I remember when 50 seemed so old. When my brother turned 50, I sent him a batch of his favorite cookies–Christmas wreaths made from Corn Flakes and melted marshmallows–but I dyed them black. He didn’t get it. Humor is subjective.
What does the future hold? As the Magic 8 ball says, “Reply is hazy, try again.” Despite my accomplishments, the marketplace views me as unseasoned and untested, yet assumes I hold unreasonable expectations of advancement and compensation. There you have it. 50 really is the new 20.
I have HuffPo in my Facebook feed, so I’ve read countless women’s letters to their 20 year-old selves,. I hate to be repetitive. I wonder if my 20 year-old self might have some words of wisdom for my older self. Hear that, 20 year-old Jeannine? What do you say?
Thanks for asking. So much wisdom is lost to the ages. Listen up, b*^#$.
1. Wine coolers are totally sophisticated and cool. Have another one. If you keep one foot on the floor the room will eventually stop spinning.
2. Clothes look better with a little shoulder pad action. Very authoritative.
3. Aqua Net, Extra Hold.
4. You can save money by highlighting your own hair. Get a friend to help! No one will know you skipped the salon. Use the money you save to buy more wine coolers.
How on earth did I make it to 30, let alone 50?
I should have known you’d turn out all judgy and condescending.
Hard to believe, given the depth of your wisdom.
*Sigh* Fine, I’ll bust out the deep stuff.
5. You don’t know everything, and neither does everyone else. But they don’t know you don’t. You aren’t required to warn them.
6. There is no harm, however, in admitting that you’re wrong. The more you practice, the easier it gets.
7. Professor Apple is right, you should be a writer.
This is a little more useful, young self.
But wait, there’s more!
8. If you have something to say, just say it. Even if class participation isn’t part of your grade. Being wrong is better than being invisible, and it takes infinitely greater courage. Besides, when’s the last time you were wrong?
You don’t want the answer to the last part.
Can I finish, please? You need to learn not to interrupt.
I’m afraid I’m still working on that one.
9. Don’t stop learning just because you have to graduate.
10. Don’t be so afraid. Woman up. If you’re going to fail, go big. It will make for a better story. After all, you’re 50. You’re old. Get a move on.
Easy for you to say.
That’s because I’m not afraid of screwing up. I do it all of the time. Perhaps you’ve forgotten.
No. It’s just that when you’re younger, the universe expects it.
Nah. It’s that when you’re older, you forget that the only person tallying your mistakes is you.
Younger self–you aren’t as clueless as I thought.
I take back the judgy comment. Sort of. Go be a badass.
And Happy Birthday. The wine cooler is on me.
Photograph “Pretty Coolers” by Natalie Litz © 2008 Creative Commons/Flikr