Several months back, Chris, one of my favorite reads, asked me to guest post. He gave me a jumping off point-- 1995. 1995? Many of you might have taken the hop over to his place to see my post but here it is for those of you unfamiliar with using links. Yes Grandma, I mean you.

In 1995, I was twenty-one, finishing my last year of college. I had taken the LSAT and scored in the top 7%* in the country, I had limitless options as far as law schools went but I could not get my head around whether or not I actually wanted to be a lawyer. Did I want to travel? Tired of being poor, should I get a job? I know one part of me wanted to write, even then, however, in my family “artistic” pursuits got shelved for “real jobs”. I never really thought it was an option. I had so many people telling me what I should and shouldn't do that I couldn't hear myself think.

I look back to those days and hardly recognize myself. Those were probably some of the most difficult days for me, that tumultuous transition between childhood and adulthood. Not legal adulthood mind you, but adult in the sense that you truly take care of yourself and make your own decisions. I was terribly unsure of myself back then. I was still living under the roof of my very opinionated mother, running almost every decision past her because I didn't trust myself. I was, and continue to be, the extroverted introvert. Shy and slightly uncomfortable in social situations, being funny and gregarious is my defense mechanism to overcome that anxiety. I only appear socially adept.

I thought about how much of what I know now I wish I had known then. I imagine sitting down with my twenty-one year old self. What would I tell her if I had the chance? How could I better prepare her? I'm sure the things I'd say will continue to evolve, but at thirty-five, this is what I'd pass along.

1-You are not the only one who is insecure and unsure of yourself, in this regard, you are just like everyone else which should be comforting.

2-Don't be ashamed or embarrassed about being smart, later on you'll find the best men like the smart girls.

3-You need some breathing room away from your family to figure out who you are and what you want.

4-With regard to said family, just so you know, they're not always right.

5-Tennis? Volleyball? Ballet? So what if you're hopelessly uncoordinated? Especially since really, you're not, your just so self conscious that you get yourself all torqued up and forget to move your body. These are things you want to try, so what if you look silly, what do you care? Guess what? Most people are too self-absorbed to care what you're doing anyway.

6-Stop being so afraid of failing. You think half the people out there are misguided and misinformed anyway so why do you care what they think?

7-You think you're not pretty and you need to figure out why you think that because it's not true.

8-Go easy on the carbs and you'll lose that babyfat. Stop eating salads with ranch dressing and cheese, in spite of what you think, this is not going to help you lose weight and frankly, it tastes awful.

9-Your parents can only give you the tools they have so you are not going to be armed with everything you need. Some things you'll figure out the hard way, other tools you can get through some keen observation, the latter is far easier.

10-You got the short straw in the dad department. His behavior has absolutely nothing to do with you. You don't deserve it, you didn't do anything to cause it. You are not difficult to love and in time, you will figure out how to trust men again.

11-With regard to men, you seriously have to expect more.

12-That thing you do, you know the thing I'm talking about, you need to stop doing it on the first date.

13-Get yourself a good therapist(see #9 & #10)

14-Clean up those eyebrows already, bushy brows are so 1995.

15-One word, sunscreen.

16-Quit smoking today.

17-Trust your gut. Whether it's school, men, friends, you know more than you think you do.

*I never actually attended law school so that 7% is the sum of my bragging rights.

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Arizaphale said... April 6, 2009 at 8:26 PM  

Loved this on the second reading too. Much of this advice I should have given to myself in 1985. And I did do Law, but for no better reason than people expected me to. I didn't bother finishing it, so maybe I did learn something along the way.

Anonymous said... April 6, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

Excellent job. Although, you know that 1995 Chris would have rolled her eyes and been all, like, "WhatEVER, who asked the old broad what she thought?" I wish you'd been around to tell 1995 Ginny what to do. Except she didn't do that thing 1995 Chris did on first dates. Ahem.

A Free Man said... April 6, 2009 at 10:26 PM  

Good to read this one again. I should have listened to that number 16 myself. Dammit.

Rassles said... April 6, 2009 at 10:49 PM  

You want to talk to 1995 Rassles? The snotty little fourteen-year old know it all, who hated everyone and everything and thought she was smarter than the rest of the world?

I am embarrassed by that little bitch.

Sandi said... April 7, 2009 at 7:20 AM  

1995? I was 6 years out of college already. I'm old.

well read hostess said... April 10, 2009 at 7:27 AM  

most excellent. as always. I love this and will probably steal it at some point, but it seems useful as a mental exercise for everybody to try.


Gwen said... April 25, 2009 at 3:48 AM  

I don't know how I missed this one when it was posted on April 6th, but I did. Well, you ARE a writer, so I guess your decision not to go to law school was the right one. I'm thinking maybe I'll write a post to the 1995 me too. (Of course giving all due credit to the inspiration :)

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