A New Year’s Letter to My Decade-Younger Self

Dear Self,

You think it’s pretty crazy that it’s already two-thousand-and-seven, don’t you? You wish you could have accomplished more in this last year, but you’re sitting down with pen and paper, eager to write out a full list of all the amazing things you want to accomplish in the new year.

After an hour of journaling right before bed, your hand writing at awkward angles as you use your pillow for a desk, you come up with something like this.

New Year’s Resolutions 2007

  • Run/swim three times a week
  • Read more
  • Watch classic films
  • Cook and bake
  • Host dinners
  • Organize
  • Eat healthy
  • Volunteer
  • Go dancing
  • Sew
  • Make jewelry
  • Attend film festivals
  • Practice French
  • Read Bible every day
  • Get better grades
  • Invest in family
  • Grow relationships with friends
  • Learn guitar
  • Find better job
  • Save money
  • Scrapbook
  • Bike and rollerblade
  • Go camping
  • Travel

Taking a sigh of relief, you lay your head down on your pillow and drift off to sleep before waking up to the first day of January, 2007.

If only I could turn back the clock and tell you: That hour you spent on writing out your resolutions? All a waste. Or at least, an inappropriate use of your time.

I – your thirty year old self – want to ask you. No, I plead with you:

Where is health on that list? What are your priorities? You talk about exercise and eating “healthy.” Is that all you think health is about?

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What about the funky things going on in your body? The hormonal imbalances and random pains? Do they mean nothing to you? Have you accepted the misconception that this is your normal, and there’s nothing you can do about it?

Do you think the one doctor-visit-every-few-months-thing is working out? Each one you see acts like they know you better than you know yourself. But maybe they do. Do you know yourself?

Just think, for one moment, that maybe your aches and pains aren’t normal. Maybe you are too young to have joint pain. But I don’t know, just maybe.

Maybe, just maybe, your abdominal pain is caused by a disturbance in your gut, from a disease you don’t even know you have. I could be wrong – but what if I wasn’t?

Then, there’s your mind. You struggle to understand people when they’re talking to you, let alone, comprehend your coursework. Do you really think that’s because you’re unintelligent? If so, that is so sad.

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Who or what has led you to be so inconsiderate? To see one doctor who doesn’t have answers, only to see another one who is no different – and accept that? To have your logic discarded, and your personal experiences denied – by someone who spends all but five minutes with you inside a stale office room?

“But they have a badge with ‘Dr.’ on it,” you say? What if I told you not to listen to them? What if I told you they were wrong?

What if I told you to question everything you do, eat, think, and say? It’s great that you quit wheat and peanut butter occasionally, but there are way more food allergies that exist beyond these.

Dear Sweet Self – you don’t even know what food sensitives are, do you? And who can blame you?

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Remember the gastroenterologist you went to see, expecting to receive loads of help? After waiting months to get in to that appointment, you found out that your severe abdominal cramps were, apparently, merely due to a lack of fiber. He told you to eat fibrous wheat-filled cereals. And so you did. You bought and consumed cereal after cereal, while your intestinal tract secretly suffered. But of course you didn’t know that.

If only you could know back then, what you know now. And not just about food, but so much more than that. For instance, did you know that vaccines can be harmful to your health? If someone told you this at your age, would you have listened? Would you do your own research, or would you just listen to what your doctor told you? You received several immunizations this last year, and ironically, your weird symptoms grew worse after the fact.

But of course, you never questioned anything. The nurse said you were due for a shot, so you rolled up your sleeve without a care in the world.

In fact, you thought all of your pains and foggy headedness was your fault. You believed the specialists when they told you it was all “just from stress.” You figured you were fine, and so told yourself you were – increasing your college credits and keeping a full social schedule to boot, along the way toward a better, happier you.

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Except you’re not bound for happiness. (I can say this, because I am you.) I don’t know what normal means to you now, but the last time I checked, pain is the body’s way to communicate that something isn’t right inside. Your body is going to complain quietly over these next few years, but there will come a day when the whispers turn into full-blown screams. Be ready for that day.

I wish that loud day came sooner, but brace yourself; you’ll have to hang on for a long, confusing ride. Oh, how I wish it wasn’t so.

I wish your mind was already awakened to accept ideas beyond Western medicine and science being absolute. I wish you had learned to understand your body’s language before the worst damages occurred. If only you would take matters into your own hands before bowing to the status quo of this country’s health industry.

A little insight into your future? Here is what your New Year’s Wish List may look like in about ten years.

New Year’s Wish List 2017

  • Wake up every day
  • Feed Gunther
  • Feed myself
  • Heat up dinner for the whole family every now and then
  • Breathe
  • Schedule appointments
  • Go to scheduled appointments
  • Keep Gunther alive
  • Eat clean
  • Detox
  • Take supplements. And tinctures. And oils.
  • Visit with friends as able
  • Eliminate stress
  • Rest
  • Go to bed early

“Who’s Gunther, and why does my list look so boring,” you ask? I’ll give you two clues: Chronic illness. Ticks.

You’ll read and learn all about these things in due time. For now… enjoy baking with that gluten, and swimming in your local chlorine-infested pool.

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