A Letter from My 80-Year-Old Self

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I wrote about this exercise last week, and have been thinking about it a lot. What WOULD my 80-year-old self say to my 38-year-old self?

Dear Young Alison.

You asked for my advice, well here you go!

Sleep more.
Walk more, you’ll need that endurance and strength to get to this age.
Spend less time with that iPhone and actually live life.
You don’t need so many clothes.


Come on Alison, those clothes don’t go with you when you die. Do you really need three pairs of black pumps? Sure, one is patent, one is a high heel and one is a lower one but your quality of life isn’t determined by how full of a closet you may possess. Your husband will still find you sexy (he still does at age 80!), your daughter will still admire you, you’ll still succeed at your job, and even succeed as a blogger.

All those years of blogging you preached quality, not quantity yet you take that money you make off that advice and buy things you don’t really need. I know, I remember the blogosphere being a very competitive place and I remember that at that point most blogging income came from affiliate links. You can’t really get an affiliate link for something that isn’t currently in stores. I know, I get it. But trust me Young Alison, there will be other opportunities for revenue that don’t require a busting wardrobe or going against your beliefs.

You don’t need so many clothes.

Clothes don’t equal style, and clothes surely don’t equal self confidence.

Now go take a walk around the block, drink a tall glass of water, turn off that iPhone and go to sleep before 10pm.  That will do far more for you, your confidence and style than any pair of pumps.

Your 80-Year-Old Self

Now I ask you, what do you think your 80-year-old self would tell the current you?


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  1. I need to do this and pretty much write the same thing!!! oh, and tell me to take good care of my skin and myself so I can stay young. 🙂

  2. My 80 year old self would tell me to be loyal. To take care of my teeth and gums. To be grateful that I have a job I love, but not to expect everyone to love their job; and similarly, to be grateful that I am healthy, but not to expect everyone to be healthy. Not to waste money I could give to those who need it. To remember that anger is a good servant but a bad master. To try to see the human being in every human being. To remember that I don’t have to be the valedictorian of everything; moving toward my goals slowly and gracefully is as good as getting there first all the time. To expect to enjoy life: our expectations shape our experiences. Not to shout when I could use kindness; not to be cowardly when something important is at stake.

    At least, that’s what I hope she would say.

  3. What Angela said 🙂 Except for eating less, since I’m genetically predisposed to scrawniness. And spend less time on Pinterest.

  4. I’ll repeat what I said about this last week. I would talk to myself about an issue I’ve always struggled with. That is, fretting about everything too much, have terrible attacks of “What if?”, being stuck in my head. Appreciate who and what is immediate, right now. Don’t again miss out on all the interesting and beautiful of the here and now because of worrying about that report that is due, or that I look awful today. A favorite quote, attributed to Mark Twain, “I’ve had a lot of trouble in my life—most of which never happened.” Wow, is that me.

    I am currently on a partly work/ partly vacation visit to Seattle. It’s a wonderful city with so much that interests and pleases me. I am doing quite well at just enjoying and appreciating my stay. I am very grateful that I have a job that allows me to travel a little.


  5. Mine would say nobody is looking at you, your current style is fine. Don’t think so hard about it. Worry less
    move more,
    eat less,
    travel more,
    enjoy your kids at this age, they grow fast
    Nothing is as important as your health, look after it
    Declutter your life with things or people that don’t make you happy

  6. This was so great, Allie. Particularly after the struggles I’m feeling right now – I don’t want to look back and realize how good I might have it right now 🙂 It’s a great reminder for us to always have perspective and do now what we may not be able to do later.


  7. I think that 80-year-old me would tell me that I don’t need so much STUFF, period, not just clothes. And that I should get off the internet and actually go do stuff. Like outdoors and everything. And that I should worry less about what other people think and do what I want. And just worry less in general because 90% of the shit that I worry about is never going to happen.

  8. 80 year old Me will tell Me to always make the healthy choice, that I don’t need so much stuff – keep decluttering and simplifying, and to not worry so much, things always work out.

  9. I loved that.

    My 80 year old self would tell me that good health doesn’t last forever so get out there and be active while you still can.

    Also she would say that I certainly don’t need that many clothes either. There are so many things in life that are more important that clothes, so get over the obsession.

    Spend more quality time with family and friends, they won’t be around forever. And call your Mother…which is what I’m going to do right now : )

    Thanks for the reminder 80 year old self.


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