Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Own Voice of Experience

I always get a little melancholy around mid-June. Much of this is due to a) knowing I'm about to reprise my role of Julie McCoy for the zillionth straight summer and b) because who doesn't love using the word "melancholy" in polite conversation. The rest is because it forces me to remember myself as I once was, a fresh-faced 18 year old ready to take on life as I walked across the stage at my 1988 high school graduation and realize suddenly that I am on schedule for a mid-life crisis.

Older, but so much wiser and, I would argue, way more awesome than I was back then. So in the whole "a letter to 18 year old me" spirit, I present my "Things I Would Have Told Myself on June 28, 1988 Whether I Was Willing To Listen Or Not."

 - Don't listen to the logical people. You aren't logical and analytical by nature, even though for the past 12 years you've been stuck in the advanced math classes and labeled an academic achiever. You don't know it yet, but you are artsy and creative, even though you've been comparing yourself to your artsy friends for years and have always come up short and it has frustrated you. You're hanging with the logicals and you think you are one of them, but you are not. Not fully, anyway. That's why you haven't figured out in the slightest what you want to do with your life.  

- It's okay to still not have a clue what you want to do with your life ten years from now. The lucky people change their mind all the time. I'd like to think they experience more than those who know what they want and start right out into it. In any case it sounds like a good excuse.

- At least once a year for at least the next 25 years, you are going to get the jingle to the 1970s commercial for "Mon-chee-chee" stuck in your head for a day or a week and it is going to drive you nuts. True story. Or perhaps I should say "Ya, ya, ya!"

- Learn how to waitress. It will teach you poise under pressure, time management, multi-tasking, money management, and maybe how to make a cocktail or two. Plus it's good exercise. Everyone should be required to serve time as a server.

 - Your wedding day will be the hottest day ever recorded on planet Earth. Under no circumstances should you consider long sleeves, and a smart move would be a minidress. But while your friends are all changing their hose (Hose! And we were - and are - hot little numbers!) between the ceremony and reception, you'll miraculously not even remember how hot it was because you are marrying the future Mr QH.

 - Girls have hormones from birth. Buy a lot of wine.

- All you need is an Art Patron and a dream. Once you finally realize, in 2005, that you are artsy, don't let the logical people sway you from starting a quilt design business with their "Oh you will never make any money"s and "How many quilts can one person possibly need"s and "Will you still be able to make dinner every night"s. Lie and answer yes to the last question and your Art Patron will support you while you figure it out. You may never be rich, but you might get asked for an autograph in Bed Bath and Beyond once and you'll definitely have an amazing time of it.

- Remember how clean your mom kept the house? That is clean enough. I never paid any attention to how clean (or not) our house was growing up. I only knew we had a mom who was happy and fulfilled and interesting. I maintain to this day, even in the midst of a mild scolding from Mr QH when he finds a lemon from 2010 stuck in the back of the fridge, that clean enough is clean enough, and I'd rather be interesting and fulfilled than bored with a spotless house. I can only hope my daughters will proudly be the third generation to live clean enough.

- Cancer, infertility, stressors out of our control - they all suck and will touch you, your family, and friends somehow. You are not immune. Lean on people, be there to be leaned on, live every day without regret, and know that you did the best you could with what you were handed.

- Don't be afraid to raise your kids like it is still 1983.  It isn't the popular choice, but it's the right choice for your family.

- Kids are THE WORST at keeping secrets. If you must get pulled over for speeding, try not to have one in the car with you.

- If it doesn't work, keep trying. Some people call this stubborn. Stubborn is a compliment. Giving up easily is just silly.

Took me four tries, but I finally figured this block out!
 - Read something every day. Along with being a little bit messy, the most interesting people are those who keep reading and therefore keep learning. And the day that your college roommate's mom hands you "Dragonfly in Amber" might just be one of the best days of your life.

- Make Mr QH a kilt. Wait....what?

I could probably go on, but I will not bore you further. Would love to know what you would tell your own fresh faced 18 year old selves!


Karen said...

Love it!

Esch House Quilts said...

Great list! I'm listening to Dragonfly in Amber on CD right now :) (I can't manage to fit in both sewing and reading an actual book, so this way I get to do both at the same time!)

Rina Mason said...

I would tell my 18 year old self that when it comes to things that you think are life and death or are stressing you out to stop and ask yourself a simple question. Is it so important that you will remember it a year from now or even five years from now. If the answer is yes then it's important, if the answer is no then don't stress about it.

The other thing is to be spontaneous. Some of the best things that happen to you will be because you said why not and just jumped in and did it. The memories you make will be with you forever and they are almost always great ones.

Ann Dixon said...

Mr QH would look good in a kilt!

A.J. Dub. (Amy) said...

LOL Fantabulous post! :D

Lisa E said...

LOL funny!!! Love it. I would tell my 18-year-old self to find you hanging out with the logicals and then befriend you.

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