Here I sit in a Canadian Starbucks, writing on a Wednesday. My publisher is expecting a manuscript; my brain is feeling 165 years old. I keep wondering what our teenagers are doing in Sydney (cooking delicious meals -- apparently they can do that without me??).
At the same time, I feel like I stepped sideways and fell into my own past: siblings and cousins and sleeping in my Mum's guest room, a hot Saskatchewan summer, orange popsicles, prairie sunsets, homemade butter tarts.
I read this months ago and it made me laugh:
My family is awesome: big, noisy, opinionated, loving. Warm. Hilarious. Bubbly. There is always someone to laugh with or love, disapprove of, discuss, help. We circle wagons and chip in, we get angry over petty things and hold grudges that go on way too long. We love fiercely and deeply. We help each other.
We believe, fundamentally, that life is good.
We're a regular family, in other words. Probably a lot like yours. But every time I turn a corner here in the Saskatchewan prairies of my childhood, I confront my younger self. Has that ever happened to you?
If I could tell Young Me one thing, it would be this. (Actually, I'd tell her to go put on sunscreen...and then I'd tell her this.)
Everyone is a Russian doll, a matryoshka.
Weird, right? But we are. We hold every version of ourselves that we've ever been, and the trick is to let ourselves -- and other people -- grow.
Try, fail, change, grow.
Forgive, love, keep going, expand.
We don't have to peel back layers to get to some true 'unchanging' self. We add layers on.
We become new (and hopefully wiser) versions of ourselves as we age.
If we can let go of old stories, if we can stop holding people hostage to versions of themselves that they used to be, then we can all be free.
I'm so curious to know if you agree. What would you tell your younger self?
Love Catherine xx
- Are you a beginner-writer? Do you want to Write Your Book This Year? I'd love to help you start in August. Learn more.
- We've finished final editorial on JACARANDA SNOW, my debut picture book with award-winning illustrator (& friend), Helene Magisson. More info next week!
- On a deeply personal note, it was hard losing a brother. Thank you for all your emails, texts, Instagram messages. I appreciate you and your thoughtfulness.
- Have you seen the big skies in Saskatchewan, Canada? My sister took this beautiful photo on her farm.