What would you like to say to your 20 year old self?
There are a great many things that I would like to say to my twenty-year-old self, like, “You should floss way more often.” But I’m thinking that many of the things we would tell our younger selves, either as a warning or encouragement, those younger selves would likely ignore. Or maybe that’s just me. I didn’t listen to people who knew better than me then – heck, I barely do that now – so why would I listen to myself?
Also, I don’t think the younger version of me has enough life experience to make good use of any advice I have to offer. And the only way she’ll get the life experience that allows me to know what she should be doing differently, is if I leave her alone and let her do what she’s gonna do.
Here is what some other people said:
Christie: Have more fun! I was so prudish as a kid, oh my gosh! I was so busy trying to keep things going and working to take care of everything…
—Rhonda: I was that way too.
Christie: …that I didn’t play, I didn’t go for walks, I didn’t take time to have coffee with people, I didn’t make friends, I was too busy…
—Michelle: …taking care of business.
Christie: Yeah, just making the wheels go round, you know.
Jeff: Save some money. And family is more important than you realize. Because I was well into my thirties before I…I took my family for granted for all those years before I realized how important they are.
Toni: Listen to your mother. Don’t go to the dark side. Cause I went to the dark side. Or: if it looks like a bad boy, and it walks and talks like a bad boy…
—Beverly: …it is a bad boy.
Toni: …it will always be a bad boy. And you can’t change him.
Beverly: If you see something you think you might like for the future, don’t back off and let somebody else step up and take what you would like to have. Be willing to fight for it.
—Michelle: That’s interesting…
Beverly: I’ve experienced that heartbreak. Some of the good ones got away.
Lauren: I’d like to say something to myself when I was 24, but not 20: don’t buy that house. You will be stuck in it forever.
Sara: I can’t say what I would say to my 20 year old self.
—Michelle: It’s unprintable?
Aimee: I’m thinking at that age, it was almost too late at that point.
—Michelle: You think so?
Aimee: No, I mean really. Because I think that I would have been a good pharmacist, but I didn’t go down that path. Because by the time I found this job, and I really liked it, I was already a senior in college, and I didn’t want to prolong it. I didn’t want to go anymore.
—Michelle: That’s interesting, because I’m almost the same way, by the time I was 20, even though that’s so young…
Aimee: It is, but I wanted to do other things…have kids, have a life.
Chris: Don’t go to jail.
Martha: Remember, when you go out, whatever you do comes right back home. And the news will probably get there before you do. And watch who you hang out with.
Cindy: Hang in there, it gets better!
Albert: I need to speak to my eighteen year old self. I’d say, “Stay in school.” I mean the thing of it is, if I really knew now, half as much as I thought I knew then, you know, I’d be in a lot better situation.
—Michelle: I still don’t know shit.
Albert: And I don’t either!
—Michelle: But you know, you’re right; I thought I was grown when I was sixteen.
Albert: Absolutely! Full grown.
—Michelle: At eighteen, I thought, “Well I didn’t know nothin’ – I’m full grown now.” And then at twenty… And now I’m like…I don’t…I am just…
Albert: What am I doing?
—Michelle: Yeah, “What the hell just happened…to the last twenty years of my life?”
Tom: Keep up the good work!
—Jacque: I don’t know…I don’t know if anything you said to your twenty-year-old self would help.
Tom: Well, I tell ya, I’ve been thanking – I have, truthfully…I spent some time last week, several days, it was just…on my mind a lot – thanking my younger self for saving the money. For not spending it. I appreciate it. I did without a lot of crap – and most of it was just that, just crap.
—Jacque: Yeah, I think I would have liked to have been more conservative and to make better choices as far as the job market. Things like that…they’re the things that I would want to have done better.
Tom: If I could talk to my twenty-year-old self, I would say, “Be bold! Life is exactly what you want to make of it.” That’s what I would say.
Tom: And…and be damn sure you marry Jacque Williams.
—Jacque: Yeah, I’m sure that’s what you’d want to say.
Tom: Of course, by twenty it was too late, cause I was already married to you.
Jaime (who is no longer in her twenties): I would love to answer that question, but I’m not quite twenty yet so…
Um, yeah…me neither, Jaime.