See that picture? That is the night of my high school graduation. You ask THAT Tonja and she would tell you that she had all of life’s mysteries, already figured out. She had graduated high school! Look at that goofy grin. I would love to slap those youthful, wrinkle-free cheeks. Silly girl.
I wrote a blog earlier this year, about turning 40. I have adjusted to entering this new decade quite well, I must say. I think it has everything to do with my youthful spirit. That and the fact that I don’t look anywhere close to 40 physically (said every 40-year-old EVER). I believe that 40 is definitely the new 30.
I sat, one day and reflected on the 20 year old version of myself. What a difference 20 years makes. If I could go back and talk to 20-year-old Tonja, what would I say to her? Believe me, there is a lot.
1. You don’t know everything. No, you don’t.
2. Stop trying to act like you know everything. It is quite annoying.
3. Don’t eat entire frozen pizzas, with Mountain Dew chasers. Take care of your body. At 40 you begin to wonder which of your bad habits from your youth, have shaved years off the back-end of your life.
4. Just wear classic hairstyles. I am still trying to explain those perms and haircuts to my children.
5. You don’t need a boyfriend to feel complete. One day you will be knee-deep in family and you will struggle to remember what you even did before. Just enjoy being YOU. That way you will be a better partner and mother later.
6. Spend lots of time with your girlfriends. One day it won’t be near as easy. You will miss them.
7. Take your time when you shave. I now have 40-year-old, scared legs. Thanks for that.
8. Wear sunscreen. Always carry it with you and reapply. I am now paying money to try to reverse all of the damage that you will do to my face. You will enjoy many weekends on the lake. Be smart, because your skin has to last a LONG time.
9. Enjoy that huge bag phone that is in your car. One day people will have tiny phones that can take VERY unflattering pictures of you. These pictures WILL be quickly uploaded to Facebook. (see below)
10. Enjoy your down time. Read a great book. You will never regret it. One day you will be glued to Facebook. AND Twitter. AND Instagram. AND Pinterest. I would explain these, but you wouldn’t believe me anyway. I know you opted out of computer class in high school because you felt like it was a passing fad. Not a genius move.
11. Take lots of pictures. I know it is a pain to drop a camera roll at Walmart and wait a week for your pictures to come back. One day though, you will be 40. 40 year old you will think 20-year-old you is beautiful. And skinny. Take some pics in a bikini. Trust me.
12. Be nice to your mother. She is not as dumb as you think. One day she will not be as young as she is now. Watching your parents age is hard.
13. Stop buying new sports cars every two years. There is a term called upside down and that is you. One day you will learn to pick a good one and stick with it. Stop living completely in the moment. You will not BELIEVE the bus that you are going to drive one day.
14. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it. No 20-year-old girl should have a $500 purse. Unless her daddy is rich. And yours is not.
15. Keep a journal or try writing something. You never know, you might actually enjoy it one day.
16. Have a teachable spirit. There is so much to learn in the world. You don’t always have to learn everything the hard way. Those who have walked before you, are great teachers.
17. The world is not black and white. It is a canvas of beautiful shades of gray. (Oh, and that will be an interesting book one day, too).
18. You have a Southern drawl, embrace it. Trust me, when you move away from home, people will love it. They will ask you to say words like y’all, aunt, caramel, pajamas and caught. Be proud of what makes you who you are. Be proud of where you came from. It’s not a cart, it’s a buggy.
19. At some point you are going to puke in public. Don’t worry, no one actually cares. They will forgive you. One day you will have people puking all over YOU.
20. You are going to make a whole bunch of stupid decisions and that is perfectly okay. I have turned out pretty good in spite of your shenanigans.
Isn’t it funny looking back now, how little we actually knew about life at 20? Yet we thought we had it all figured out. Now at 40, I feel like I have so much left to learn.
What do you wish you could say to 20-year-old you?