Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What I would tell my twenty-something year old self

Today is my *gasp* 45th birthday and I thought it would be fun to write to my twenty year old self.  I cannot emphasize enough to all you twenty-somethings how very fast two decades can pass, right before your eyes.

Dear twenty-something year old Sherrie,

Travel as much as you can to exotic locals because someday you will have three moneysuckers beautiful boys and FL and TN will be as exotic as you get.

Enjoy all the dating you do in your 20s.  And that guy you thought you wanted to marry, would have been so WRONG for you.  The one you do end up marrying is so RIGHT for you.

Spend your 20s dating lots of guys.  When you meet the right one you will know it, even if he is not your dark haired "type".

The 20s are not the best years of your life, they are the best years of your youth.  Honestly the 40s are where you finally settle in and start relaxing again, after the kids grow up a bit.

Remember all those times you watched your three brothers in all their sports endeavors growing up?  Your life will come full circle and you will have three boys of your own and spend WAY more time watching sporting events than you ever did growing up.

You are never going to have that girl you hope for, but you are going to have the three most amazing boys you could ever dream of, and you would not trade any of them, for all the white Pottery Barn Furniture and pink baby clothes in the world.

Do you need me to pass you some smelling salts now that you know you are having three boys?

Your parents will end up being the most amazing grandparents.  You probably already knew that.

Your first year of teaching was so amazing, and believe it or not, the girl who begged to be penpals with you so you can always keep in touch, will eventually become friends with you on this strange social network called Facebook.

Enjoy using your Apple II Gs computers and dot matrix printers.  You have absolutely no idea how technology will change and rock your world and change the way you teach.

Don't buy the trendy black laquer furniture for your first apartment.  It will haunt you for decades!  Get something more timeless.

Don't worry about the dust and mess of the chalkboard, twenty years from now you will have this amazing thing called a SMARTBoard that you can write on instead.

Your mix tapes and cassette recorder will be replaced with something called iTunes and your phone.

Your phone will eventually basically be a computer you carry with you at all times.

Flaunt your buff body while you've got it.  Someday kids will change all that, but they are totally worth the sacrifice.

Keep wearing your retainer long after the orthodontist tells you that you no longer need it.  Apparently 20 years ago orthodontist thought they were God and could permanently change the placement of your teeth.  Two decades later, they will start shifting back to where they were supposed to be and it will drive you crazy every day!

Don't withdraw $ from your investment account to start a Mary Kay business.  Enough said.

Don't worry so much about finding the right guy.  Someday your dreams will all come true, great career, awesome husband, gorgeous children, and a big beautiful home you built and decorated.

Remember that first day of interning in 6th grade when you had your very own class, were the only 6th grade teacher in the building and had to figure it all out on you own?  You decided to just start at the beginning  of the teacher's manual.  Enjoy the days of footloose and fancy free teaching without a gazillion goals and standards, you have no idea what it will be like 20 years from now.

Enjoy those years of your teaching career in your 20s.  You will never have so much fun teaching without feeling the stress of the demands of clueless politicians and a general public that vilifies teachers so.  Twenty years from now you will wonder what you have gotten yourself into with this career.  But every time a former student goes out of their way to say hello to you it will all be worth it.

Keep every goodbye letter and thank you note you ever receive.  Those are the true measures of your success and no one can ever take them away from you.

You will eventually teach 7th grade math and love it.  Don't be scared, I promise you were meant to do it.

The only dream of yours you are not going to realize is teaching abroad.  And when you made that comment about worrying about being stuck in that first school district you got a job in, who knew you would build a house in that same city so your children would eventually go to the school you teach.  Hey, don't worry, it's actually a great school district and you are blessed to have spent your entire teaching career there.

Enjoy every day.  There will be amazing moments you think you will never forget, but believe they will fade in time.  All the struggles and disappointments will mold you into the amazing woman who will someday be 45 years old.  I know you cannot imagine ever being that old.

45 year old Sherrie


  1. Hi Sherrie,

    I love this so much! I am a 41 year old math teaching mommy to three boys as well and love everything that you said! I taught high school for years before teaching 6th and 7th grade. It is as crazy as three boys, but I would never go back! I love it. I'm so glad I found your blog and the other amazing middle school math teachers that you are connected to!


  2. Wow! this was wonderful! So much to relate to being 40- something and having three boys (I just kept trying and had my girl after boy 4- crazy, I know)And I totally agree with black laquer furniture. What were we thinking? This post is priceles. I think you should submit it to a magazine or newspaper- for real!

  3. Sherrie!

    I loved this! It was very touching and happy birthday! :)

    Life In Middle School

  4. This was so sweet to read. Thanks for sharing! I hope that you had an amazing birthday!

    Third Grade in the First State

  5. This was too sweet! I loved it! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Love this!
    I'm getting ready to start my first year of teaching - 7th grade math. I'm only 25 and have one 4-month old baby boy!

    So this letter made me smile. it makes me want to write a letter to my 45 something with goals and such and see how things change.

    Will blogspot be around then? Will we write post by speaking into a microphone or through our brains' thoughts? Kidding!

    Thanks for this post and all that you put on here to help me get started in my first year!

    Have a great weekend and Happy Birthday!

  7. Thank you everyone for the kind comments! There are times I just cannot believe that I have been teaching for over 20 years.


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