that old photograph. These first 47 years sped by. I'm betting that time has not slowed. Make sure your kids know they were three of the four best things you ever did. Marrying their father was the fourth. You can't tell them enough. When you are dead, they will long to hear the mundane and the overly repeated and everything in between. Take my word on that.

That's enough for now. Please write back.