Everything that mattered to mini-you is now pretty irrelevant. So dust off your Delorean, set it to “My Angst-Ridden Years,” and go tell younger you to chill out about the following…
You once thought that guy/girl controlled the stars and the moon. Your outfits, jokes, and movie references revolved tightly around what you thought they’d like. You filled pages of diaries and hours of phone time with recounting their every move from the day. If I were a betting woman, I’d put a cool twoonie down, wagering that they’re now unhappily married with more kids than they can afford, and praying that the hot piece they ignored in junior high (you, sexy) would come take them away from it all. Unless, of course, you were obsessed with someone who became a famous actor or athlete – then you really fumbled that ball and should desperately try to reconnect via twitter.
Can you recall how you’d stare in the mirror for hours, criticizing every thing above and below your neck? (We all have incredibly irresistible necks) Now imagine if you had spent that time learning the harp or getting awesome at capoeira instead of hating yourself. Hating your body was a waste of time then, and it’s a waste of time now. Tell your younger self to enjoy her metabolism and ruddy, supple skin. Lie to her that having killer boobs isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She’ll eventually thank you when she is future you, professionally doing all the cool things she learned as a kid. She’ll have better friends and hotter dudes than anyone with perfect thighs. Tell her to stop looking in the mirror and go steal a harp from an angel so she can spend her life making sweet, sweet music.
Your stupid parents
You used to think your parents totally sucked. You know what actually sucked? You, sucking up all their cash, free time, and unconditional love. Only an adult (and especially a parent) can fully understand the sacrifices our parents made for us. Your parents were saints and heroes, who you shunned for trying to hug you in public. Go ask them for those hugs you refused, cut them a huge cheque for all the dumb crap you made them buy you, and remember all of this when your own kids call you a total (insert slang term the kids are using…(I wanna say.. nard wad?)) and roll their eyes at the embarrassment of even sharing airspace with you.
Wanting to drive
Hey commuters! Remember how badly you wanted to get your license and a set of wheels so you could have your freedom? Hey rush hour warriors! Remember how you thought everyone who could drive was so much cooler than you? How’s traffic? Want a Mulligan on that one? Thought so.
If your name is Beyonce, Usain Bolt, Jennifer Lawrence, Bono, or Chris Hadfield you can ignore this one. Everyone else, listen up. If you had a healthy and happy childhood your dream was probably a really juicy one. Good. That’s how childhood dreams should work. They’re supposed to be wildly grandiose pictures of health, wealth, and celebrity where you’re married to Jim Carrey and look like Christie Brinkley (or whatever yours happened to be). As of now, I have not become a bodacious 80s blonde or ever even met Jim Carrey, but I’ve accepted that. I have to accept it to be a healthy, happy, functioning adult. And achieving every whim you ever concocted is probably not the best thing for you anyway- it can often make for crappy adults. (cough… Justin Bieber… cough)
Your future car
There’s no shame in a Ford Focus. It’s a good car! Its gets us where we need to go, and it’s very good on gas. Let’s go tell our younger selves that if they want to drive a Lamborghini or one of those new-fangled Range Riders that all the rappers are driving, they’re gonna have to pull up their boot straps and get fancy, highfalutin jobs so they can pay for them cause we’re just fine with what we have, thank-you-so-much. What’s that younger self? Jenny’s dad has a convertible? Well, Jenny’s dad is a ponzi-scheme-runnin’ crook, I tell ya, and pretty soon the feds are gonna come take that car away and Jenny will be taking the bus to school which is what you’ll be doing if you don’t stop complaining about this fine, domestic vehicle!
Wanting to drink
We used to do this thing called “shoulder tapping” where we’d stand outside a liquor store and offer adult strangers ten bucks to go in and buy us some booze. We were after your typical teen salad of Peach Schnapps and Mike’s Hard. (The fact that we had a 100% success rate is a sad, sad comment on adult strangers, but that’s for another story). It’s not that we wanted just to drink; we wanted to get drunk. Eventually we did, and a few of us have never really sobered up. If the years since your teens have been one, long, boozy intravenous drip you should probably go back and smack younger you’s precious little index finger away from that creepy stranger’s shoulder before he agrees to buy you that first, delicious sip.
Your younger self listened to terrible music. I can still remember losing my mind over Snow’s “Informer” with my brother. We thought we would never grow tired of him saying “I’ll lick your boom boom down.” Well, we grew tired of it about a week later, along with Spin Doctors, Four Non-Blondes, and some band called U2. Younger self, I promise you that song isn’t as good as you think it is. In six months, you’ll be embarrassed when someone hears it blasting through your earbuds and in six years you’ll hear it at a retro-themed party and that feeling you’ll feel will be nostalgia, and nothing more. (Note: if you’re one of those kids who was listening to The Beatles or Miles Davis at an early age, this does not apply to you. You are probably a very cool adult snagging all the hot babes/dudes that you missed out on, sitting alone in your room appreciating cool music).
Don’t fail your classes, younger self, but don’t kill yourself trying to be perfect either. The only perfect people are robots and Doogie Howser (If you were not alive during the 90s, Google it). Instead, strive for decent grades and a robust life outside school. You could volunteer at a shelter for the homeless or women or puppies. You could learn fencing. You could, say, get a job and stop mooching off your poor parents? At said job you might meet other people and those people might become your friends or your more-than-friends, and you’ll have a social network that Facebook would envy. (Younger self, Facebook will be a thing that you will think matters, but doesn’t. Avoid it, even though everyone will treat you like a pariah for doing so. Stay strong, and you’ll stay sane). Just be well rounded, because that’s what universities, employers, and anyone worth hanging out with is looking for.
Your future friends
When you were a kid you thought you’d be rollin’ with the big boys, makin’ it rain, runnin’ things, and hanging with a crew of homies so badass that all the honeys would be lining up for a night on your arm. You were wrong. You friends are guys named Mark and Rob and they have a job and decent benefits. Mark/Rob is looking to renovate his house, but maybe not til the kids are a little older and Lori finishes massage school. He just got a new golf club, and it’s all he can talk about until he gets a few pints in him and all he talks about is how Lori isn’t as into sex as she used to be and how puppies sometimes make him cry. But guess what? Mark/Rob would also show up at your door in the middle of the night if you asked him to, and he’s going to read every book on the best-seller list, which will make you smarter by proxy. You’re lucky to have him, and don’t forget it. And, hey, even Kanye West is saddled down with a woman and a baby, so we all have to grow up sometime.