For some reason I was thinking about what I would say to myself if I could go back in time to when I graduated high school. Without destroying the space time continuum, of course.
Guess what? Your beliefs haven’t changed – they only got stronger when tested. And you have more of them. You are still Pro Choice. You are a still a fan of the underdog. You are still suspicious of organized religion.
You know all those things people said you would regret when you were older? Hasn’t happened yet. I think at 39 years old, you can stop worrying about what effect those tattoos will have on your life, and those other assorted things that people are sure will ruin you. Although you should start wearing more sunscreen.
When you wrote in your yearbook statement that you’d rather be working at McDonald’s and be happy than be a rich lawyer and be miserable, you were exactly right. You don’t make a lot of money but you like your job – that’s why you keep it and haven’t tried to move up in your field. You’ve seen your supervisor’s job. You don’t want it.
Sorry, but you didn’t go from ugly duckling to beautiful swan. You are still quirky, but you make it work. There are a lot of people who love you. Your sense of humor is outstanding and self-esteem is pretty high. Once you go to college, you’ll finally feel the relief of not being the weirdest person in the room. Most of the time. The other times, you won’t give a shit because you know you are magnificent.
When you have your wisdom teeth taken out sophomore year, you won’t die during the surgery. I know it’s your first time having general anesthesia, but you’ll wake up, I promise. It’s not worth all that worry. The next year when your appendix is about to burst, you’ll be happy to go under. Speaking of that appendix – you are the only one who knows what is really wrong so don’t believe all those dumb-asses (including the college doctor) who think it’s the stomach flu. Go home and see your pediatrician. And then get a grown-up doctor, for crying out loud, you’re almost 20 years old!
You won’t get the college degree you were expecting, and your part time job will lead you to a career that you didn’t even know existed. You’ll spend a lot of time explaining to others what you do.
The heartbreak of being dumped is painful, but you get over it. So over it. You’ll look at that person years later when they friend you on Facebook and feel nothing but amusement. You’ll enjoy seeing pictures of their kids.
The heartbreak of dumping who you thought was your soul-mate was a surprise you didn’t expect. It comes and goes. You’ll look at that person years later when they friend you on Facebook and feel an invisible fist punching you in the gut. You’ll look at pictures of their kids and wonder if those would have been yours.
Appreciate your sleep while you can. Later in life you’ll develop “sleep maintenance insomnia” and it sucks. You’ll also be diagnosed with various immune system problems and it will freak you out because the doctor who tells you is a jerk. It will cause you some problems but on the whole you are lucky to have things pretty mild so far.
Take more pictures of the Star Car, Doc, Grandma and Grandpa P. You’ll miss them when they’re gone. So much.
You’re probably not having kids and that’s probably for the best. But you will have an adorable niece and nephew and I bet they’ll do amazing things.
Your brother…has not been so successful in life so far. I desperately want to advise you on how to help him be happier and achieve greater things, but I’m not exactly sure yet what went wrong and where. Everyone has a different theory on this. My measure of success has always been happiness and I’m just hoping for the best.
You get married and for a long time will wonder what the hell you were thinking. Not because you don’t love your husband – you do – but he comes with a lot of baggage. (I’m sure he’d say that about us too.) Things start to work out eventually but it’s really hard for many years. There are things I could suggest to do differently but I honestly don’t know if they would make a difference. Things are better these days.
Other random spoilers: You’ll do a lot of travelling – don’t forget that “sortie” means EXIT in French or you’ll never get out of the Paris subway system. Buy a Nikon instead of that Canon Rebel. Do NOT ignore the call from the doctor about the abnormal pap. Don’t bother opening that Roth IRA because the economy tanks shortly after and takes your money with it. Tape record (with permission) more conversations from your messed up friends in college. Those conversations are just as hilarious @20 years later as you thought they’d be.
Remember that it doesn’t matter if people are laughing at you or with you. The important thing is that you make people laugh.