Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Words of Wisdom

Everyone has a token list of what they would have told to their younger selves. Softer, simpler axioms. Little leaves of wisdom to be peeled away with a comforting caress.

Take time to notice the smaller things, inhale the fragrant petals of a rose, nuzzle a puppy in his scruff. Don’t judge yourself so harshly. Take a frothy, bubble bath. Hug mom. Hug yourself. Make pizza, not war. Love, love, love.

While those are all well and good, and they are, to be sure, I never could really get behind them with any heart. Because my younger self would have rewarded my older self bearing the secret of time travel and carefully crafted notes crammed with neat penmanship with a quick roll of eyes and a shuffle of my Doc Martens.

My younger self would have looked through pink bangs and rubbed the sleeve of her ratty Akira shirt and would have scoffed, “Who the hell do you think you are? You’re wearing pearls and heels for God’s sake. You’re a preppy joke. You don’t understand anything except what it means to be a cog, dude.”

That’s why I want a list of what my younger self could school my older self. The things I believed in then that I lost along the way (like Manic Panic, the mall, and boys with skateboards)…or things the me in freshman year of high school would shake into the silly me in the sophomore year of my life:

1. Lose the contemplative sigh when asked how your day was. Going to work and sitting on your hands all day while you daydream about advances, break for coffee and computer eyestrain relaxation exercises, then heading to class all night where you daydream about advances, then going home and posting your musings about life while you daydream of advances is really, really not so hard. At least not nearly as hard as it was to write bad poetry, skip crew practice and whine about being a semi-privileged kid from Connecticut because “nobody understands”.

2. Quit thinking you can drink hard on Thursday nights. You’re not the young, carefree K anymore, the one that could sneak out in a contraband Jeep, and then sleep through study hall undetected, head wedged into a binder that stank of clove cigarettes. Besides, the idea that Friday is actually a “fake day” at work is not quite true, and no matter how hard you try, no one is catching on.

3. Do not, under any circumstances, let anyone know that you kinda, sorta, just a little bit enjoy watching Antiques Roadshow. I don’t care that our parents are antique dealers, in fact that makes it 100 times worse. Put MTV back on, and put it on loud. While you’re at it, think about getting a platty grill and a thong that spells out in glitter, "Future MILF."

4. Ban the following phrases from your vocabulary: I really shouldn’t, can we status?, I’m just going to stay in and maybe run some errands, no I don’t need another drink, I have a boyfriend, maybe we should get some drapes, and how many calories do you think is in that? You never said one of these before, even if they were true, and now you’re getting pretty darn comfortable saying several of them. You know which ones.

Too bad swapping the side of advice doesn’t continue to promote that feel-good feeling of the old standby...


Another twentysomething said...

Oooh...I love what this post has made me think. I remember buying trade-friendly jeans, which eventually was traded in for "nice jeans I can afford." And wearing logo T-shirts that made provocative statements for a 15-year-old, like "Don't label me," and "Surf Naked."

Serena said...

Brilliant. How we all need to remember to hold on to some things from our youth!

Cheetarah1980 said...

I loved this post. Very interesting twist on a familiar concept. I never really thought of all the things I could learn from my 14 year old self. Maybe she wasn't as bad as I thought she was. Maybe she could help me deal with my life right now.

C-47 said...

My younger self would be psyched to learn that we (he and i) can in fact grow a moustache. Aside from that we (he and i) are still quite similiar, maybe a little less angry. I would tell him to not hit things so hard, we (he and i) can in fact get early on-set arthritis. oh and that while cool, he shouldnt start smoking.