Soon I will be attending my 10, 15 20 year high school reunion.
Holy Ritz Cracker.
Where did the years go?
Twenty years ago, my life was rather simple.
The only stressors in my life were:
1. What dress to wear to prom?
2. Which tanning bed would get me the best tan in time for prom?
3. Who I was going out with Friday and Saturday night?
4. How to tell my parents I had crashed yet another car.
5. Which college to attend based not on their academic accolades but which had the best social life.
Important stuff people!!
But looking back over the last 20 years and viewing 18 years olds these days, I can see I really was stupid. After marrying, divorcing, marrying again, having two beautiful daughters, living with a debilitating illness and just simply growing up, I wish I could have talked to my stupid self 20 years ago.
This is what I would have said…
1. Basking in the sun with baby oil and iodine sounds like a fabulous idea, especially when you lay out on the roof to maximize it’s effect while skipping school, but 20 years from now you will find freckles, age spots, wrinkles and that huge skin cancer on your back. It will cost you a fortune to remove the age spots and freckles, the wrinkles will not make you look sophisticated, and Botox/Restylene is expensive. Skin cancer can kill you. Please wear sunscreen everyday.
2. The really hot guys who really have no direction in life at 25 will also have no direction in life at 45. If his only ambition is to install car stereo’s in his momma’s garage, he’s not for you. Stay away from him and all the others like him unless you are prepared to support them for the rest of your life. They will bleed you financially and emotionally the rest of your life.
3. Most of the cool kids in high school that picked on the quiet nerds? Those nerds end up signing their paychecks. I bet Bill Gates loves going to his high school reunion. Those kids that were quiet and studious just learned early that being different is cool. You should try to have their self esteem.
4. Some of those quiet kids in school that no one understood were different because their home life was horrible and they needed you to reach out to them but you were to selfish to realize that. Realize that you are not the center of the universe. Realize that everyone is not as fortunate as you.
5. Being a cheerleader or a beauty queen never really gets you anywhere in life. No one will ever ask you in a job interview if you can do a back handspring. This I promise.
6. Studying and working hard gets you everywhere. There are no shortcuts in life. You may read the Cliff Notes but you still don’t know the whole story.
7. You may not know at 18 what you want to do for the rest of your life and that’s OK…you may not know until you’re 38 or 48 or 58. Sometimes you may never know. The important thing is you know who you are and what you stand for.
8. Not everyone can be doctors or lawyers and that doesn’t make you any lesser than a person. Blue collar workers are the backbone of our country. Not everyone can be great but you can be great at what you do.
9. Pick a career that makes you happy and fulfills you, no matter what the pay. If you enjoy what you do, the money will come.
10. You, yourself are enough. You don’t need someone else to make you happy. If you can’t be happy with yourself, you can’t be happy with someone else.
11. You can’t fix someone else’s problems, so don’t waste your time.
12. Always take time for yourself. Learn to enjoy time alone. Be happy in your solitude. You can be your best company.
13. Always take time for your girlfriends. Don’t flake out on them when a new guy comes along. Don’t forget about them when you get busy with your new baby. You need them and they need you. They will be there for you when your whole world falls apart and you will need them to help you pick up the pieces.
14. Tell the truth, even when it isn’t in your best interest. Even when it means everyone else thinks your crazy…or a bitch…or stupid. You will sleep well at night knowing you did the right thing.
14. Keep your word. Do what you say and mean it.
15. Before you marry you should experience three situations with your significant other:
A. You both should take care of each other during a bout with the stomach virus. Nothing brings out the worse in people than diarrhea and vomiting.
B. Go on vacation and work through a difficult situation like losing your luggage. Knowing how your partner handles the simple stresses in life will give you an idea how he/she will handle your relationship.
C. Let them meet your entire extended family, even the ones that you don’t claim.
16. Learn to laugh at yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously. It really does look funny when you fall down the steps. Laugh and laugh hard.Life is too short to be a stick in the mud.
17. Regrets are a waste of time.
18. Real love is fireworks. If you don’t feel it, it’s not right. Don’t let anyone tell you different and don’t settle.
19. Don’t let fear hold you back.
20. Stop using all that hairspray. You’re really destroying the ozone layer at break neck speed and big hair really doesn’t flatter you anyway.
But most of all, I’ve learned that love, family, friends and health are the cake of your life. The rest are just icing.
And my cake taste great.