I turned sixty-six last week and thought, “With what I know now, I wish I’d been there for my twenty-year-old self.” Could I go back in time, I imagine our conversation would go something like this:
So, you’re me in 46 years, eh?
I can almost see me in you.
And me in you. Good lord, you still have baby cheeks!
And you’ve got old lady jowls. Plus, look at your hair!
Hey, I earned these silver tentacles.
You look like Dad.
Fine. So, hey – is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Okay, wait – did you find someone you could trust? Someone worth loving?
Boy, did I. Wanna meet him?
Maybe later. Tell me, how did you know he was the one?
Well, he had the look.
You know, the twinkle in his eye. I could tell he was real smart but didn’t take himself too seriously. Plus he has an irresistibly irreverent presence.
Okay, if you say so. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.
Don’t hold your breath. You’ll be kissing a few frogs. Start looking in about 15 years.
Fifteen years! I have to wait 15 years! I’ll be dead by then.
Oh no you won’t.
So, did you make it to college?
I did. I went and got a two-year degree in Communications. If I had it to do over, I’d have hung in there and gotten a Bachelor’s in Behavioral Science.
Because I’m fascinated by what makes people tick.
Sure. I already know what makes them tick: hormones and fear.
There’s more, trust me. It gets real wonky. Wait until you get a load of the 45th president – hoo boy.
But enough of this — there are things I need to tell you.
Why bother? I’ll figure them out eventually.
Well, I’m going to give you the benefit of my wisdom whether you want it or not. Why do you think I came all the way back here?
Ok, shoot. But it’ll be a miracle if I remember anything; I’m high as a kite.
(Laughs) Okay, here’s the main thing: Everything comes and goes.
I already know that. It’s in that song: Everything comes and goes, like my lovers and styles of clothes
You know how your hip hurts all the time?
Do I ever.
It’s not permanent. Your hip will stop hurting one day in your late twenties.
So don’t go looking for a diagnosis or god-forbid surgery, because it’ll just go away.
I hate doctors.
I know, me too. But here’s the bad news: your other hip will begin hurting in your sixties.
Anyway, the next time you feel like killing yourself, give it a few days and it’ll pass like a bad rainstorm.
There’s going to be a next time?
Sure, and hear this — EVERYBODY thinks about it, so you’re not alone.
You’re bringing me down, man.
No, this is GOOD news! I’m trying to tell you this is good news! Don’t I look happy?
Not really. You look old.
Stop . . .
Okay, you look content.
I’ll take that.
So, is that all? Just the Joni Mitchell song? I have that album, by the way.
I know. She’s the best.
Nope, there’s more.
You know how you felt when you were five and at Nana’s for the weekend?
Oh yeah. I had everything: the dogs, the woods, my cousins, the clipped lawn, the drawer full of chocolate chip cookies, raspberries and cream, my own little chair and my own little pillow. Yeah, those were super duper weekends.
Well, you can make every day feel like that with a little practice.
How much practice?
Um, thirty years or so?
Get out. That’s enough! I mean it! You aren’t giving me any kind of hope. This is ridiculous.
I’m sorry. You’re right. You’ll just have to get there on your own.
Thanks for nothing.
I love you.
Sure you do.
Okay, one last thing.
Don’t lose your sense of humor.
What sense of humor?
Okay, yeah. That does make sense. Thanks for reminding me. And really — you need to go. See you in forty-six years.
Not if I see you first.