23 Things I Would Tell My Former Self
As my 23rd birthday approaches (and my 12 year-old heart is soaring because I finally get to shout the line “Nobody likes you when you’re 23” sung by Blink-182, the crown jewel of all bands), I can’t believe it’s been nearly ten years since I started high school (and my 22 year-old heart is sinking because…old). Freshman-year-me thought 23 seemed like a lifetime away, and also naively thought that I would have a boyfriend and a job in publishing by now.
I would like to think that I’ve somewhat matured since then, which probably isn’t the case at all, but since hindsight is said to be 20/20, here are 23 things that I realize now that I may not have then:
1. If you cut class to go to a Britney Spears concert, you will get a weekend detention.
2. At 23, you will not use the Pythagorean Theorem.
3. At 33, I’m almost positive that you still will not use the Pythagorean Theorem. But you probably would if you were able to do a mathematical equation past the fifth grade.
4. Some people actually do have to study for their drivers test, despite what you may believe. Because some people will fail.
6. Procrastinating. is never. the answer.
7. You should set your clocks early so you can stop annoying everyone by being perpetually ten minutes late to everything.
8. You can’t pull off Polo shirts.
9. And denim skirts with Ugg Boots was only a good idea in theory… style doesn’t mean dressing the way everybody else does! And it doesn’t have to mean the Abercrombie & Fitch moose either, so don’t spend a year’s worth of allowance on a pair of jeans.
10. You will get over that boy who you swore you would still be crying over at 22. It will take too long but it will happen. But it wouldn’t have killed you to open up to him a wee bit more.
11. Don’t trust others so easily, but always, always trust yourself.
12. Listen to your parents. They get it. They get you. And don’t sass your mother when she doesn’t let you wear that eyeliner. She was right. It was too dark.
13. You didn’t have to try to be somebody else because you were afraid of who you truly were.
14. Even though you were so awkward.
15. (Even though you still are).
16. There will come a time when you will yearn to be able to write and read and learn all day (and with your friends for that matter!). Cherish it. A 9-5 isn’t nearly as fun.
17. Your first drink should not be whiskey.
18. Because you will throw up in that kitchen sink.
19. You lucked out, because the friends you make in high school (the same who got you through your horrible buck-tooth years) will be some of the best you’ll ever have. Never thank them enough for listening to you, and remember that just listening is the best thing that you can do for them.
20. Never think “but everybody else is doing it” is the answer. It wasn’t then, it isn’t now, and it never will be. Realizing all of the things I did then because I thought I was ready for them makes me realize that I wasn’t ready at all.
21. Stop rolling your eyes, you angst-y little preteen! You are so unnecessarily dramatic!
22. Forgive. Forgive your teachers (because you actually did deserve that C in Biology), forgive that boy who never called you back, forgive your parents for not “understanding” you, forgive yourself for all of those insignificant little mistakes that seemed so earth-shattering then.
23. In the wise-beyond-his-years words of Nathan Scott (if you haven’t watched One Tree Hill yet, start now…): “One day you’re seventeen and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” High school was so not the be-all-end that I thought it was going to be then. Every decision I made felt like it was so final, every heartbreak, a Greek tragedy. And I spent so much time then (time I wouldn’t even know what to do with now) worrying so much about the future, and just like that, quicker than I could ever put into words, the future was here. So my 23rd piece of advice, what I would tell to high-school me, is this: stop taking yourself so seriously.
And I’ll tell it to 23 year-old me, too.