“Who wouldn’t want a love like that? I want that. Why can’t I have that?” – Anonymous

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This lovely letter was received from a reader who has requested to stay anonymous.

Dear younger me
I fear that love has not been kind to us over the years. You know that song by Amy Grant, “Baby baby”? Well, for us that fun music video is still the idealistic romance we’ve always looked at with a yearning heart. “I want that. Why can’t I have that”?

Instead for us, love has been challenging, complicated and in some ways limiting of our true self.
It hasn’t been that effortless soaring, where life becomes “And” – an expansive joy, instead of “Or” – a stable and warm but somehow lessening compromise.

In our twenties you still believe in the fairy tale very much, but unfortunately the soul mate you’re in love with is going to be so broken in themselves that you’ll have to leave, in self-defense. It will be one of the hardest things we ever do. The choice is between real love and utter self-destruction or this heartache of missing out. It’s a bugger of a thing.

Maybe the lesson is to embrace all the other beautiful types of love and friendships that will bloom in our life over the years.
Maybe the lesson is to never give up hope that it will somehow some day happen.
Maybe the lesson is to become a whole person ourselves, not needing someone else to complete us.
Maybe all of the above. Or none.

But still,

“Baby, baby
The stars are shining for you
And just like me I’m sure that they adore you.”

“And ever since the day you put my heart in motion
Baby I realize that there’s just no getting over you.”

Who wouldn’t want a love like that in their life? We still do.

Love,
your older, greyer self.

“Have the courage to go for your dreams” – Melissa

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Our latest letter to a younger self is from Melissa (43) in Johannesburg.

Dear 20 year old me,

Stop being so hard on yourself. The greatest obstacle to our success if your own timid mind, afraid of your own thoughts, afraid of what other people might think of us.

Have the courage to go for your dreams. Our parents will want us to study law, but you know deep down inside that we are supposed to pursue our art and music.

Do not let them force you to waste five years of your life in studying something that you will ultimately move away from. Go for it now. Believe in yourself. And don’t be bitter towards them – they only want the best for you, even if they don’t really get it.

You are talented and even though it will take a lot of hard work to get there, you can do it.

I miss being you and having so much energy and adventures ahead. Enjoy the journey, have fun along the way and be grateful every day.

xxx

All my love,

Melissa

Thank you for sharing your letter Melissa, that is very valuable advice for all of us, especially believing in ourselves and going after our own dreams. In our quest to make the people around us happy, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that it is not their life to live, but ours and that it is a precious, one-of-a-kind thing not to be wasted pursuing things that won’t make us happy. Much love, – Melanie

Pete Sampras: “Play hard and do it on your own terms” – letter to his 16-year old self

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Tennis player Pete Sampras wrote a letter to his 16 year old self, as published on and reblogged from www.theplayerstribune.com

Dear 16-year-old Pete,

You’re about to go pro, and you’re pretty excited. Deep in your heart you know you’re eventually going to succeed. But believe me, it’s coming a lot sooner than you think. You’ll have your early ups and downs, but in just a couple of years, you’re gonna fight your way into the Top 5 in the world rankings, and you’ll win the U.S. Open, beating the likes of Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Andre Agassi in the process. At 19, you’ll be the youngest player to ever win the U.S. Open.

That’s when everything will change.

You’ll be an up-and-coming American with no exposure one day; then, when you wake up the morning after winning the Open, you’ll be on talk show after talk show. All eyes will be on you, and the attention will take some getting used to — it won’t mesh well with your reserved personality.

There’s more to being a pro than just playing tennis. The more successful you are, the more people will want out of you. It won’t always be something you’ll want to do, and it won’t always be fun. The pressure will be as exhausting as anything you’ll ever do on the tennis court. But as a tennis champion, you have that responsibility. You play tennis because you love the game, not because you love the limelight, so get ready. Think about getting some media training. It’ll go a long way. Luckily, you’ll be out of the game before these things called Twitter and Facebook come around. Be thankful for that. One day you’ll understand what I mean.Oh, and put the newspaper down. Don’t read what people are saying about you. No good can come of it. And if you do hear or read something negative about yourself, don’t sweat it. Let your racket do the talking.

He talks a lot about his career and the need to appreciate people. He ends his letter by saying:

You’re 16 years old and your life is just beginning, but don’t get sucked into always looking ahead. It’s tough because after every tournament — even when you win — your focus immediately shifts to the next one. Take time to appreciate your major wins and share them with your family and friends. Take advantage of your youth and enjoy it. The journey truly is the reward.Play hard, do it on your own terms and stay true to yourself. Do that, and you can’t go wrong.

Sincerely,

Pete

It’s not only tennis stars that can benefit from looking back and connecting with their younger selves. What would you tell your younger self? Send your letter to letters@showinguptoday.com – share the wisdom and the hard-won experience with others, and send some love to your less wrinkled version…

I’d love to hear from you!
Melanie
(Author of the book Dive in – Unlocking happiness and miracles: a conversation with my 20-year old self, available on www.melaniebritz.com)

“I look back at you and I smile” – Victoria Beckham to her 18-year old self

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Victoria Beckham recently graced the cover of Vogue Magazine in the UK (October 2016 issue) and as part of the magazine article, she reveals a letter she wrote to her 18-year old self.

Victoria Beckham Vogue cover
Credit: Lachlan Bailey, Vogue.co.uk

The part of the letter that struck me the most is where she addresses her 18-year-old self sympathetically, revealing the insecurities that she faced as a teenager.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I know you are struggling right now. You are not the prettiest, or the thinnest, or the best at dancing at the Laine Theatre Arts college. You have never properly fitted in, although you are sharing your Surrey school digs with really nice girls. You have bad acne. You think the principal has put you at the back of the end-of-year show (in a humiliatingly bright purple Lycra leotard) because you are too plump to go at the front. (This may or may not be true.)”

I think many girls can relate to that feeling of not fitting in, of feeling too fat. Even a beautiful fashion icon like her. There is a lesson there, I think.

She mentions the first moment she meets David, her future husband and she further writes about fashion:

“You are going to have so much fun with your clothes – PVC catsuits; chokers that say absurd things; weird spiky blonde hair. It will never occur to you that you appear ridiculous. You will turn up at awards ceremonies resembling a drag queen. But I look back at you and smile. It will add interest to your life to go from one extreme to another. I love the fact that you will feel free to express yourself.”

“Fashion will take on added stature one day, but try not to be stifled by it. You will learn, as you mature, to swap heels for Stan Smith trainers, minidresses for crisp white shirts. And you will never be one of those people who just roll out of bed.”

I found this very interesting and indicative of that whole learning and growing process we all go through in life.

You can read the full Vogue write-up Here.

What do you think? What would you tell your younger version? Do you want to share some of that hard-earned wisdom and maybe self-acceptance with the world?

You can send a letter to letters@showinguptoday.com

 

 

 

Zunia Boucher-Meyers’s letter to her 18-year old self: “You are beautiful! You really are.”

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My wonderfully talented and artistic friend Zunia Boucher-Myers recently wrote a wonderful letter to her 18-year old self, after a friend that she studied photography with posted some photos on Facebook of her, when she was 18. She writes of this photograph:

zunia

If I tell you that I had a physical reaction to them, I am not kidding. Here was a familiar face staring back at me, and I realized how wrong I have been for all these years. Not only was the girl in the pictures thin (!) she was delicately beautiful.

Behind the images is a story of a girl that was sexually abused as a little girl, physically abused by a lesbian girlfriend*, and an insecure and vulnerable individual who hid her pain behind her sense of humor.

Looking at myself at 18 has made me walk through memory lane, looking at my past and reliving some of the most momentous experiences of my life up to now.

And what this has made me realize is that I have made it.

Perhaps not in the exact way that I thought I would, but damn near enough.

I wanted to be a poet, an artist and a baker.

I have done all of these things to a more or lesser degree. I have had my poetry published, as too articles in magazines, exhibited and sold my art as well as my photography and I co own a restaurant where I bake almost daily.

My concept of fame may be completely different to that which I had initially aspired to all those years ago but that which I have achieved is valid and real and meaningful to who I am now;

I have addressed groups of women, some as large as 400 at a time, I have coordinated the most powerfully transforming events and have been invited to speak publically at various charities and events.

Having been so desperate to be loved I had perhaps been too keen to step into relationships that may have not been ideal, however these made me learn so much about me.

So to my 18 year old self I would like to say:

  1. You are beautiful. You really are. Not conventionally in the chocolate box kind of way, but more in a porcelain doll or Greek Nymph kind of way.  And you are thin. Enjoy it.
  2. You do not need to change who you are in order to be loved. The right person WILL come along (this I promise) and will love you unconditionally just the way you are. They will also think you are drop dead gorgeous and seriously sexy. But I digress.
  3. Stop being afraid of what other people think of you. It is none of your business and spending time in pain or anxiety over this will just rob you of precious happy time and energy.
  4. Look after your physical as well as mental wellbeing. Dieting for 30 years is really a drag and living in a constant state of denial is enough to make anyone depressed. Especially you.
  5. Find things that make you happy, such as Tai Chi, meditation, dance, swimming and going to the gym. Music inspires you, so use it to make yourself move. You will love yourself and the world for it. Also you will meet wonderful people along the way.
  6. Be honest. (point 3 applies here as well) the more honest you are, the taller you will walk and the more authentic you will live.
  7. You will have more than one love of your life. Be open to stepping out of your comfort zone and truly living in the moment.
  8. As big as your dreams are right now, you will accomplish more. Your tenacity, courage and fearlessness in the face of adversity will create situations that will enhance your life, many times.
  9. Love your Mom and Dad. Yes, and forgive them for being human. They are your greatest allies even tho you may not believe that right now.
  10. You are highly creative and talented, but you need at least 8 hours sleep to be of any use to anybody!
  11. Stop feeling shame for being a sexual being. Sex can be so much more than you imagine. Let the past go and revel in the fact that you are desired, sexy and love sex. But be safe at the same time. Never have sex out of guilt and never use sex as a weapon.
  12. Not everything people do is about you or because of you. The fact that you are highly sensitive and highly emotional can at times cause you to behave badly and obsess to the point of madness.  The sooner you learn to take nothing personally, the happier you will be. This will be a very hard lesson to master. But you will. I hope.
  13. Live your life in the now. Be present. Life is really very, very good. You are so blessed, so lucky, so loved that when you look back you will be amazed at just how good it all was. And is.
  14. And finally, I am sorry. That I did not believe in you, trust in you or treat you as well as I should have. When I look back to this moment from the future I will know that this was a catalyst for change. That starting right now I will be enough; pretty enough, wise enough, educated enough, thin enough, healthy enough, strong enough.  Just enough. And I thank you. From the deepest part of me, for overcoming, for rising above and for not giving up. Ever.

You rock Sista, and I love you.

Me at 47.

x

Reblogged with kind permission from JUST NOT LIKE THE OTHERS. (I know – aren’t I lucky to have such awesome people in my life? – Melanie)

 

Liz Gilbert: I would have told myself to focus on me, instead of boys, but I wouldn’t have listened.

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Well-known author Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat.Pray.Love-fame said during a Supersoul-Sunday interview with Oprah that there is no advice she could give her younger self that she would have listened to.

“I was surrounded by all the grace and wisdom in the world, and I was just like: I got this,” she said.

If she, however, could give some advice that she would have followed, it would be to avoid romantic entanglements in her youth and to focus on herself, using the many hours to instead feed her mind.

Watch the full interview here:

http://www.supersoul.tv/supersoul-sunday/the-advice-elizabeth-gilbert-would-give-her-younger-self

I don’t know. On the one hand, I’ve always had this feeling that I know best for my life. This doesn’t mean that I don’t listen to other people’s advice, just that the locus of control and surety about the right path has always resided within me, for me.

It is one of the things in my life that is precious to me still.

But if I was convinced that it was really me, a future me, sharing the wisdom…

I think I might just have listened.

What do you think? Would you have listened to your own advice? And what would that advice be?

Share at letters@showinguptoday.com

Love

xoxo

Melanie

 

Serena Frank’s letter to her younger self: “Have more fun!”

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Yay, our first letter to a younger self, has arrived, all the way from Durban, South Africa.

Letter to my younger self…

Dear Serena
You should have had more fun when you were young, like going out with friends and socializing, rather than being confined to home and school and family occasions.

You could have made more informed career choices and traveled more before starting a family.
Become wiser in the world. Become freer and more mature to make life decisions rather than following the normal process of doing what is expected of an Indian female, born and raised in apartheid South Africa.
Learn well, choose a profession, study, get your degree, get married, have children and live for your family.

Pursue your passion and live your life with passion, rather than with rules and regulations that restrict and confine.
Your youth is a passport to develop and grow and become me, the true me, not doubtful of who I am.
Focussing on my skin breakouts and curvy nose hindered my socialization. I could have been a better speaker, a more assertive person, a confident young lady.
I think I have reached a belief in my inner self now, at 50 years old, when I could have done so earlier.

Dearest Serena,
I think we all tend to focus much too much on our appearance when we are young and we let this keep us back. For me personally, it was my weight and my teeth. The great thing though is that as we grow older we realize that the imperfections we cared about so much when we are younger are not that important and that we are amazing and special despite them, maybe (and this is a pretty radical thought:) even because of them.

You sound like an amazing person. Thank you for sharing a few of your life lessons and showing up.
I can resonate with the “fun” part of your letter and not just doing what is expected of us, soooo much!
At least we are starting to get it now that we’re older, hey?
I hope you’ll have a fun-filled, amazing weekend.
Lots of love,
Melanie

Oprah’s letter to her 20-year old self: Love yourself from your own heart

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Oprah wrote a letter to her 20-year old self, as published and re-blogged from here

Dear beautiful brown-skinned girl,

I look into your eyes and see the light and hope of myself.

In this photo you are just about to turn 20, posing outside the television station where you were recently hired as a reporter. You’re proud of yourself for getting the job, but uncertain you’ll be able to manage all your college classes before 1 and arrive at the station by 1:30 for a full day’s work. Even so, your biggest concern is how to manage your love life with Bubba. Yes, you are dating someone named Bubba.

On this day you’ve brought him to the station to see where you work, hoping he’ll be proud, too. He seems less than impressed. The truth is, he’s intimidated. You don’t know this, though, because you can see yourself only through his eyes. A lesson you will have to learn again and again: to see yourself with your own eyes, to love yourself from your own heart.

You’ve spent too many days and years trying to please others and be what they wanted you to be. You will have to learn that the wounds of your past—rape, molestation, whippings for “stepping out of place,” and not being allowed to show anger or cry afterward—damaged your self-esteem. Yet through it all, you’ve held on to a belief in God and God’s belief in you.

That will be your single greatest gift: knowing there is a power greater than yourself and trusting that Force to guide you.

The trajectory of your life changed the day you answered the call from Chris Clark, the news director at WLAC-TV. Your response was ignited by the words of your then-favorite Bible verse, Philippians 3:14. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Knowing there is a “high calling” is what will sustain and fulfill you.

From where I sit now, viewing your journey, there are few regrets. Only months before this picture was taken, you wrote a poem about a “woman becoming.” Even then you understood that success was a process and that moving with the flow of life and not against it would be your greatest achievement.

Love you deeply,

Oprah

I love the part about moving with the flow of life – which is what the chapter on Finding the Flow in my own “letters to my younger self” published as the book Dive in, is all about. To learn to “love yourself from your own heart”… That is what I think it is all about. Respect. – Melanie

To write your own letter to your younger self, to be published here, submit it to letters@showinguptoday.com

Richard Branson’s letter to his 25-year old self: Let your dreams guide your path

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Richard Branson recently wrote a letter to his 25-year old self, as published and re-blogged from here.

He explained in the blog that he wrote the letter because he was sent a #ChallengeRichard to write a letter to the 10, 25, 50, and 65 year old versions of himself. As each stage in life was so different, he decided to pen four separate letters. Here’s the second: His letter to 25 year-old him.

Dear Richard,

I’m writing to you from 40 years in the future. You’re now 65-years-old, and while you’ve lived a happy and healthy life with no regrets, I have some advice for you.

Congratulations on launching Virgin. I know you’re still trying to find your feet and work out the ins and outs of business, but stick with it. I can guarantee the best is yet to come. While I don’t want to spoil the mystery and fantasy of the unknown, I can tell you there will so many wonderfully rewarding moments and the most incredible people in your future. And, yes, many of your wildest dreams will come true. But there’s a clause: you will have to work hard to make them happen.

The road ahead is pock-marked with many bumps, chasms and forks. There will be times where you want to give up and throw everything in. Don’t. By turning challenges into opportunities, you will find success you never realised you were capable of achieving. But you won’t always succeed. In fact, you will fail time and time again. That’s ok though, because failure is an inevitable part of every personal and entrepreneurial journey. It’s important to pick yourself up, retrace your steps, look at what went wrong, and learn from your mistakes.

‘Entrepreneur’: now there’s a word that you might not be overly familiar with yet. But you will be. It’s a word that will become synonymous with your name and your approach to business. It’s also a word synonymous with risk. You took a risk when you left school to start Student magazine, and again when you moved from Student magazine to Virgin Records – and both paid off. Continue to take chances. In the future how ‘lucky’ you are in business will be determined by how willing you are to take calculated risks.

Let your dreams guide your path. Keep the people you love and respect close to you. Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibility. Don’t let the naysayers deter you. Screw business as usual and do things your own way. The Virgin brand will take you places other than music. Your ability to take calculated risks and your incurable optimism will lead to great heights – both in business and in life. Like one of your favourite author’s, Dr Seuss wrote, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Reach for the moon – it’s yours for the taking, if you go out there and grab for it with both hands.

Good luck
Richard

Pretty cool hmmm? I thought so too – Melanie
Write your own letter to your younger self to be published here by sending it to letters@showinguptoday.com

The letter that started it…

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A letter to my 20-year-old self, (as published at the beginning of my book Dive In)

My dearest, darling girl

I’m sitting here, writing this to you, on a gorgeous, autumn morning in the Cape.

Yes, that is where we live now, in the year of 2016. It is honestly the most beautiful place on earth, (except for a certain bridge across the majestic Olifantsriver, which we’ll discover in a few years…)

In this moment, you are in your second year of university in Johannesburg. The year is 1996. I can just see you there, through the mists of time, swinging your book bag carelessly, humming a tune under your breath as you walk along, on your way to class.

So innocent, and so unprepared for what is to come. My heart just wants to break with love and compassion and horror, because even though our life up to this point has been hard at times, it is about to change forever.

Until now, our main challenge has been that horrible feeling of not fitting in anywhere, being different, always feeling somehow less-than and of course being shit-scared of the deluge of emotions assaulting us every day.

You don’t yet know that we’re an empath – picking up the emotions of those around us – but the discovery will make such a lot of sense when we figure this out. I know you haven’t gotten a handle on this yet, and I’m sorry to say that it will be a good while still. For now, I have to tell you that our life is about to change. Everything is going to go to hell real soon, almost in the blink of an eye.

You are about to experience a major heartbreak in terms of a loss of a relationship that you care about. I’m so sorry, but it’s just not going to work out like in the fairytales.

At almost the same time a precious childhood friend (and anchor in our life) is going to be killed, suddenly and violently. This terrible tragedy is going to mark the moment we lose our faith in God (and life).

Besides the awful news I’ve told you about already, our world is about to be rocked next year when Dad is going to break apart our “happy family”. Or maybe it was just breaking apart the illusion of a happy family, you know? It doesn’t really matter either way since this last safe port in the hurricane is going to disappear with terrifying suddenness. Our parents are going to get divorced and Mom is not going to handle this well.  There is further major trauma coming there, but I’ll talk you through those unpleasant details a bit later. For now, just breathe, okay?

The sad truth that I need to prepare you for, firstly and foremostly, is that our whole world is about to implode and for the longest time we are just going to be existing, trying to make sense of the wreckage. I know this is hard to hear. It was even harder to live through.

We are going to spend the next decade and more trying to go at it alone, trapped in a pit of depression and joylessness that is going to be very hard to escape. I know you think we are clever in figuring stuff out, but it’s going to take us really, really long to find our way back to even some small measure of truth and grace.

By the time we manage to claw our way back into the sunshine, our belief system is going to be entirely different from what it is now. I must tell you; this is not really a bad thing. Some of the things you believe in currently were programmed into you by people with their own agenda, which is not always to your benefit.

Figuring all this out and fixing things is going to be scary and exciting, but for a long time, it is really just going to suck.

I am sorry to be the bearer of such sad tidings. Thinking back to how happy you are in this moment, I am sorrier than you can ever know.

If there is one thing though that I want you to take away with you, to hold tightly next to your heart in the dark, dark days to come – it is the belief, no, the sure knowledge, that things are going to be okay. We are going to be okay. No, really.

I know you cannot even wrap your head around the coming Apocalypse of heartbreak and earthquakes yet, so trying to imagine how this can be, in any way, shape or form, a good thing, is beyond you.

That is totally okay. For now, just trust me that it will enable us to expand our heart and our wisdom to levels you cannot even begin to imagine now. It is an emptying out and then blowing up of what is there so that there is room for something bigger and better – something deeper.

In the process of figuring all of this stuff out, we are going to become a whole new person. A lot of things will change. For instance, we’ll get a handle on our weight and our emotions and become a runner – I know you don’t believe me, but do – everything I tell you here is the Honest-to-God truth.

Yet, some things won’t change at all. That wonderful core of strength and determination that you have inside of you will stay exactly the same.

That precious wondering part of you, as you walk there with the sun shining on your carelessly made ponytail, is what is going to find the keys to the stark prison cell of despair where we’ll be spending the coming years.

You are going to doubt yourself, and it is going to be hard, but it is going to be worth it.

So go on, enjoy your Journalism class. I’m going to pour myself a nice glass of wine, while I tell you the amazing story of some of the things (good and bad) that is going to happen and what we’ll discover on our journey. These include:

Chapter 1: Knowing (Tapping into the universe’s wi-fi)

Chapter 2: Exploring contrast (Painting the world you want)

Chapter 3: Dreams (You’ve got e-mail)

Chapter 4: On being a Phoenix (Rebirth from the ashes)

Chapter 5: Dive in (Confronting the monsters in our mind)

Chapter 6: Fear (Going treasure hunting)

Chapter 7: Choose your own adventure (Here be Goblins)

Chapter 8: Meeting the Shadow as a friend (and chilling with him for a bit)

Chapter 9: Once upon a time… (The girl who thought she couldn’t run)

Chapter 10: Hacking into the subconscious mind (Programming 101)

Chapter 11: Meditation and hypnosis (Quieting the monkey mind)

Chapter 12: Finding the flow (Jumping into the river)

Chapter 13: The E-motion Repair and Demolition Academy (Hardhats needed in this area)

Chapter 14: Let’s get practical (The Sway test)

Chapter 15: The Matrix (There is no spoon…)

Chapter 16: Bugger Botox (Wear’em with pride)

Chapter 17: Releasing weight (Turning monsters into CO2)

Chapter 18: Forgiveness (Springcleaning for the soul)

Chapter 19: Ask for help (A new perspective on receiving)

Chapter 20: Our inner Bag lady (Progression)

Chapter 21: Enhanced visualisation (and the role of emotion)

Chapter 22: Chakras (The flow of energy in our body)

Chapter 23: Grounding (Earth energy)

Chapter 24: Nature therapy (Green magic)

Chapter 25: Time travelling (Adventures of the soul)

Chapter 26: Religion, fairies and unicorns (The elephant in the room)

Chapter 27: Cleaning the whiteboard (Ho’ponopono)

Chapter 28: The box (That doesn’t exist)

Chapter 29: Epilogue (The Gift).

I’ll be right here when you get back and I’ll be with you all of the way. I love you very much, gorgeous girl, so innocent and strong.

Now run, you’re going to be late…

Love,

your 40-year old version, aka Me.