Dear 20-Year Old Me

by Chloe Jeffreys · 90 comments

in Women in Midlife

There’s a new book coming out based on a blog where people write letters to their teen selves called Dear Teen Me. I seriously considered writing to my teen self, but I’m pretty sure my Teen-Me-then won’t listen to the Old-Me-now anymore than she was willing to listen to any of the other Old-Them-thens who tried to talk some sense into her.

So, I decided I’d time-travel back to where it might do the most good.

Dear 20-year old Chloe,

Sweetheart, you’ve really done amazing so far considering that our teenaged self’s only goal was getting the hell out of our parents’ house. I think 17-year old us did as well as could be expected given the circumstances, and we both owe her a deep debt of gratitude for having the c0jones it took getting out.

Your decision to live with the Frenchman has been brilliant! He’s much better than our previous roommate. You remember him? The one who stayed up all night making homemade bullets?

The Frenchman has provided you with a finishing school education I doubt you could have gotten from homemade-bullet guy.

You’ve learned so much about the finer things in life–wine pairing, good table manners, eating steak RARE, and engaging in fascinating small talk while looking very, very pretty. These skills will serve you well the rest of your life.

But you are about to make our first real mistake, and it is going to be a doozy. You won’t realize how HUGE a mistake until it is much too late, and the rest of us will be left wondering for the rest of our life, “WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?

No, this isn’t about you trying to figure out if you’re a lesbian. You’re not, but go ahead and give that a try. Trust, me, your problem isn’t men. It’s you.

After you break-up with the Frenchman–sorry, but it’s coming soon, and it’s going to be ugly—you’ll have the option of living in the house in Mission Beach or moving in with this older man who will appear as though he were a knight on a white horse.

For God’s sake, DON’T GET ON THAT HORSE!

This one decision sets your feet on a path that will lead you into so much heartache. And the 50-year old me will be left scratching my head wondering why you made this decision. Your rent at the beach house will be impossibly cheap, and you’ll have a job where you can afford it. You don’t need to get on that horse!

The only remotely plausible excuse I can come up with is Princess Diana. But just because Diana is your age and marrying a guy a decade older than her doesn’t mean it is a good idea for you. Look, it isn’t going to go well for her, and it sure as shit isn’t going to go well for you.

Yes, you do look stunning in your dress, but…

…your marriage to this “knight in shining armor” will last a measly six months, and in the end you run off with a drug dealer and almost get yourself killed!

Look, you will make it to the other side. But you’ll be left scarred, and you’ll hate yourself for a very long time.

You will gain wisdom.

Wisdom is something people say they want, but if they understood the price they’d pick apples instead.

Thanks to you, I’ll have wisdom in spades.

Aside from almost getting yourself killed, and doing things that are against your morals, you are going to regret tanning more than anything else. Except cocaine. Take a good look at those big, plump boobs of yours and kiss them good-bye because cocaine is going to take them from you and you won’t see them again unless milk is spurting from them.

You will be right about jelly shoes, Amway, and est. You’ll be wrong about E.T. People are going to LOVE E.T. (?????)

You won’t be an actress or a dancer, but you will be a terrific mother. And you will find love.

You make peace with your mother, but not with your father.

I can’t tell you that by 50 we have it all worked out, because we don’t. In fact, in some ways I feel as confused as you do. Right about now I wish our 70-year old self would show up and tell us how it all turns out.

Love, 50-year old Chloe


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