One of my friends (whom I’ve known since high school) did an interesting post on Facebook Tuesday, quizzing her many, many followers what they would tell their respective 15-year-old selves. I actually gave this question a lot of thought, but as for going on the Facebook “record,” I simply said that I would try not to interact with my 15-year-old self unless I passed myself off as a distant relative, kind of like Biff did in Back to the Future II.
Young Biff and his future self in Back to the Future II, the older version of Biff has passed himself off to “young” Biff as a “distant relative.”
So why would I not want to have my 15-year-old self meet me? Mainly because I wouldn’t want to “freak out” my 15-year-old self! Knowing what I know about 15-year-old me, having her meet her 46-year-old self might not be such a good idea! And did I just refer to myself in the fourth person? For starters, I was taking algebra for the second time in hopes of passing (which I would not). I was in the “concert” band, rather than the more advanced “symphonic” band like most of my friends (I would advance to the higher band the next year). I had a crush on a guy in a class ahead of me. I had to dissect a cat in anatomy/physiology class. Another saxophone player wanted to challenge me for first chair, I would end up defending my chair and she got so pissed off she QUIT BAND. I was still riding the bus to school. I was picked on for being taller than all of the other students. Some idiot in my French class thought it would be a hoot to put glue on my seat, which wound up ruining my favorite jeans (keep in mind it was hard finding jeans that fit well). I was pretty insecure and unsure of myself at 15! Approaching 15-year-old me and telling her “Hey, I’m your future self,” would be a bad idea on all counts!
Permed me at 15…(this was part of photo collage I used at my high school open house)
This is “today me.”
There may be a COUPLE of things I might tell 15-year-old me, however, but ONLY if under the guise of being a “distant cousin,” or aunt, or what have you. So here goes:
“Algebra may not help you later in life, but still try a bit harder to pass it…and try to get into Mr. Metzelaar’s class again”
Yes, I would tell 15-year-old me to give algebra more of a try. Do whatever it takes to pass the class – tutoring, etc. I certainly would not be able to help 15-year-old me pass algebra, but if I could score a decent tutor for her, I would! I would also remind her that her algebra teacher Mr. Metzelaar was a great teacher and if she just pretended to give a rat’s ass about passing the class, she probably will. And Mr. “Metz” stayed after school EVERY SINGLE DAY to help students who were struggling in his classes. This will be why he would be the only teacher I would wind up inviting to my high school open house. The following year, I would have him as my computer literacy instructor, and I got a little behind after being in a car accident. He stayed after school every day to make sure I got caught up – and PASSED THE CLASS. He clearly was not going to let me fail another one of his classes on his watch!
“You’re going to wind up getting a lot of speeding tickets, so ease up on that leadfoot, girl!”
I will not tell my 15-year-old self about the car accident I would end up having in April, 1989. I don’t think she should know too much about specific future events. But I will still advise 15-year-old me to keep her leadfoot in check. Not that she would listen to me! Who knows? Maybe by being a better driver, Dad will let you drive his 1978 silver anniversary Corvette! Or maybe it would be better not to do such a dick-teasy thing to that leadfoot!
“Your best years are ahead of you.”
This may sound like a cheesy platitude that 15-year-old me will not believe, but I will still tell her this. I will tell her that she will end up moving away from that small hick town in which she grew up and make quite a few friends who will end up becoming great friends. And I won’t give her any other “spoilers!” She needs to find her own path, just like I had to do!