Advice to my 10-year-old self

If memory serves me right, being 10 was pretty cool.

My birthday was at the end of fourth grade, so I was mostly 10 in fifth grade. School was still more fun than not, and it was a couple years before the great sorting of adolescence, where kids drifted into the Cool and Not Cool tribes that persisted through most of high school. (I was definitely in the latter group.)

Really, the biggest problem I can remember is that I thought my brother was a brat, always wanting me to play with him when I just wanted to be alone.

When I wasn’t in school, I was playing or reading at home. Visits to friends and family were frequent, and there was even the occasional trip to Florida to visit my grandparents, which for a kid from upstate New York who hated winters even then — even though it did mean sledding — was just about the greatest thing in the world.

The summer meant Little League, and I couldn’t wait to go to practices, much less games. (A couple years later, when my four-years-younger brother started Little League, I would go to his practices and games, I loved being at the park so much.)

Even though the picture above was probably not when I was 10 — I want to say maybe a year or two before — I was even kind of a cute kid.

Really, the biggest problem I can remember is that I thought my brother was a brat, always wanting me to play with him when I just wanted to be alone.

So when I saw this on Twitter, I didn’t really think of anything right away. Like I said, 10 was pretty cool.

If I were talking to my teenage self, I’d definitely tell him that it’s good that he had his group of friends, and the other kids would either come around, or not, and that would be fine.

If it was my college self through large sections of my 20s, I’d tell him that, yes, there would actually be a woman who would have him. Yes, I’d tell him that sounds preposterous, but it was true.

But I didn’t know what I’d tell my 10-year-old self … until I thought of a couple things.

That little brother of yours will stop being a brat — He’ll actually end up being a pretty cool dude, and someday he would give a best-man toast that was the best anyone had ever heard. And it was at your wedding, no less.

Don’t get so upset when you strike out — If I struck out in Little League, it was the end of the world. I’d tell 10-year-old me that it’s OK to be competitive, that it’s OK to care, but not to let competitiveness, frustration and perfectionism get carried away, because that will stay with you into your 40s.

”Put your glove on, go out in the field and get ‘em next time,” I’d tell that little 10-year-old. “There’s always a next time.”

7 thoughts on “Advice to my 10-year-old self

  1. I love this so much, and can really relate to most of it. Especially the Little League references.

    My favorite: “Don’t get so upset when you strike out — If I struck out in Little League, it was the end of the world. I’d tell 10-year-old me that it’s OK to be competitive, that it’s OK to care, but not to let competitiveness, frustration and perfectionism get carried away…”

    Me, to a tee. (get it?)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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