30 June 2010

Are You Listening to Me?

On the way home yesterday, there was a piece on NPR about a blogger who asked what you might say to your 20-year-old self, if you had the chance. One of those If I Knew Then What I Know Now sorts of things. As a topic for a blog post, it sounds kind of intriguing. Also self-indulgent, self-absorbed, all about me... what's not to like? Totally my kind of thing.

Not that I think there's anything I could say that would make a dent in my 20-year-old self's hard head. I was a stubborn, self-centered, not particularly likable control freak. If there was something I wanted, I would do whatever it took to make it happen, even if it meant running roughshod over other people. I had no social skills to speak of. What can you say to a person like that?

I know she won't listen. But for what it's worth:
  • Most of the things you wake up at three o'clock in the morning worrying about will never happen. If there's nothing you can do about it, right then, go back to sleep. Preemptive worrying is a waste of time.
  • You do not need a man in your life. Fortunately the men you have been/will be involved with are all good people; you'll be lucky that way. They are just not right for you. Fear of being alone is not a solid basis for a partnership. Learn to be by yourself and like it.
  • You will never in a million years imagine the kind of guy you will eventually wind up with. Never in a million years. You'll be lucky to have him, for sure. He's just not what you would expect. Ever.
  • You're not fat. The women in your mother's family, back to the flood, have big butts. There's nothing you can do about it.
  • It's OK to be goal-oriented. A certain amount of determination is not a bad thing. That doesn't mean you have to be such a little s#!t about it.
  • If there are things you really want to do, do them while you can. I'm just sayin'.
  • You don't control nearly as much as you think you do. I know it's hard to let go. Believe me, I do. Try asking yourself, "500 years from now, what will it matter?"
That's enough for now, but I'm not through with you. We'll come back to this. Are you listening to me?


  1. I think I could do this exercise and rename it: What you might say to your 35 year old self

    And, you had to start out with the piece of advice most relevant to me (the 3am pre-emptive worrying)!

    Interesting post. Thanks Zoom.

  2. I loved this post, Zoomdoggies -- gave me a lot to think about. I may do the same exercise, but I'm not sure I'll ever publish it! Thanks.

  3. Well my 20 year old self listened to her Grandfather and got a lot of crazy out of the way early. Now the not worry thing ummm . ... in 500 years err I am thinking my molecules will have contributed to something?

  4. Wow. Thought provoking. I could do this exercise at 20, 30, 40 and 50. It goes to show we are always (or should be) learning from our mistakes.

    Great post!!!

  5. I did this for a site called Vibrant Nation. Made me cry to talk to my (I think it was 16) young self. Nobody ever told me ANY of those things. I included that I would find real, lasting love, not to be afraid of any health problems, nothing you can't handle, and buy all the Starbucks, Microsoft and Amazon stock you can, as soon as you can, you will understand what that means later." I was at the lowest point of my life then, at 16-17, and if only one person had said too me: I will always be there for you. But, alas, I have always carried my own burdens alone. This was a great exercise, I thought.