Letter From My 38 Year Old Self to My 21 Year Old Self

October 15, 2013

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Not only the reason I (and probably most of us) cannot take Keanu Reeves seriously in any film, but also a classic.

 

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

 

Go ahead, date yourself. Tell me that you remember when they had the brilliant idea of traveling back in time and telling their past selves secrets (where Dad's keys were, when to duck) so they could carry out their hijinks more effectively. That's right, I just said hijinks.

 

I feel like shaking my 21 year old self - I want to join Bill and Ted and have an excellent adventure of my own (and I'm desperate to say "eehhhkselleeent" while I'm at it) traveling back to visit and advise the seemingly overconfident, midwestern girl I once was. Here goes:

 

  • Rigidity is not doing you any favors - cut down the number of rules you live by - the ride will not only become more fun, it will be more fulfilling.

 

  • Embrace self-deprecating humor - it will serve you well. We both know that you are half a step away from white trash, but instead of pouring your energy into denying it and reinventing yourself so that no one will ever be able to tell, why not embrace it? Believe me, honey, as you grow older - more of your family will end up living in trailers - do yourself a favor and smile about it.

 

  • Voting republican - you sure about that one? You can differentiate yourself from your father and still have a conscience.

 

  • Bulimia - Congratulations on beating it. Don't think you're out of the woods, though. You will battle body image issues all your life. Get used to it as par for the course.

 

  • I know you've sworn you'll never: live in Israel, marry a man without a college education, have more than 2 kids, sacrifice your career for your family, teach, befriend leftists, run when no one is chasing you. Stop swearing, you'll just feel foolish later.

 

  • You will call New York City home someday. Don't worry. You will love it just as much as you expect to.

 

  • The professional diplomacy you are currently mastering is an important skill. Warning: don't let it seep into your personal life. The temptation to sugar coat everything (since you do it so well) will only screw you in the end. Rededicate yourself to seeing it like it is and telling it like it is. You will alienate some along the way. And that's OK.

 

  • You will learn to cook, and you will love it. This does not make you domestic, weak or trite. It's simply the way you express yourself creatively.

 

  • Try upping the tolerance factor for those with whom you work. It's sometimes tough for them to take direction from you, even though (or perhaps because) you're wearing a $300 suit. You will discover this around age 35 when you are temporarily reporting to someone who is 10 years your junior. You'll understand, then, how it feels.

 

  • You will not be: the perfect wife, the perfect boss, the perfect mother, the perfect friend, the perfect hostess, the perfect employee. Stop trying - perfection is an unworthy goal. Those who are supposed to join you long term on your journey will respect and even appreciation your decided lack of perfection.

 

  • Having your first child will knock you flat on your ass. You will feel as if you made a mistake, and the shame of it will inflict debilitating guilt. It's called postpartum depression, and you are not the only one to go through it. Seek help, immediately. You will climb out of it.

 

  • You are 21, but you look like you're 16. I know, it's annoying. Believe me, you will appreciate this when you're closing in on 40 and still have the ability to look like you're in your 20's from time to time.

 

  • That boy you're dating? I know he's adorable, but he's not Jewish. Yes, it matters.

 

  • You have a lot to learn - it will be a wild ride; try to go with it. At 38, you will feel as if you know less than you do now. When we reach 50, I'll write another letter.

 

 

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