If I could go back in time and have a sit-down with past me, I would definitely bring a serious list. If I wrote down all of the advice that members of my family gave me that was right, it would be a mile long. For time travel and brevity’s sake, I’d keep the list short though.
Scene: Fade into a small bedroom crowded with stuffed animals, clothes, and oddities.
“Now” me too “big dumb teenage” me:
“Ok…Listen…stop freaking out. Yes, it’s really you. Want me to prove it? You love Barry Manilow, Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor is your go-to emo song, you listen to Weird Al Yankovic on the Dr. Dememto Show every Sunday night, and you may secretly be Garfield because you hate Mondays and love lasagna. Not enough? You had a secret crush on Bo Duke when you were a kid and you are scared of The Blob. Do I have your attention now? Good – I have the stuff to tell you. Further proof I’m you – here’s a list – you need to know this.”
1. Your Mom is awesome. Stop being awful to her. You are not being emotionally abused just because she wants you to get good grades. Suck it up, do your work, and get over yourself.
2. Take a minute to realize what Mom and Dad do for you that you don’t show any gratitude for. Dad works crazy early hours so he can be home in time to drive you around to play practice, club meetings, band practice, or whatever is going on any given day. Mom gave up a career to stay home and take care of you guys. They are funny and smart and love you more than you could possibly imagine. Everything they say and do is proof of that even if they don’t say the words every day. Open your damned eyes behind those Joe Paterno coke-bottle-bottomed glasses, kid.
3. As for the rest of your family, you can go easy on them too. They’re pretty great and would do anything for you. They’re going to stick to you like glue when the poop hits the fan later in life so it won’t kill you to show a little gratitude now.
4. Those girls that you keep trying to impress? They’re not your friends. They never will be. That’s not where you should be pouring your energy. Friends are like the family you get to choose. Think quality, not quantity. Hang on to Trish and Missy and Sharon, and wait until you meet Kelly. Talk about a sister from another mister.
5. Knock it off with the boys. Boys liking you does not equal self-worth. If a boy doesn’t like you, it’s his loss. Move on. There’s more to life than feeling liked and getting attention.
6. You’re never going to be happy if you link happiness to other people. You have to dig yourself, girlfriend, before anyone else is going to. Stop wishing you were popular and appreciate the awesome that you already are. It’ll save you from a world of pain in the long run.
7. Lay off the bagels. You have high cholesterol so watch what you eat NOW before you lose complete control of your LDL/HDL. And don’t get me started about booze. You don’t need it to be accepted. Nobody cares so do your liver a favor and lay off when the time comes, ok?
8. Marry Rob when he asks. Stop laughing you big weenie. I mean it. You just wait.
Look, I can’t stick around, but don’t forget this stuff. It’s really important. Trust me, you’ll be happier in the long run. Go hug your family right now – there’s going to be a time when you can’t and it’ll be nearly unbearable. Otherwise, get ready to ride the coaster life’s gearing up for you, cookie-puss. You’re in for a hell of a ride.