Present Tense

Dear Young, Stupid Me:

So, last week I wrote about the website where you can write a note to the ‘future you’.  That led me to the next logical step: a note to my 25 year-old self, which is half my current age.  I challenge you to give it a try.  Here’s mine:

Dear young and stupid Jane:

So, you think you’ve got the world by the tail, do you?  People seem to want to hire you for better and better jobs, you’re very hip and most importantly, you can drink most people under the table.  Too bad the cops keep butting into your fun.  I can tell you this; eventually it will dawn on you, that excessive drinking isn’t all that good for you personally or professionally.  I can also tell you that you’ll need to learn that lesson over and over.  Wish I had better news on that front, but you’re destined to battle your arrogance for a long time.

The good news is that your professional life will go pretty well, despite some struggles and setbacks, but you are surprisingly resilient for someone so stubborn.  By the way, you’ll meet a guy that you think you’re madly in love with, but he’s gay.  I’ll let you figure out who that might be and you’ll be in denial for a couple of years, but you’ll eventually meet your Prince Charming.

Remember to pay off your credit cards, keep saving your money and for the love of God, get your oil changed more often.  You’ll hate yourself when your car goes ka-blooey because you didn’t pay attention to regularly scheduled maintanence, although you will also wreck several cars over the years.  A variation on that same car/driving theme:  slow the hell down!

I could give you all kinds of advice, but I know that 25 year-olds are not that receptive to the wisdom of the middle-aged, even if that wisdom is imparted by the person who knows you best in the world, i.e. YOU/ME.  Keep trying to do better and be better, and you’ll turn out fine.  I’ve got my eye on you.

Much love,

Older and wiser Jane

January 12, 2010 - Posted by | Musings | , ,


  1. I know that no matter what I might have told my THC influenced and inhibited much younger self….I would never have listened…but it just might have given me pause…and then I would have taken another hit and forgot I ever said anything to myself. Damn it!

    Comment by kandis | January 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. Oh, if I knew then, what I know now. It all rings too true. Here is to a much wiser second half for all of us young fools.

    Comment by Margie Jennings | January 12, 2010 | Reply

  3. Ok, here’s mine:

    Dear younger self,
    What were you thinking? That seems to be the most pertinent question for your youth. Everyone has regrets. That will be something you will get up close and personal with.
    But the bottom line is, you should have taken more chances, while you were young and had that bounce back effect. Kind of like what they keep telling us about our 401K now…. yeah right. But youth is bounceable. Is that a word? I declare it is!
    You will regret not taking chances while you were young. (No, not like that time in the backseat of the Oldsmobile with whats-his-name! If you know what I mean).
    You were raised to be mucho responsible, which is quite commendable for the parents that were too busy being tired from working all day, to help you with your homework. It was good for them to ask you if you had done your homework and had followed through if you had not, with “Make sure your homework gets done”. Ok, so with that said, you did ok in school. Valedictorian was never in the cards for you – trust me on this.
    You end up spending 23 years in a job you worked hard for the first 10 of it, and actually liked it. But in the end, you way over stayed your welcome – for yourself mostly. You should have tried more things. And changing careers was definitely a good move, now just hang on to this new job ok? Especially since you actually like this new job.
    What is missing in your future life are, stories……and that is because you didn’t take chances. Life stories come from trying new things – things that work out good, and things that didn’t work out not so good. And this isn’t meaning trying out a new toothpaste dammit! What would your life have been like if you had gotten a crazy job dropping supplies off to the people working the Alaskan pipeline via helicopter? (one of my college professors did this when she was 23 – I was so jealous! And she owned a Harley to boot!) What if you joined the armed forces for 4 years or offered to help the elderly or volunteered to take in abandoned animals? Or went to cooking school, or..or…whatever. Try it!! Whatever sings to you at night in your dreams. These are things you don’t need to do for long periods of time, but could say you did them. Do things, just because it might make you a better, more interesting person. But most of all, have fun. Try to have as much fun as life can throw at you. And Laugh… Because you spend time laughing at other people…and they will spend time laughing at you too. (hint…Laugh louder!!)
    Good news – you are only half way through your career and life. So there is plenty of time to make the necessary changes.

    Good Luck, as you will definitely need it.
    Older, still mostly boring self… need to take own advice..

    Comment by Sherry | January 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Excellent! Don’t be too hard on yourself; there’s something to be said for being responsible:) And you touched on it; we get another chance with every sunrise!

      Comment by janelondon | January 14, 2010 | Reply

  4. But your younger self won’t listen! Ugh! I’ve run into the quite often as a parent. Your just trying to help, but they don’t want to hear it.

    I think it’s interesting to see how you got where you are by the decisions you made back then.

    Comment by Big Steve | January 14, 2010 | Reply

  5. oh heck I can’t even remember what my stupid 25 year old self did but I am thinking of copying this for my best friend’s early 20’s son, it might help…but then again…

    Comment by imasink | January 17, 2010 | Reply

  6. You never know…sometimes a few nuggets of wisdom make it through the fog of being in your 20s:)

    Comment by janelondon | January 17, 2010 | Reply

  7. Jane,

    You forgot to tell yourself to make sure the garage door is all the way up before backing out. 😛

    Comment by Mike | January 17, 2010 | Reply

    • HA! you’re right..seeing as how I’ve done it TWICE!!!

      Comment by janelondon | January 18, 2010 | Reply

  8. OMG, you are too funny… (I’m referring to that comment re: garage door)…
    Jane, this is SO poignant and well written… me thinks you might be on to a second career, girlfriend! I wish we’d stayed in touch through all those crazy, stupid, headstrong years… I guess what I’m trying to say is I wish I’d been a better friend to you. I could’ve used one too!

    Comment by Kathy | January 23, 2010 | Reply

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