While driving the other day and stopped at a light, I observed a teenage girl on the back of a motorcycle. She clung tightly to her young male driver. Her long, blond hair blew in the wind, peeking out from under her helmet. Her white tank top showed off her tan and toned arms and thin little waist. I imagined her laughing under the protective head piece as she felt the air blow past her, tickling her skin. I was once that girl. For a moment, I got lost in the memory of being with a boy that I liked as we sped away, almost weightless in the open air. I remember holding on tightly with equal parts of fear and excitement.
It is hard to imagine that girl once existed in the woman that now drives a minivan and says things like, “We are not even backing out of the driveway until everyone is buckled up!” “No lollipops while driving! You could choke if we have to stop quickly!”
With every gray hair, stubborn extra pound, and wrinkle, comes a lesson learned and wisdom gained. Here are some things that, if I could, I would tell my younger self:
Rule #1: Don’t ever forget to wear high SPF sunscreen no matter how much you want to be as tan as your friends. You will realize the importance of this when you are 35-plus and still getting carded for buying liquor. You’re welcome, in advance.
Rule #2: Try not to act so appalled when you see the stretch marks on your mother’s stomach. Your future holds three children and your stomach is going to look the same.
Rule #3: Floss every night, even when you are tired. You will only go 38 years without any cavities if you break this rule. If you are too tired to do them all, just do the back teeth.
Rule #4: Don’t be anxious to try new foods! These will all be things that you love and will just want to deprive yourself of later in life. Stick to fruits and raw vegetables.
Rule #5: Ignore rule #4. You’ve got to enjoy life and its experiences. Eat in moderation and exercise often to stay healthy.
Rule #6: Heartbreak is like heartburn. It is hard to endure but goes away.
Rule #7: If you are always laughing, no one can tell if you have wrinkles.