Which means ten years ago....TEN WHOLE YEARS AGO.... I was turning 18. Oh, 18. I remember you. Bright-eyed.
And yet, here it is. The day I turn 28. Had you told the 18-year-old version of myself what I would look like, what I would have been through, and who I would be becoming as a 28 year old, I would have laughed hysterically at you. If only, if only the 28 year old me could have a conversation with the 18-year-old me a decade ago, I would have been surprised to hear myself say these things about myself (huh, I'm confused?). This is probably how those conversations would go...
You will eventually want practical gifts. 28 year-old-me: Hey, 18-year-old me, Happy Birthday!
18-year-old-me: Yeah, Happy Birthday! Here's to us!
28 Y.O.M.- So, what kind of presents did you ask for?
18 Y.O.M- Oh, okay, so you know that sparkly turquoise shirt at Charlotte Russe? That. And this chunky bracelet I saw in the window of the jewelry store. And I totally want lots of flowers. And chocolates. And I want everyone to make a big deal and take me out for drinks and expensive food and limo rides. You know, the basic stuff. Why, what did you ask for? 28 Y.O.M- Oh. well number one thing is new tires on my car. They are totally bald, and everytime I drive in the rain I have to start talking to God outloud to make sure he has at least one eye on my and the car. Also, I reallllllly reallllllly want a double-barreled tumbling composter (I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish!!!). Also, I totally need some new underwear. You know, just black, cotton, bikini cut. No biggie.
18 Y.O.M- Oh. Well. That sounds...nice.
28 Y.O.M- Yeah. Actually, it is.
You will still be single.
18 Y.O.M- So, tell me everything about our life! I totally want to know about our husband. Please tell me he has dark hair. And is big enough to pick us up. And that he makes lots of money.
28 Y.O.M- Well, about that. We aren't married yet.
18 Y.O.M- Whaaaaat!?!? You're joking, right? Oh wait, I get it...we are engaged, just not married.
28 Y.O.M- Nnnnope. Not even close. We aren't even dating anyone right now.
18 Y.O.M- I think I'm going to puke.
28 Y.O.M- No no no, listen, it's really okay.
18 Y.O.M- "Okay?" How can you say that? If we aren't married by the time we are 28, all of the good men will either be married or on the verge of developing Alzheimers! ((Sob, sob, sob. Sound of popping another cork)).
28 Y.O.M- There, there, 18-year-old-me. Its really a good thing. Trust me. If you had gotten married at 21, or 24, or even 26, it would have been a disaster. We would totally have been divorced by now. You had no idea how to be a good wife. I'm finally just learning about myself at age 28. I am SO thrilled to not be married yet.
18 Y.O.M- Whatever.
You will be managing finances for a living.
18 Y.O.M- So, if we aren't married, we probably have some awesome, cutting edge creative job where we get to use our writing skills, right?
28 Y.O.M- Well, I wouldn't really say "creative". Or "use our writing skills" so much. But we do manage state-controlled finances including grants, trust funds, endowments, scholarships, and general funds. We are responsible for creating budgets, reporting on actuals, and answering to the spending of every single dollar of that money, which totals well over $1 million dollars.18 Y.O.M- You're joking. We barely scraped through our high school math classes. Thank the Lord for perky boobs and high school coaches who doubled as math teachers. We learned early on to either flirt with the teacher so he would doctor our grades, or flirt with the smartest boy in class so we could copy his homework every day. Those were the only two things that got us through math. 28 Y.O.M- I know. Trust me, I remember.
18 Y.O.M- Sooo, what happened.
28 Y.O.M- Honestly, I have no idea. How the stink did we get here? (Cue Talking Heads "Once In A Lifetime" song in our heads.)
You will be living with your mother.
18 Y.O.M- Well, I mean, I guess that's okay. Our job isn't everything. I bet we make slammin' money, and live in some kind of great bachelorette pad, right? 28 Y.O.M- We live with mom.
18 Y.O.M- Exsqueeze me?
28 Y.O.M- Yeah. But actually, it is awesome. We bought this cute little house together. And there is great veggie garden. She is the best roommate we ever had. And trust me, I know. We went through at least 12 roommates. She takes the cake.
18 Y.O.M- That is so lame. I could totally NOT have sex with my boyfriend while my mom in the same house.
28 Y.O.M- Yyyyyeah, about that...
You will be getting crunchier.
18 Y.O.M- I'm sorry. This is just a bit much for me. None of this comes close to anything I dreamt about. Here, pass me that can of aerosol hairspray really quick so I can fix my hair. Then we will jump in my gas-guzzling car and head on down to Dutch Family Restaurant to eat an entire artificially flavored, preservative-stuffed, transfatty-filled Banana Cream Pie. (Yes, W.A.C. friends, that was just a Dutch Family reference...just for you!) Who cares, right?
28 Y.O.M- Well, at 28, we actually do care. We aren't off the deep-end yet. But just wait...the older you/I get, the more we find ourselves concerned with the food we eat, the chemicals we put on and in our body, the cleaning agents we use, what we put on my garden and lawn, etc.
18 Y.O.M- Oh my gosh. You sound like some hippy-dippy, crunchy granola loving free bird. 28 Y.O.M- I know. But seriously. Our body is paying for the crap you are putting in it now. And the world is only getting dirtier and more toxic the older we get. Please. Back away from the Banan Cream Pie.
And even though 18-year-old me would have been horrified at the list I just rattled off, the 28-year-old me knows that I am more happy, more fulfilled, stronger, wiser, and more blessed than I could have even imagined possible at 18.
Not that I wouldn't kill to have that 18 year-old body back. ;)
But I've never been happier.
Thanks to everyone for making my road to 28 an amazing trip.
Cellulite and Tell You Right,
Me, at 18. Ten stinkin' years ago. Ten. Years.Note the absence of underarm flab and the perky, bra-free boobs. Nevermore, nevermore.
Totally unaware of the crazy ride I am about to embark on over the next decade.
Me and mom in the hospital right after I was born. My favorite things about this photo...the rotary phone. Mom's complete embrace of the 80's hair. And how stinkin' large my head was.