"The Young Adult Years"
Dear 19-yr old self: Fine. You win. Happy? Now you’re saddled with a new car and an even bigger car payment, rent for your apartment, a full-time job, a part-time job, and you’re trying to go to college at night. Does the phrase “burning the candle at both ends” mean anything to you? By the way, that new guy you’re dating is a keeper. But cut him some slack for the dorky haircut, he said he’s going in the military. Also, there will be a very unfortunate St. Patrick’s Day episode this year. Put away the green food coloring NOW, or you will never be able to drink beer again. Not that it's a huge loss, but ugh. You don't want to have to re-live the Night of the Green Ugly every March for the rest of your life.
Dear 20-yr old self: Deep breaths. I know it’s scary, but he’s a wonderful person and will make the best husband ever. And I know you’re worried about moving away from home, but you’ll just have to trust me that except for a few dark years in Los Angeles, it will be an adventure and you’ll really, actually like it, plus, make some of the best friends of your life. Also, be kinder to your parents. They are having a rough go of it and it would be nice if you weren’t so self-absorbed.
Dear 21-yr old self: Although I know you think you have to work to help make ends meet, you need to understand that this is the first and only time your husband will be knowingly stationed somewhere for four years. There is a four year university in that town. You do the math. Go back to school. I don’t CARE that you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up --- just pick something and stick with it!
Dear 24-yr old self: Pat yourself on the back for getting up and going to the gym on a regular basis -- don’t stop! As “big” as you think you are, what you weigh now will one day be your “goal” weight. Keep working out! But lose the Sally Jesse Raphael glasses. And lose the naiveté that the first time you have sex without birth control you will get pregnant – you’re just setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment and heartache.
Dear 26 yr old self: Slacker. What is that, like *another* fifteen pounds you’ve put on in the last year? What happened to going to the gym? And no, two, two-year degrees do NOT equal a four-year degree. Good grief, what am I going to do with you?
Dear 27 yr old self: I know you’ve been trying for almost three years to have a baby, and you’re beginning to despair that it will never happen. I’m not going to ply you with platitudes about “just relax” or “all in God’s plan” because goodness knows you’ll hear that enough from others. What I would like to remind you is bitter + resentment = ugly.
Dear 28 year old self: Traveling to a foreign country and getting a tattoo from someone who doesn’t speak English is not really a good idea. I’m just saying.
Dear 29 year old self: You are scaring away your friends and family with your baby obsession. Take a deep breath and trust that there is a plan. Otherwise you will wind up alone, in a rocking chair, with nineteen cats, complaining to yourself, because no-one else can stand to be around you. And getting another tattoo to correct the first bad tattoo? Equally bad idea.
Dear 30 year old self: Later this year, God and an angel-on-earth named M. are going to place your daughter in your arms. The circumstances will not be ideal, and if you’re not careful, you will have such a chip on your shoulder that you will not cherish those first few months like you should. When you look at her beautiful, perfect face, focus on the “how amazings” instead of worrying about the “what ifs”. Also, much to your shock and surprise, you will get pregnant later this year. Although your OB won’t step up to the plate and tell you to your face, I will: Gaining sixty pounds is NOT the best thing you can do. You will never, ever, ever, EVER lose all of it again, so just don’t gain it in the first place, ok? Also, celebrating your 30th birthday with another tattoo? What the hell is wrong with you???