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LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF

I noticed there was a similar title to a blog last week, but I guess good ideas come in waves. The Huffington Post had asked me to write for them, and I gave them this idea before I saw it elsewhere on Red Room (in a couple places that I now look.)

I happened to be inspired when I came across a picture of myself in college, and I was stunned how much I used to look as my son, Zach, does now, who's also in college. He's 24, and I was 21 in the photo.2011-11-02-Chrisin1974.jpg

I'm looking in from the '70s. I was painfully thin, had long, thick hair as Zach does now, and I had that same, hesitant smile that Zach owns. I also had thicker lips, like his. Mine are thin now. Where did my lips go? It made me realize how different I am from then. I wanted to write a letter to my younger self -- or is it to my son now? It works either way.

Hey,

You're in college, and it's both an exciting and anxious time. As I look at you staring into the future, I see your hesitation. Yet there's also a sureness that sparkles. That's your gold. I can tell you a few other things.

One is that romantic love will happen. There's a sense of aloneness you have, and that's because your most recent girlfriend, the one who seemed to be "the one" -- as clear as the poster on your high school wall -- is gone. There will be more loves, a couple of them "the one." Each deep love will seem as clear as Venus on a summer's night, and when one love goes, it's a black hole where even light can't escape.

I remember imagining myself sitting at a table as old and alone as the guy at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, staring blankly into the room. The sound of my fork on the plate was as loud as Sisyphus's boulder rolling. And then I met someone new. You'll meet someone new. The boulder is a mere pebble you throw out of your shoe.

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