Dear Connie Lynn,
It’s me. Your inner voice writing to you from fifty years into the future.
You may want to know that much to your relief your family will quit calling you Connie Lynn in favor of Connie. Oh, there will be the occasional family reunion where it will crop up, but just like at school, you will be known as Connie. You never will have a proper nickname, but there will be boys and men who call you baby, sweetheart, and lover.
But I’m not writing to spoil the future for you by revealing too much detail. I’m not going to give you any advice either – well not much. I will tell you that you will live to be at least 62 and when you look back at your life, you will mostly smile.
I will tell you to quit worrying so much about your body. At this age, you will look back and marvel at your insecurities. You will be astonished by old photographs that show a girl, a woman, who is attractive and poised and yet still a bit goofy. You will develop hips that sway when you walk. Eventually, there will be cleavage, but that phenomenon will surprise you and I don’t want to ruin it. Some will describe you as tall and striking. Your best friend in your 40s will tell you that while not conventionally beautiful, you are arresting.
Quit worrying about it. Luxuriate in your body’s suppleness and flexibility. Revel in your youth. Dance, dance, dance.
Your mind, however, will be your greatest asset. You’ve inherited your father’s intelligence and have your own innate curiosity that will never leave you. You will enjoy new and different all your life, while still savoring the known and comfortable.
There will be times of great sorrow, upheaval, and trials. Your spirit will be heavy, but you also inherited your mother’s optimism and know at the cellular level that this too shall pass.
“This too shall pass” will be your life’s slogan. You will learn, often the hard way, that nothing is permanent except this—your inner voice. Treat me well and pay attention. I will alert you to situations and people that are toxic to you. Listen to me. It will make all the difference.
I know. I said no advice.
I will always be with you. Your body will begin the unstoppable descent into frailty and disease. You will look back fondly on all the things you could do with it. Me, this inner voice, will mature until about the age of 25 when it stabilizes. For the rest of your life, you will feel 25 until you look in the mirror.
The brain stays supple and elastic far longer than the body, but it too starts to deteriorate. It might surprise you to know that you will develop an inability to remember things and small details. You will carry pen and paper everywhere to write things down. Your ability to just file it away in your head somewhere for instant recall ends.
You will say, “I used to have a good brain” and it will be true.
Your life will be rewarding and heartbreaking, enjoyable and miserable, steeped in pleasure, and fraught with pain. You will nonetheless look back on it fondly.
Love yourself, dear one. It’s going to be the ride of your lifetime. And at 62 you will smile and write this letter.