Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Notes to My 14 Year Old Self

(Or, "We Need a Hot Tub Time Machine!")

Hey Tweeps! If you could go back to age 14, what would you change about the way you lived your life? What would you do the same?

I love my little sister. If you're reading my blog, you probably already know that. But really, she's the most awesome kid I know. Some reasons why I like her: She's crazy smart, witty, and goofy. She's way more mature than I was at that age. She's thoughtful, insightful, and deep. She still likes hugs, even though she can't do that cool running/ jumping thing anymore that she did when she was 3. I also like her because right now, she's half my age. I'm old enough that I've always felt I had a part raising her, but I'm not so much older than her that I'm like a parent. Best of both worlds.

But I digress. Sometimes I feel at a loss to give her decent advice that doesn't just sound like I know better than her. But I also don't want her to make all the same mistakes I did when I was younger. Some mistakes are good. Some are inevitable. And some experiences you just can't quite call yourself a well rounded without. Which is what prompted the above question. Perhaps collective wisdom can help a younger generation to make some good decisions, and avoid the bad ones. Or not. So here goes, in no particular order. Identities have been removed to protect the guilty. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

  • I wouldn't smoke cigarettes, and I'd apply to better colleges. And I'd tell my best friend when his girlfriend cheated on him.
  • I would have focused more on my writing. I would have tried out for softball and forensics.
  • I also would've have spent so much money on vhs tapes and dvd's.
  • I would've joined the track team, not dated my loser boyfriend, and spent more time on schoolwork.
  • Stop wasting money on Depeche Mode singles.
  • Enjoy next summer. It will be the last three months of your life with no responsibilities whatsoever.
  • Think about what you want out of college. Don't just roll with whatever comes to you.
  • I wouldn't have dated that one girl (instead her friend)... majored in accounting... ummm... yeah, that's it.
  • I would have spent more time on schoolwork, gone to a better college; with a softball team. And I would have travelled more
  • I still would have been involved in things (music, clubs, sports). I'd change the female cattyness and be nicer to certian people.
  • Gotten a better internship in college, tried to talk to my dad about his drinking. Saved more and learned about good food sooner.
  • I wouldn't change the friendships I made or moving away from home.
  • I wish I has realized I only get one chance to impress at school
  • Never be afraid to tell someone how I feel
  • never get caught up in the dangers of debt!

And my thoughts:
  • When Kara said, "Hey! Let's join cross country!" I would have agreed.
  • When Kara said, "Hey, Let's be cheerleaders!" I would have said no way.
  • I would have dated fewer guys, especially when I was 14.
  • I probably would still have dated that one guy who we all love. He was a good guy, even though we messed with each other's heads.
  • I would have read more good books, and worked on my writing when I had teachers around to help me
  • I would have tried harder to advance myself in math. My life could be drastically different if I had pursued a math track.
  • I would have asked someone for fashion advice.


J said...

This was such a great "project", Jess! Makes me cry over how much time has passed and how little I did in the last fourteen years. Hindsight is always 20/20, and that's a hard reality everyone is forced to learn over and over.



Eric said...

I had one last suggestion that I couldn't squeeze into 140 characters.

Treat people better. Doing so is good for others and good for yourself. It's not okay to ruin somebody else's day.

I didn't listen to much advice at the age of 14 and this bit in particular would have gone in one ear and out the other. Part of that is because I had no empathy whatsoever for other people at the age of 14. But also because you have to live awhile and make some mistakes to learn about how the consequences of your actions affect your life. You have to grow into the person you want to become and there's no way to understand that except in retrospect, if you care to understand it at all.

Kara said...

Wow, we are insightful. It's amazing, because I've been thinking about this stuff myself, more because it's coming up on the 10-year reunion.

I think the one thing we really can't discount is that all of our life experiences, good or bad, gave us the relationships we have today.