Way Back Time Machine Moment

JAH80sThis week I did two career day talks at a high school. One of the students asked me what advice I would give myself in high school. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I tell my students to be brave, to take risks, but really, what would I tell the younger Julie?

  1. Take the business minor. You’ll need it later. But you’re right about trigonometry.
  2. Enjoy the shoulder pads. They aren’t coming back, and you rock them.
  3. Red lipstick always works.
  4. You’re perfect just the way you are. Honestly, I have been on a diet for most of my life, and didn’t need to be back then. I was fine.
  5. Regrets are such a waste of time. Both having them, and avoiding them.
  6. Being nice and being kind aren’t the same thing. You don’t always have to be nice, you always need to be kind.
  7. Take risks. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail, or someone says no. And really, how bad is that?
  8. Worrying about what other people think is such a waste of time. You can’t control it. All you can control is how you behave. Behave well.
  9. Your life won’t work out the way you expect. It will be great, but different. Trust fate.
  10. You know that dream of being a writer? It works out.

So, what would you tell your younger self?

41 Thoughts

  1. 1. You’ll look back at your class photo and see that you were not ugly. You will realize you were pretty, and you will cry.
    2. Pretending to be stupid was probably not a good strategy, but it works out anyway.
    3. Those psychology books you read? Yes, a little geeky, but you will you will build a career out of your interest. Not right away. You will do all those other things you dreamed about first. Theatre. Horses. Singing and dancing. Films. You’ll even do a comic routine.
    4. After a few years of this you’ll go to college. Really. And no one will mind that you were at the bottom of your high school class.
    5. You will learn that you can regroup and start over. At any time in your life. It will take most of your days to learn this is a survival strategy, and you will be happy.
    6. Did you hear that? You will be happy.
    7. That day your mother let you go swimming alone in the river? You call on that memory throughout your life. It reminds you that you are strong and able to make good decisions.
    8. You will be who you know you are. It will be hard getting there, but you will let go of that self that isn’t you.
    9. You will be relieved, and no longer sorry, to learn who you are.
    10. Life will be better.

  2. Number 6 is my favorite, especially for women who are trained to “be nice.” Nice gets you into trouble. Kindness keeps you out of it. This list is brilliant, Jule!

  3. Edith, that’s the one thing I do not have and dearly wish for. Neither of my grandmothers wrote down recipes–they eyeballed everything. My mother tried for years to replicate her mother’s tea cakes and never got it right. The recipe is lost forever.

  4. Love your advice, Julie. And Reine’s are brilliant, too! Mine: Be yourself, even if that means being different AND Try not to lie to yourself.

  5. Julie, great list! I completely agree with #3! My list would include: Don’t worry, being a shy kid with a bunch of imaginary friends and a towering collection of books is really a sort of an internship for your future.

  6. Terrific list, Julie! And of course, hilarious. You rock, with or without shoulder pads.

  7. Mine would be: Go ahead and wear your glasses so you can see the people you are passing in the hall. You look okay in them. And be kinder. Great list Julie!

  8. Relax. There are people who will never like you, and it’s not worthy trying to make them. On the other hand, there are people who will become your best friends for the rest of your life, and you never know when you’ll meet them.

  9. As a business major, I will second number 1. I wish more people tried to understand business.

    My advice to my younger self? Get up and get going so you can get to work on time. (And that was my younger self of two hours ago.) Have you sensed a theme in my comments around here. I’m not a morning person, and getting up in the morning is hard.

    1. LOL. Mark.

      I am not a morning person, either. I always say that all the years I was working (at an office), I felt every morning as if I’d been shot out of a cannon.

  10. Love your list, especially #6, like so many others. Only thing to add: Don’t be afraid to love passionately! Be it your avocation, or some other person. Love may hurt upon occasion, but you will only find the best part of you if you love passionately.

  11. Wise words from a wise woman. My faves are the shoulder pads and the lipstick. But if ONLY our younger selves could internalize our older wisdom. Kids: listen to julie. She knows what she’s talking about.

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