Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Decade of Advice

On the eve of turning 30...

I'm a tentative and highly selective giver of non-solicited advice. But if I could have had a sit-down with my 20-year-old self, I would have a few life-altering pieces to offer. Here they are:

There's going to be this show about a group of people stranded on an island.
At first you'll think it's a dumb premise. I mean Gilligan's Island, right? But one night when you've got the flu, you'll rent the entire first season and, for the next five years this show will work its way into every social scenario you find yourself in. On the eve of the series finale you'll wonder, "How can they ever wrap this all up in one final episode and answer all of these mysteries?" Well they can't. And they won't. (P.S. you'll watch the season finale alone in a hotel in Bangkok... just a glimpse into your future life...)

That feeling in your gut? Listen to it. It's there for a reason.
Not to be confused with "follow your heart..."  We're all aware of our five senses: touch, smell, taste, hearing, sight (this model credited to Aristotle). These are the obvious ones and they register with our conscious mind quite readily: You smell burning; you look around for fire. The definition of sense is “any system that consists of a group of sensory cell types that respond to a specific physical phenomenon and that correspond to a particular group of regions within the brain where the signals are received and interpreted." Some researchers think we have as many as 21 senses. Think about it: why can you feel when someone is looking at you? How does that possibly register? The thing is, all these little systems are firing away and sending you messages. Those messages might register with a weird feeling in your stomach or a subtle sense of dread. But the thing is, they're kind of worthless if you don't listen to them. Embrace these additional senses. Call them intuition or what you will. But it's okay to listen to them. (Remember this when your gut is nagging you during the Lost finale because you're right.)

You're going to hear about this thing called a frappuccino and you're going to be intrigued. Don't do it. Seven hundred of the 710 pounds you'll gain and lose throughout your 20s can be attributed to a very bad habit you had for about six months...

Bad things will happen. You'll be fine.
I'm not gonna lie. Some stuff gonna get nasty. There will be moments you feel like you might die. You won't and you will always be okay.

You're going to wish you started sooner.
You're going to get a lot of great ideas. Some of them you'll never do anything about. Some you'll actually turn into tangible projects. Every six months of your life you'll look back and wish you started that thing sooner. Just start.

No one cares.
Nobody is thinking about you as much as you are worried they're thinking about you. Whether you just played a role in a scandal or just accomplished something amazing, the perceptions of others just don't matter. Pick up your head and move on. Better things are coming.

You can run.
That thing where you think that some people are just built for running and others aren't isn't really all that true. Some people are built to run really, really fast. Don't worry—you're not one of these. But anyone can become a jogger. Granted you will have to start running in 30 second increments spaced between intervals of walking, but your dream of throwing on your shoes and going out for a run is more attainable than you think.

The homeless guy thing is not a passing phase.
This one is gonna stick. I still don't know what it is about you, but you will go on to name a wildly successful blog for it.

You don't have to hang on to that size 2 dress any longer.
You just aren't going to ever fit into it again. I'm sorry. It's just the way it is.

Just because you can afford it doesn't mean you should buy it.
Stuff is the worst. Don't even ever step foot in Target.

Also I just realized that I am not entering into my third decade. I just finished my third decade. I am entering into my fourth decade. Then the world went dark...

P.S. this is what you look like when you're 30.


  1. You are wise, Thirty-year-old. But I think in your letter to yourself when you are 40 you will rethink the jogging thing. Jogging sucks. And I have to disagree and hold myself up as a person who is not built to run. Short stumpy legs, weak ankles, and a comically long torso with short T-rex arms do not make for a comfortable run.

  2. Well Grandma, just remember you're another decade closer to that Senior Discount.

  3. Good advice, except you forgot to mention you would never actually go back in time and say any of this to your 20 year old self if you had the chance ;-)

  4. Also, if I could go back to my 30 year old self, I'd say 30 is really no big deal. You don't suddenly get 20 wrinkles over night and you've still got 10 whole years before you're 40.

  5. Kady's fake adopted MomJuly 24, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Ok, Miss 30 nothing. You know how I feel. Believe it or not, you are heading into the BEST years. Enjoy!

  6. I thought only petite blonde cheerleaders like my sister could go out for a run? Glad to hear it isn't true.

    1. What are you trying to say, lj? That I'm not petite and blonde?

    2. Sorry if I sounded like a biotch -- I really was talking about myself!

    3. lj-- You poor thing. I was just teasing. "Blonde" and "petite" are two things I've never been mistaken as :)

  7. Good advice Summer! And happy birthday. 30 is the new 17, which is why your post on the Fiona Apple concert came so naturally to you.


Your comments are why I get out of bed in the morning. Just kidding. But I do like them.