Advice To The Author As A Young Woman

While perusing Facebook the other day, I saw a post from my editor, Rhonda Helms, saying that she has contributed to an anthology of letters by authors written to their teen selves.

That started me thinking. What would I tell my younger self if I could? What advice would I give? Of course, I’ve already written some posts on the subject, but it made me wonder. Then I thought, what if I could only tell young Betsy one thing? Β What if I could only impart one priceless pearl of wisdom?

After some consideration, I decided the one thing I would tell my young self would be “DON’T GO INTO DEBT!”

My first real job after high school was working as a clerk in the credit card department of a local bank. I was still 17 when I was hired. As soon as I turned 18, I got MasterCard and Visa credit cards, approved by special permission because I worked for the woman who approved such things. After that, the sky was the limit. I believe I had 10 store credit cards (the ones with the high interest rates) by the end of that year. I also got involved with Time-Life and Columbia House programs, among other things.

I took out my first debt consolidation loan at 19.

The amounts I owed were relatively small, but they set me on the path I’ve trodden for the past thirty years. As I worked through this exercise I was sure I would write, “Debt is a prison! Run away, young Betsy! Run!”

Then I thought about it some more.

I realized that the debt and the spending patterns I’ve struggled with, as well as all of my other mistakes and screw-ups, have contributed to make me who I am. All of the things I’ve done or didn’t do over the years have contributed to making me, well, me. If I’d chosen different paths for some of those things, wouldn’t the whole journey have been different? Sure, I could have avoided some pain. Maybe even a lot of pain. But there’s always pain.

I guess I’m trying to say that regrets are no good. I’ve made mistakes – some of them much worse than buying CDs I never listened to. But the mistakes I’ve made are not wasted if I’ve learned from them. And learning from my mistakes has made me who I am. And who I am is okay. A work in progress, but basically okay.

After doing all of this thinking, I came to the conclusion that my letter to my teen self would be very short. I would only say, “Don’t worry. It will work out. Just get out there and learn a few things.”

But I’m awfully glad I don’t have to start all over again. πŸ™‚



  1. I hear you! I to sometimes wonder if I had done things differently or if I had known then what I know now what would I do. Then like you I realize all my life experiences have made me who I am today. If I didn’t go through them I would not be the same person. Would I be better person than I am now or worse? Who knows but I’m pretty happy with the person I am now so no need to worry about.

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Doris Jennings: Of course you understand that this was written on one of my good days. LOL Some days I’d like to trade in the model, but I’ve (finally) gotten to the point where I’m pretty okay with the way things turned out most of the time. And what’s the point of worrying about it all anyway? πŸ˜€

      • @Betsy Horvath: I understand that! I think this not worrying about things comes with age LOL the older I get the less I figure it all matters LOL so no sense in worrying. That is not to say I have not had my moments of wishing I hadn’t done this or that. Thank goodness those moments come less and less with age πŸ™‚

        I do believe our life experience make us who we are and we would be different people with out them.

        • Betsy Horvath says

          @Doris Jennings: I absolutely agree. Every decision we make takes us down certain paths and that’s where we learn things and grow into the people we are. Now that I’m older, I can see it more clearly. But, God, I’m glad I’m not sixteen again. LOL

  2. Oh, there are SO many things I’d beat into my younger stubborn head. Your advice is definitely on the list, but I think mine would lead with “Don’t fret, just DO.” Oh yeah, and “don’t squander even a moment with your loved ones, because you’ll miss them more than you ever thought possible! ”

    And heck yes, I’m glad I’m not sixteen again (or even twenty-five….. )

    Thanks for another great thought-inspiring post! Have a great weekend!

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Lynda K: I felt very well adjusted writing this, but I have to say that if I REALLY had the opportunity to talk to myself, I’d probably have a lot of things to say. And some of them wouldn’t be very nice. HAHAHAHAHA!

  3. Uhh, is that a pixilscrambled version of giving someone the bird in your adorable pic? Another great blog! one thing I would tell myself…once you find the confidence…hold onto it and dont let the naysayers get in your way.

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Laryn: I think that I’m saying “Come on over here and say that to me, you mope!” LOL And YES on the confidence thing – of course that’s something I could start doing now…hmmm….

  4. I honestly think I would say to myself – hug people more, and let things go. Otherwise – yeah – I agree – I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t live the life I lived.

    And I think you are awesome!

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Ann: You hug people all the time. And you do let things go. And I think you’re pretty peachy keen yourself. πŸ˜€

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