Friday, September 12, 2008

Would I really want to be 18 again if I could?

In my attempt to get more organized, I have been going through various cabinets and drawers in our house to clean things out (yeah, and make more room for new stuff...isn't that how it goes?) Today, I went through my nightstand, which you'd think would be stuffed full of things I use on a daily basis. Nope, not my nightstand. It's a catch-all for all the crap that I don't know where to put...some people throw that stuff in the garbage, I throw mine in the nightstand. I'm an admitted pack-rat.

Anyway, I came across a letter that I didn't recognize, yet it had my handwriting on the outside, addressed to myself. The date on the envelope from the post office stamp was June 5, 1992. Huh? Then I remembered what it was. Back in high school, in my senior year, on the last day of school (the day before graduation), my Government teacher had us all write letters to ourselves, which she would collect and mail to us 5 years later. We were to write about our lives at that point, who are friends were, how we spent our senior year, what our future plans were and how we envisioned our lives would be like in 5 years.

I couldn't remember the last time I had read this letter. It had to be years and years ago, perhaps in 1993 or something. I honestly forgot I had it. So I became excited as I opened it, wondering what I had written to myself.

The first thing that struck me as I read it was how immature I was. And how such trivial things were so important to me. I was bitching about how mad I was at myself because I weighed 123 lbs instead of the 117 lbs I normally weighed. What I wouldn't give now to weigh 123 lbs!!! I must have looked like a freakin skeleton back then. And then I talked about the possibility of going back to that bulimic state I had been in a year earlier to lose the weight if nothing else worked. Was I really that naive?? My God, it was just 5 lousy pounds! But then again, when you're a teenager, things like that seem so important.

I also wrote about my engagement to my high school boyfriend, who I had dated for 2.5 years at the time of this letter. How could something like that slip my mind? Had I really forgotten about that? I kept re-reading that paragraph over and over, just in shock that something that was so important and exciting for me at that time had been stored deep in my memory banks, so deep that I had forgotten about it. When I look back, I can see now that it was a completely destructive and dysfunctional relationship. He treated me like garbage, he was extremely possessive, abusive (both verbally and physically), he cheated on me all the time and he had a drinking problem. I just want to go back in time and kick my own ass....there's one sentence in particular that made my stomach turn...."Right now I'm a little tired of him. I guess because he's still hanging out with XXX and YYY and his other drinking buddies. He doesn't go to AA meetings as often as I wish he would. I'm not sure if I'll still marry him if he's still drinking like he does now". HELLO!!!! "I'm not sure if I'll still marry him if he's still drinking" wonder my parents hated him and tried to convince me for what seemed like an eternity that he was a complete loser and he'd only make me miserable in the long run. They said the same thing about my ex-husband, who incidentally was not the boyfriend from high school. What can I say....I've made a lot of bad choices in my life. Thankfully, I've recovered quite well from most of them.

Reading about the highschool boyfriend, though, makes me realize that I'll probably encounter a similar situation with my daughter when she's in high school. Hopefully not to the degree that I was involved but chances are she may date a guy who's not the best boyfriend for her, someone who doesn't have her best interests at heart and/or doesn't respect her or treat her the way she deserves to be treated. When you're a teenager, it's hard to see that your parents are probably right in situations like these. I almost feel bad now for what I put my parents through with that boyfriend of mine.

On a final note, the one paragraph that had me in stitches laughing was this..."I hate to work. I'd rather stay home and raise my kids. Speaking of, I think I want three". If I knew back then what I know if staying home and raising kids isn't work?? I don't think I've ever "worked" harder in my life....this "job" is 24/7 with very few breaks, no raises, no sick days, no personal or vacation days, no salary increases and I'm lucky if I get a lunch break on most days. But then again, the benefits outweigh the endless hugs and kisses, being the first one to see my children smile, walk and all the other first milestones.

So if I could go back in time and be 18 again, would I? I can say 100% wholeheartedly NO! I don't regret the mistakes I've fact, I've learned from them and I do believe all those mistakes have made me a stronger person. But there's no way I'd want to go back and do it all over again....I'm perfectly happy with the way things have turned out, even if I didn't realize that staying home and raising kids would be "work"!


Tabbatha Rose said...

Wow we had some things in common back in HS lol.
Ill join you in that 123lb dream.
I have old notes and stuff like that packed away somewhere from way back when.
It was nice of you to share a little bit of yourself like that.

Anonymous said...

had to giggle to myself...I thought that I was going to have a marriage, a family, and a carreer in medicine when I was in high school. Today, if I get a shower, I am proud!

I wouldn't go back to 18 again for all the tea in China.

Kim said...

The ONLY reason I'd go back to 18 is because I was probably in the best shape of my life at that age, playing varsity basketball. I remember thinking in high school that I NEVER wanted to have kids, and now I've got four children and love it!

Cathy said...

So many things happened that I could not remember when I was in high school. Wow, you have something to remind you and wrote it yourself. That's amazing.

I agree with Kim. I would love to have my body back. I was pretty tiny (being Asian and 5 ft tall).

Susie said...

Um, like HOLY COW! We have some big things in common Helene-including the drinking problemed people in our lives and bulimia-WOW.
I don't have 3 kids yet, but still want them.
As for this post--AWESOME! I love how your perspective has changed and how much you've grown (and recovered) from your teen years.
I'd NEVER go back to 18 if you paid me all the money in the world.

JenniBeanV said...

I may be sad to be turning 35...but I wouldn't go back to 18 for anything!

L I S A said...

That's great to have found a letter like that. I wish I had something similiar. Or maybe I don't...

Joy said...

I wouldn't go back either, it's always fun to find things like that.

mrsbear said...

Wow, what a great little souvenir. It's like having a tiny slice of the 18 year old you hanging around. I love it but I'm with you, I would never go back. 18 lacks perspective, it's all ego and mulish stubborn thinking. I would definitely kick my own ass.

MamaBriggs said...

Great post! I just left you a blog award!

Teresa said...

I loved your flashback! It made me think of how I was. When I was in high school, I had no plan at all for marriage & family. I was going to be a career woman, none of that being held down business for me. Of course, I met my hubby junior year & that changed the course of everything. I was skinny (I remember being 105 before my prom & thinking I was heavy...if only!) with big 80's girl hair, thank god that hair changed!

Nina said...

I know I would not go back and do it all over again. I think those are some of the toughest years of our lives of course our immiturity might have something to do with why they are so tough.

Great post!

Stephanie said...

I would never want to go back and do it over again. I hated my teenage years, I did so many stupid, insecure things as a child. That I half regret now. Only 1/2 because those things made me who I am today, I just wish I was smart enough then to know better.

Anonymous said...

what a great post!!

i wuold def not go back to being 18. When I was 19 I had one of those bad horrible boyfriends. Thank GD that's over with.

thanks for sharing!

Supermom said...

This came up yesterday at my house. As I was sitting at the high school waiting for my 14 year old daughter to come out--I was thinking. Of how high school used to be for me. How I could never go back to that. I'll never be sweet 16 again. Never have my first kiss, date or ~insert first here~ ever again.
I told her as she got in the car after school, "You know I was just thinking about how I will never be your age again. I'll just get older and die.". She said, "Well that is real cheery MOM."
It's true though. I guess I really felt all of 34 yesterday coming to the realization that I am NOT invincable and that I will die OF OLD AGE.

Tess said...

I don't think I'd want to go through getting to where I am except I would have gone to Art School in Chicago which is my only regret!

Cynthia said...

I would love to be 18 again. But only if I could have the knowledge I have at 32.... There are so many do-overs I'd like to have. Not that I would change things -- I know all those past decisions got me to where I am today (and I'm very happy now). But I would like to enjoy certain situations more. Perhaps I would apply myself more in school. That type of thing. Thanks for bringing up the topic!

Casey's trio said...

I had to write a letter to myself in HS too. It is pretty amazing how naive we are as teenagers when we really thin we had it all figured out. Thank God we mature. I wouldn't go back either.

Elizabeth said...

Love this post - mainly because I can relate to every word of it! My daughters are in search of the perfect costume too...Tinkerbell and a butterfly. The baby has no opinion yet, thankfully, so she'll be easy!

Hmmm, as far as going back to 18? Maybe for a day, but I'd probably want to return to my hectic mommy life instead!

Oh, and yes the drinks were VERY good. I don't recommend the "car bomb" though. It involves Guiness beer, and shots of liquor. A really, collegey immature drink! lOL

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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