On NPR today, I heard about a young women named Cassie in her twenties asking her friends in their thirties and forties to write letters to their 20-something selves in order for her to be inspired/know what to do with her life/know what not to do with her life. The letters are collected here on her blog. It reminded me of that episode of Sex and the City, "Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty Something Women" At the time it aired, I was smack dab in the middle of my twenties, about to hit the quarterlife milestone of 25. I didn't identify with Carrie and her friends at all. Now, when I watch reruns of "Sex and the City" on TBS, I cringe at how much I identify with Carrie and her friends. And how little I paid attention to their warnings while I was in my twenties. Dammit.
So my dear Cassie, as much as I'd love to say that you are going to learn so much from these letters that you will never make the mistakes that we made throughout our twenties, I'm sorry. I just can't say that. Unfortunately, you need to go through the stuff in your twenties, and thirties and forties and beyond, in order to build the totally awesome woman that you are supposed to be. Plus I'm almost a little afraid that your social experiement might rip a hole in the space time continuim, so please be careful with all this knowledge. Like Marty McFly careful.
Except I'm really not kidding about the sunscreen everyday thing. That's the type of mistake that doesn't build character. It just makes you look all wrinkly in your sixties.
Dear 20-something Ilana,
Hello from your future self! Isn't the internet a miracle? Someday it will be everywhere. Take a break from it every once in a while. And no you don't need to have internet on your phone.
First things first, you need to start wearing sunscreen every day. And I'm not talking just about on your face. Hands and decolletage. Repeat after me. Hands and decolletage. You probably don't even know what the heck decolletage is but trust me you will someday. It will have freckles and annoy you because it's a different color than your face. And this is not just because you start working as a skin therapist (WHATWHATWHAT?) in your thirties.
Second, Proactiv is awesome. Not everything that you buy off of TV is going to be as awesome (NADS, Shamwow, Magic Bullet) but sometimes things work out. It's kind of a metaphor for everything that happens to you in your twenties. Not everything, most definitely, but a couple of things are totally awesome. You are going to kiss a lot of frogs and then meet a prince. You're going to be stuck in a crappy job but meet some friends that you'll have for life. You're going to get into a car accident but end up buying your first car all by yourself.
Third, you really should start writing everyday. I know this sounds cliched but when you finally start in your thirties, it's the most wonderful fulfilling life changing thing you could ever do. And can you imagine where you will be in your forties if you start writing every day in your twenties? Pulitzer! Academy Award! Or maybe just a working writer. Which would be an amazing accomplishment because in the future, books will turn into digital disposable commodities just like music. Yeah, I said music. Don't worry about how you don't buy too many CDs since they'll be dead and gone in less than a decade. You should, however, buy at least one CD from the following bands if you really want that prince to swoon: R.E.M., Roxy Music, The Police, U2 and especially the Beatles .
Finally, I know you laugh your ass off when Scott Peterson shows you his "blog" in 2000 which basically is a boring looking website where he posts pictures of his travels around the world. Stop laughing. Start blogging. That can be your excuse to write everyday. Maybe try writing about working as a stripper. Or pick a cookbook that you like and do a recipe everyday for a year. You could even write just simple little paragraphs about all the crazy shit that your parents say. Any of those choices might land you a book/movie/TV deal.
xoxo Thirty-Five year old Ilana.