A Letter to Me, Circa 1993

Hey Me! How's it going? I'd say "long time no see", but I get the mingled pleasure and pain of checking out you plus 15 years every morning in the mirror. Confused? I completely understand, since that's pretty much your normal state these days.

Eighteen years old, huh? Lots going on for you right now. Getting your driver's license, legally buying smokes, graduating high school. It's all pretty exciting! Take a deep breath and enjoy, because this is a high point in your life and there's an awful lot of wasteland coming up.

Anyway, I wanted to give you a few pointers on life in general, and love in particular. Grab a drink, this could take awhile. And stop rolling your eyes!

1.) High school graduation should be celebrated feverishly. You'll never look back at those people again, and for the most part they won't look at you, either. And that's a blessing, let me tell you.

2.) That guy you're staying up all-hours to spend time with? He's gonna break your heart a few years down the road. But the lessons you learn from both the relationship and the heartbreak are going to benefit you for a long time. Just stay away from his creepy dad.

3.) Slow down behind the wheel. Sure, it's fun to be a little daring...after all, you're gonna live forever, right? Well, I can vouch for 33.5 years, but after that, it's all in God's hands.

4.) Speaking of God, would you believe that your religion is going to be important to you again? Hey, I'm being serious here! All those years you're gonna spend sinning are going to come in handy, too, when it comes to relating to and guiding younger girls. At least, you'll like to think so.

5.) Hold onto the friends you have. Melissa and Joy are going to be there for a long time, and nothing's cooler than friends who know all your dirty laundry!

6.) Don't waste your energy being terrified of pregnancy and childbirth. Pregnancy is fun, childbirth is a piece of cake, and your son is going to be delightful.

7.) Your parents love you, but have a hard time showing it in a way you'll understand. In a few years you'll be better equipped to appreciate that, but until then, just trust me. And, when they get into "extreme parenting", it's really because you've pushed them past the point where they know how to deal with you. Someday you'll understand it, but it'll probably take about 20 years.

8.) Smoking isn't cool, it isn't sexy, it doesn't make you tough, it doesn't make you thin. It makes you cough, it makes you look old, it makes you stink, and it will eventually send you to the emergency room with an asthma attack. And that will be the cathartic moment you need to finally kick that disgusting habit.

9.) Appreciate your metabolism, girl! You can enjoy a slice of pizza without tacking it onto your thighs immediately. Not so in the future. Carpe diem!

10.) You're going to go through a few rocky relationships before you finally meet the man of your dreams (yes, he's coming, don't fret). As hard as they're going to be, each one comes with a distinct lesson. One will teach you alot about what to look for in a life partner, in particular when it comes to familial relations. One will address your need for individuality. One will help you understand that you cannot change a man through loving him. One will show you why it's important to wait for relationships to be mutual (actually, two will teach you that lesson). Anyway, take notes to reflect on once you've matured a few years.

Anyway, me, more than anything, enjoy every day. You're only this young and carefree once in your life. Sure, it's not easy being 18. Been there, done that. But it sure isn't easier at thirty-something. Enjoy gaining experience. Remember everything. Sit on the wall at the Pagoda. Go on that blind date. Drive to NYC just for great lasagna. Enjoy a movie at the drive-in. Soak up those moments, so you can take them out and turn them over in your hands later.

Oh, and the mall hair? C'mon, what is that about?

Love you!

1 comment:

  1. i can't believe no one commented on this!? well put and well spoken and, well, you're totally right! wouldn't it be awesome if this could have really happened?! i would have loved to have opened up that letter when i was 18. there'd be a lot i would have told myself too! i love reading this emily - again, i will say it only this last time, you are an excellent writer! love it! case