I turned 50 this past weekend. I'm still wondering how that happened; I was only 30 a couple of months ago, I swear.
I'm happy enough to be 50; let's face it, the only way to avoid being 50 is dying, and I'm not up for that. There are certain perks to being 50, like no one expects me to look good in a bathing suit, and my true "cranky old crazy" personality doesn't have to be reined in any more. I don't even have to pretend to have a waist, and going to bed at 8 pm will be perfectly acceptable.
I've learned a few things in 50 years; I wish I'd known then what I know now.
Dear 13 Year Old Self:
No one is looking at you. I know you are incredibly self-concious, and that the rest of the world is watching your every move and judging you harshly, but they're not. You are. Everyone else is starring in their own movie, and nobody's paying any attention to you. There is no "Rule Book", and nobody else has read it, either. You can do whatever you want. Honest.
Dear 14 Year Old Self:
Friends, real friends, add value to your life and make you happy, and you do the same for them. You don't have to hang out with people you don't like.
Dear 16 Year Old Self:
That there new fangled stuff? Sunscreen? Go get some and put it on every day of your life. Your pasty, white, fish-belly Irish skin has no business being out in the sun.
Dear 19 Year Old Self:
Don't drop French in University. And that Biology course is going to be a bitch.
Dear 20 Year Old Self:
That guy who you keep running into all over campus, who always makes a point of talking to you, even though he has nothing to say? He likes you, you idiot. Smile and talk back. Jeesh.
Dear 22 Year Old Self:
You know that voice that says "put down the drink and go home"? Listen to it.
Dear 24 Year Old Self:
It's all going to be okay. No decision is cast in stone, you can change your mind later.
Dear 25 Year Old Self:
Start saving for retirement now. Yes, really. You don't need another pair of shoes, you will need to eat when you're 70.
Dear 26 Year Old Self:
When that guy you meet at that dance asks you out, say no. And then run away.
Dear 27 Year Old Self:
Relax, you've already met Prince Charming. He's funny and nice and you actually already like him very much, but it's a bit complicated at the moment; he lives with another woman, among other things. But it will all work out in the end, and you two will build a great life together. There really is a "happily ever after", but you are going to have to display some patience in the meantime, which you are not great at, and maybe you could work on that, too.
Dear 30 Year Old Self:
The next few years are going to be very busy and exciting, and you are going to have everything you ever wanted.
It's all going to be fabulous.
Your 50 Year Old Self