Superman did it. He flew around the Earth like a super-crazed maniac until time went backwards, so he could save the woman he loved. I’ve thought about going back in time myself. Imagine having a chance to stop the younger me from making so many stupid mistakes.
Time travel isn’t likely to happen in my lifetime; but if I were able to offer my younger self some advice when I really needed it, here’s what I’d say.
Dear 15 year old self, enjoy your life.
Your little brother just died, and you’re very sad; but things will get better. Just remember to enjoy your life. Do whatever it takes to be happy. You get one chance to do it right.
Dear 19 year old self, please wait to get married.
You’re in love, but you’re way too young to make a ’til death commitment. So what if you’re in college and your parents still won’t let you date. There’s so much more to life than settling down. Besides, in a few years you’ll be 21. You’ll be a legal adult, and things will have changed a lot.
For one thing, in the 70s young women will be more interested in careers than husbands. You can cohabit or do a trial marriage. They’ll be so trendy that magazines will invent cute terms for them like POSSLQ (Persons of the opposite sex sharing living quarters.) Your parents and minister won’t like it, but eventually they’ll stop calling it “living in sin,” and you won’t feel the pressure to marry.
P.S. You and your first hubby will have a beautiful son, but you’re still going to get divorced.
Dear 25 year old self, save your money. Your family doesn’t need all that junk!
As a loving wife/mother, you’ll want to give in to the inherited urge to spend huge chunks of cash on tokens of love. You’ll buy expensive toys, clothing.. shoes, or whatever trendy gadget your kids lust after.
You’ll fund family outings, intrastate and overseas school trips. You’ll want to buy your husbands– both of them– perfect gifts each holiday season, but don’t do it! Save your money for your kids’ college educations (your future daughter will earn a PhD), or just hang onto it. You’ll need cash when you get old.
Dear 30 year old self, love your family but don’t be a martyr.
You, dear Carol, were nurtured into the fine art of sacrifice by doting parents and 10 siblings. But giving up everything for the sake of someone else is a lot of hard work. Mom and Dad really did give until it hurt, but you don’t have to do that.
I hate to spill the beans, but by the time you hit 36, you’ll be struggling through divorce number two. By 40 you will leave your corporate salary behind. By 45 you’ll be teaching at an inner city ministry.
At 50 you’ll give up dating completely. By 60 your kids will be grown with spouses and kids of their own. You’ll be broke, and most of the sacrifices that you made in the name of wife and mother will have long since faded from everyone’s memory but yours. Stop the martyr madness before it starts.
Dear 50 year old self, don’t give up on men yet?
You’ve had a rocky road in the romance department: Two exes, and that tall handsome Mr. Wonderful who you stuck with for nearly a decade. Then there was that crazy jazz D.J. from Cleveland who kicked down your door because you wouldn’t let him in….. On second thought, maybe you should leave men alone. Enough is enough, isn’t it?