Friday, November 14, 2008

What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

What would you tell your younger self? That question was asked and answered by Gwen Carpenter Roland, author of Atchafalaya Houseboat, in a PBS special documenting her experiences living in the Louisiana Swamp with companion, Calvin Voisin.

I tuned in out of curiosity since Book Three of my Cynthia’s Attic series, Curse of the Bayou, was partially set in the Louisiana Swamp. But, thoughts turned quickly to the fact that she was asking a very important question to the “over-fifty” set. Not only was I completely hooked by her gentle, descriptive voice, I was transported through photos taken by C. C. Lockwood’s tranquil National Geographic pictures. I swear, my blood pressure dropped 30 points.

But, back to my point. Ms. Roland’s question. What would she tell her younger self? One thing was to stop thinking she’s fat. Which is quite funny because the young Gwen and the older Gwen are beautiful, inside and out. She’d also tell her younger self to stop worrying about what other people think. Oh, could I have used that advice as a teenager! And, as a forty-year-old!

That’s a pretty universal feeling with women over fifty, isn’t it? What I’d tell my younger self is to stop worrying about not being the most popular (or prettiest) girl in school. I’d tell my younger self that, no matter how I try, I’ll never please my mother. Don’t take it to heart. She’s doing the best she can. I’d also tell my younger self to be myself. I was, and still am, a pretty darned good person, but it’s only been in the last 10 years that I’ve realized I can’t be something I’m not.

As one WOOFer said at a recent Book Festival, “Being 50 is very freeing.” Can’t argue with that.

So, what would you tell your younger self?

Gwen Roland’s book, Atchafalaya House: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp, available on Amazon, or from your favorite bookstore.

Mary Cunningham
Mary Cunningham Books
Cynthia’s Attic Blog
WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty
WOOFers Club Blog


  1. Thanks for hosting us Stiletto Gang!

  2. You're very welcome.

    As far as what I'd tell my younger self - "Don't be afraid to take risks."


  3. I don't know that I'd tell my younger self anything. I wasn't a good listener back then.

  4. You are so right, Marc! I thought I knew everything! Had all the answers! It only took me 50+ years to figure out that I didn't have to know everything.

  5. What? You told me you had all the answers, Mary. I've been counting on you all these years as my best friend. What a shock. I better sit down...

    Diana "d.d.dawg"

  6. What would I tell my younger self?
    in 30 years I can imagine the message to be just the opposite. ;-).