Tuesday, May 12, 2015

If I Were 22 Challenge

"If I Were 22" is a new project started by the social media site, LinkedIn.  In this series of memoirs, articles, or blogs, people from all ages and all walks of life are looking back to when they were 22 and offering advice to their younger selves.

I challenged myself to complete this very difficult piece of self reflection, and what emerged was a poem.  I'd started with an outline for an exceptionally long essay, but in the end, continued to par down my ideas until they were the very few that I could honestly say wouldn't change my life.  Why wouldn't I change my life, correct my mistakes, and live an alternate reality?  Well, because I'm pretty happy, and I believe things happen for a reason.  So, I guess I cheated and didn't really give my younger self advice so much as I offered hints.

At any rate, I whittled it down to 80 words.  Can you?  Do you accept the challenge?

if i were 22 i'd
tell myself      that people
are really        tiny
and really
fragile             and

be nice

be frugal generous grateful

travel              but
make home home

solve problems                           be independent

listen            be still                    eat fruit and
ice cream

listen to Tom Waits
do yoga or go swimming            repeat

grieve without fearing loss

read Mina Loy and all Kurt Vonnegut's books in order

make mistakes

and change your mind                sometimes
because people are tiny and
and beautiful

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess.  Please contact the author for permission to republish.

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