Advice to Me. When I was 20…


I am part of a great group of women bloggers called GenFab.  Generation Fabulous, darlings.  And our dear leader decided we would have our first blog hop.  Where every one in the group writes on the same topic.  And that topic is a letter to our 20 year old self.  This was one of the hardest assignments for me because I could truly write a book of advice to the 20-year-old me.  Not that she would read it…

Dear MA:

Hey-it’s me. Yeah, You when you are in your 50s. Not gonna tell you what age, just 50s.  Shake off that hangover and put away the cigarettes and let’s go get  a coke.

Don’t freak out. Because I am here to give you just a teensy bit of advice. Since you won’t listen to Kathleen. And you know, it takes a couple of years and a screaming infant to finally realize that all these years you mother WAS right. Listen to her. She is really way cooler than you think. And smarter. Trust me.

You are 20 and in my opinion, having the best time of your life. College, boyfriend, and great friendships that will carry you through to this later phase of your life. Yes, they will still be there. And believe it or not, so will some of those high school friends you left behind in New Jersey.

And going forward there are going to be some great times, and not so great.  If I could, I would prevent you from having those experiences because some of them really, really hurt.  But you will not become Me without those experiences. And frankly the Me you are now, is living a great life.  You may not realize this, but at 20, you are so lucky to be living a truly precious and fun life.  Be thankful.  Private college, cars, fraternity socials, living and dying by The Preppy Handbook.  You are in La La land. Trust me.

These guys will make you crazy, later on…

As the years come upon you, you’ll have to make some decisions.  And believe me when it comes to your passions, you are not living
them.  In fact, you wont live them until now.  Don’t wait this long. Don’t be afraid.  You have to get rid of that little voice in your head right NOW  that says, ‘Are you SURE you really want to do that? What will everybody THINK? ” when it comes to your future regarding your career options. Screw that voice.

Do not stow away that cute Pentax camera dad gave you.  Use it. Use it everyday.  You love photojournalism.  Go work somewhere you can do that.  You do not want to work for a bank.  Or be a stockbroker.  Or be salesperson.  You want to write and you want to record it in photos.  DO IT!!!!  Oh and that violin-keep playing it.  Trust me.

Men.  Ahem.  Trust your gut. And for gods sake get on the pill.  Shit-you are 20.  And you are afraid of what people will say? While you have girlfriends who sneak away to get abortions and hear of the date rape going on in college (that at that time no one acknowledges)… Our Bodies, Ourselves.  Buy it.  Read it.  Be informed.  Enjoy it. Don’t be such a wimp.  Besides, later down the road, you will be proud you finally give up the v-card at the Jersey Shore.  OMG and make sure YOU have condoms.  Not just him.  And I know you are going to go to Studio 54 with a bunch of crazy drunk girlfriends.  And I know you won’t hook up there.  Don’t let your friends do that either. You will know why later. Trust me.

Don’t pass on someone because they are too nice.  Or truly love you warts and all.  You are going to waste some time trying to get some guys to commit that really had no intention of making that commitment.  You are going to waste time-precious time and learn the meaning of self destruction and anxiety. You do get married and have a family.  Be aware that nothing in your life will fulfill you as much as this does.  But it will be the hardest thing you ever do.  Trust me.

I know that right now you are about 115 lbs soaking wet.  Enjoy it, eat to your heart’s desire.  Remember this-start now to enjoy green things like salads and broccoli and fresh fruits and vegetables.  I know you love that new fast food place that just opened called Wendy’s.  Listen to me, Wendy is NOT your new best friend.  In fact, in your later life, she becomes the mean popular high school girl that makes you eat fries and chocolate milk in the lunchroom and gets you fat.  Trust me.

Save your money.  Shopping only makes you happy for about 10 minutes.  But having a big bank account is your best revenge.  Oh, and buy stock in this little computer company called  Apple.  Lots and lots.  Trust me.

Make me/you proud.  And rich.  Keep laughing…


Future You



17 comments on “Advice to Me. When I was 20…

  1. The preppy handbook…I would surely tell myself to take that stupid ribbon out of my hair and ditch the penny loafers.

  2. Forever 51 says:

    I went from being madly in love with a Rush Loving Pot heat who treated me like a queen to chasing these prepster boys all over the southeast who had serious attitude and mommy issues LOL

  3. I remember the Preppy Handbook, too. I think caring what others think is so hardwired into us at that age. It seems to be a common theme with so many of our letters to ourselves. Oh, the beauty of getting older and not caring anymore!

    • Forever 51 says:

      I went from being a Jersey girl in Levi cords and polyester shirts at Bambergers to wearing Peter Pan piped collared shirts from Talbots. Maybe it was a possession of the preppy kind. Took me a while to get over. Still love lily pulitzer…

  4. Julie DeNeen says:

    That was awesome. Sigh. Hindsight is 20/20…always.

  5. evil one says:

    and find one good gay friend…

  6. Haralee says:

    Is that a villager sweater? I laughed through-out!

  7. I had a smoking habit in college, too. Seemed like just about everyone did. And oh do I wish we had invested in Apple!

  8. joyweesemoll says:

    Such a fun piece. Buy Apple, read Our Bodies / Our Selves, and Wendy is not my best friend! My 20-year old self would have benefited from all of that advice!

  9. nfhill says:

    Apple! I love it. I almost put that in my hop piece too. Your post reminded me that I was not smoking at age 20 and hadn’t for a couple of years. If only later stress hadn’t helped push me back to it for a while.

  10. Oh, that horrible Wendy. How hard it was to refuse her siren call. (Funny aside: I had Wendy’s the day I went into labor with each of my three daughters. The first two, it was unintentional and maybe what led to labor; by the third, I had to honor tradition and made my husband grab me a Frosty once I knew it was coming on.) Great post.

  11. Buy stock in Apple, or Microsoft!! You are the only one so far to have given the BEST advice. I have no one to blame since I even knew someone who told me to invest in Microsoft and I didn’t listen (what 20-year old thinks about investing? Oh yeah. Rich ones!)

    And that bitch Wendy and her crazy boyfriend Ronald (as in McDonald) are both to be avoided at all costs.

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