Sunday, October 21, 2012

Advice My Mother Never Gave Me

I am 44 years old.

I was born in 1968. The same year Volkswagen introduced the
automatic transmission in the Beetle. It was a great year.
In some ways I am more fabulous than ever. I have more experience, more confidence, and more wisdom now than I had in my 20s.

Thankfully, I think have less maturity now. Now I hand out Halloween candy dressed as a crow to frighten the neighborhood children, and I recently asked a Dallas police officer if my toy monkey could sit on his motorcycle. There's something to be said for immaturity.

I discovered fun late in life.
On the other hand, there was a lot of fabulousness about me in my 20s, too. It's just that I was mostly oblivious to it. Like a lot of young women, I held a personal definition of "awesome" that my older self finds laughably narrow. I wish someone had told me to look up and around back in the day.

When my mom was 44, I was 20. She taught me a lot, and I'm grateful for all of it, but there are plenty of things I wish she had told me when she was 44. If my 44-year-old self could go back and interact with my 20-year-old self...well, that would be creepy. But here's what I (she) would tell her (me).

1. You're beautiful.

2. Except when you try to make yourself look like somebody else's definition of beautiful. You don't look that and you never will. Why fail at looking like someone else when you're such a spectacular success at looking like you?

3. Your life won't change when you lose weight. You'll lose weight when you change your life. Also, you won't care what you weigh when you're happy.

4. The opposite of failure is not success. The opposite of failure is mediocrity. And it's way, way worse than failure.

5. Those people who intimidate you? You have no idea what they actually think of you. So don't let it affect what you think of them.

6. You get what you work for.

7. Just because something is easy doesn't mean you're good at it. Work harder. You won't believe how much better you can be.

8. Every experience is unique and valuable. But some of them will really suck.

9.  Love everyone you meet. You'll always have the love, even if the people shuffle in and out of your life.

10. Fear and doubt will never leave you. But you can totally make them your bitches instead of the other way around.

11. You're going to have an amazing daughter someday. Nothing you do between now and then will mean a hill of beans compared to what you do after she arrives. Trust me.

12. There's a huge surprise ahead. Think of the biggest surprise you can imagine, then quadruple it. There's a surprise hugely bigger than that coming up. And I'd tell you what it is, except then my 60-year-old self might come back and spoil an even bigger surprise for me. So just take it as gospel that surprises will happen, then put it out of your mind and get on with life.


You don't think it's too early to start passing this advice to Precocious Daughter, do you? I'm not sure if the whole crow thing might hurt my credibility. Maybe I should grow up a little first. It's just that I could be dead by then.


  1. Absolutely love this. Definitely some things I needed to hear today :-)

  2. Thanks, Annie Jay. That makes me feel good. :)


You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.