Letter to My Younger Self


I participated in one of those development opportunities at work this week which good companies make available, but which take great leaders to make impactful. It was held at the end of a long day, in the middle of a long week and an even longer year. I was tired and knew that I’d be taking work home to attend. But I appreciate these two leaders who invest their time in us, and so I went. The content was interesting, but the last 15 minutes hit me hard. They asked us to write a letter to our younger selves. Here’s what I wrote, unedited and written in a stream of consciousness so powerful it shocked me.

Dear Kelly,

Never, never, never forget it’s the people. None of the other stuff you accomplish will ever matter squat unless you do it taking care of those around you. It’s not a competition:  it’s a marathon called life, and you only get one race. Run one you’re proud of. You are a neat person–don’t let anyone make you forget that, no matter how they treat you, or carrying whatever baggage they’ve got. That’s about them, it’s not about you. Don’t let their issues and behavior become yours. Stay true to yourself and what matters to you, and it will all work out as it should. Have a blast!


I’ve recently written that I’m at one of those internal turning points we come to infrequently, which force us to choose what to keep and what to discard, what to run toward and what to walk away from. I’ve been struggling with what I’m willing to adjust for this new season in my life, and what I want to cling to. Writing this letter reminded me, in a few short but powerful minutes, of what I can’t afford to forget as I find my new path. I am strong and sure-footed. The future is bright. I will find my way.

“Keep your face to the sunshine, and you cannot see a shadow.”  –Helen Keller


About Kelly J. McCleary

Wife and mother of three, author, financial professional View all posts by Kelly J. McCleary

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