Half a Lifetime...

So, we ended up in Atlanta this weekend - Mom and Dad were supposed to come here, but – plans changed as they so often do.

Anyway, one of the main reasons we were getting together is that they had a few pieces of furniture that they wanted us to have. They’ve also been cleaning out the garage and wanted me to get some of my crap out of there. So one of the items that I didn’t even know was in there was an old photo album of mine from a long, long time ago.

And in said album, were my Senior pictures from high school – from 17 years ago, when I was 17. Ouch. Who was that thin, well-rested looking girl? And what can I do to bring her back?

Also in there was my application for University of Georgia Sorority Rush – part of that was my transcript, which made me realize that I was such a mediocre student. Granted, I took a bunch of Honors classes and ranked 89th in a class of 359, but still…lots of B’s that could have been A’s with just a modicum of effort. And a D or two that I was glad to get. Algebras I and II, I'm looking at you!

And of course, all the photos from all the formals I went to - 3 years of Homecoming (my Senior year, I couldn’t scrounge up a date and ended up going to see Blythe Spirits with some girlfriends at the neighborhood playhouse – it was terrible – I should have gone stag to Homecoming) and two years of Prom. Damn, I was cute! And thin, and well-rested.

It’s not that I want to be seventeen again – oh, dear God no! But I’d like to travel back in time and tell seventeen–year-old me a few things just to help her out. Advise her to enjoy college more, maybe spend more money on decent haircuts, eat better, don’t get that credit card, drink more beer, don’t date that guy (or the other guy, either). Work just a little harder and she can graduate cum laude, like her husband. Yes, that’s right – she does end up married, so don’t sweat that. Advise her to find exercise she likes and do it daily. Tell her to back off on the late night snacking, the grilled cheese and to at all costs, avoid milkshakes – they’re addictive. Remind her to love her parents, even when they’re driving her crazy – because they won’t be as healthy as they are right now. I’d tell her which friendships to let fade, and the ones to pursue. Let her know that her 20’s may not be amazing, but her 30’s will make up for it.

Of course, if at seventeen, if some random thirtysomething had tried to advise me on anything, I think I would have turned up the Bob Dylan cassette in my 1984 Pontiac Sunbird and said, “Aw, quit hassling me, I’m doing just fine here.”

And I was – no debt, a terrific job where I made great money – and since I had no bills, I spent it all on me. I had plenty of leisure time, since I wasn’t really studying too hard, and I enjoyed all my extracurricular stuff. Every day after school, I ate a Twix bar and drank a real Coke. Of course, breakfast was a Diet Dr. Pepper, and lunch was a salad. At seventeen, I became a blood donor (and I still am to this day). The Braves made it to the post season. I had a car that ran well, gas was cheap, and my commute, as such, was a breeze. At seventeen, I had a boyfriend, briefly, and that was enough. I went with him to Homecoming, and took a Sophomore friend to Prom. I did Spring Break in Cancun. It was all good.

What would be more interesting, is if I were to get a visit from 68 year-old me right now, bringing sage advice and words of wisdom from 34 years into the future. She would probably tell me to work harder, have more fun, eat right and exercise. And maybe she’d give me some investment advice.

And I'd probably turn up the Avenue Q CD in my 2001 Toyota Echo and tell her, "Aww, quit hassling me, I'm doing just fine here!" And I am.