I was recently having lunch with a friend and we were discussing her current work as a college professor. She asked why I hadn’t gone back to the college classroom. Yep, I was once an Adjunct Professor; I know – shocking! I lamented that I loved teaching, but I just haven’t had the time to return to campus. To be honest, it would take quite a bit of effort to get up to speed on everything that has developed in criminology over the past two decades. That seems like a lot of work and I’m just not as ambitious as I used to be.
This also got us to talking about how much things in general have changed since I was a college freshman over thirty years ago. When you start to reflect back, the view from the middle-aged cheap seats sure is fascinating. If I could go back in time, and have a conversation with my former eighteen year old self, there are a few things I would want to tell her:
1. Don't worry about the money. Money issues tend to work themselves out. You can continue to be frugal, just like your Nana, but don’t let worrying about finances define you as a person.
2. Your kid brother is a great guy. At 18 you think he is a pain in the ass. At 48 you think he is amazing.
3. Start using moisturizer. IMMEDIATELY. Come to think of it; make it a moisturizer with sun block – at least SPF 15.
4. Wait for lightning to strike. It’s a bit difficult to believe at 18, but some day you will be struck by lightning – someone will rock your world and you will go weak at the knees and you will understand what all the fuss is about. Don’t settle for anything less than being swept full force off your feet; it’s worth the wait.
5. Love FSU. Florida State may not be your first choice for the school you want to attend, but you are going to become one of its biggest fans and you will absolutely fall in love with FSU. GO NOLES!
6. Your life will not turn out as expected. You won't be a lawyer. I know you're a Virgo and you're going to obsessively plan. Doesn't matter; when you least expect it life is going to take a few surprising turns. That's just the way it works. But it sure makes things interesting.
7. Don't listen to unnecessary criticism. A freshman English professor is going to tell you that you have no writing talent. She is an idiot and thirty years later you won’t even remember her name.
8. In ten years invest in something called the "Internet." Trust me.
9. Be more adventurous. That offer for those free back-stage passes to the Prince concert, the ones you are going to turn down because you have to study: TAKE THEM. Prince is going to be huge.
10. Wear a better bra. Some day you are going to regret that lack of support.
So friends, let me hear from you. If you could go back and have a conversation with your eighteen year old self, what advice would you give her? She won’t seem to listen, but it would be worth the effort anyway, don’t you think?