Recently read this somewhere – Every human being is stuck at a certain age in their heads. What age are you stuck at?
Now, it’s probably different ages at different times for different people.
But it got me thinking. Right now, I think I’m stuck at 26.
And after watching too many episodes of Big Bang Theory and especially one about time travelling, I wondered – if I could go back in time, what would I tell my 26-year-old self?
Technically, this is a letter to myself now. Because I’m 26 in my head no? And more conundrums. So anyway, here goes.
i) This too shall pass. No seriously. You’re stuck in a job you’re scared you will never get out of. You’re stuck with a person you’re increasingly fed up with. In a year, both will be gone. Sometimes I think my best memories of advertising come from that job. Unbelievable isn’t it? So. RELAX. Till 2011, things are fine. I think things are fine beyond this too, but I can only confirm that in a letter from my 29+1-year-old self.
ii) Oh yeah. Till you’re 29, you keep rounding age up. As soon as you hit 29, you’re going to start thinking about 29+1, 29+2, etc. Enjoy these halcyon birthdays. Don’t make faces and not go out with people who want to take you out. ALWAYS accept invitations. ALWAYS. You can walk out mid way. But if you don’t go, how will you know? What do you mean that’s a bad rhyme? Shut up! And take notes.
iii) You know how you already dislike advertising mightily? Well, that’s not going to change. Start working on a book, a degree, a hobby, a play, articles – anything. I don’t know if it will change anything career wise, but even writing one article a year will give you a sense of achievement. And I mean girl, there are days coming when you will contemplate suicide and cutting and drugs. Just contemplate. But this annual article might help you not cry so much. If you have something concrete on paper, you feel better about yourself. And that brings us to
iv) You know how bitching is so much fun? And sometimes you’re rude to people you don’t like? Yeah. That’s going to haunt you. Like the time you stupidly kept calling that guy when you were 21. The haunt date of your dating mistakes come with an expiry and forgiveness date. But I can guarantee you that when you say or do something hurtful, the person it most hurts, is you. Your soul will never allow you to forget it. I know. It’s so reiki isn’t it? But true.
v) At this point, you, the 26-year-old child, is probably thinking “Gosh, the old me is so irritatingly zen.” Firstly, I’m not old, you bitch. Secondly, nope. Not zen. Still a long way to go pal. All the fights you’re having with your parents? About marriage and losing weight and idiot arranged marriage candidates? Not over. Not by a long shot. The good news is, you make up with your sister. Sort of. When she calls. Oh, you should really tell your sister she goes to America. Of course, the jury is out as to whether she stays there. But yeah.
vi) You know the boss that you’ve made the centre of your work life? The one whose mood dictates if you have a good day or a bad day? The one you spend your day avoiding or trying to impress? After a year, he will not matter. Yeah. Even the slightest. The worst punishment for him is one he inflicts on himself. So forget him. And oh, his life is far more fucked up than yours can ever be. So pity him. Also, you will never stop trying to understand why people do what they do. But in some cases like him, and the other girl at work who blocks you after a point, don’t bother. There’s no point. Yes. Soon, you will understand the wisdom of “leaving well enough alone.” At least on some occasions. PLEASE add spur of the moment hair cuts to this list of occasions.
vii) Oh and talking about work. SAVE EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF WORK THAT YOU DO. I cannot stress this enough. In 3.5 years, all those campaigns you’re worried about will go through round after round with idiot CDs from Mumbai who have more attitude than manners. Brains are also debatable. But the little business owners, the IT guys, the indie businesses – they want to see your BROCHURE work and your internal com work. At 29, I have NOTHING. Please save every single piece of work you do. At the very least, when you wonder where 7.5 years have gone, you will look at what is hopefully a full USB drive and can at least know where your youth went. Also when you show off those glossy brochures you can charge double. Really.
viii) Remember that guy who asked you out last year? And you said no because you were afraid you weren’t thin enough? And intelligent enough. And funny enough. And intellectual enough. I could slap you for that one. Say yes. Go out. You could get laid. Or get a funny story. God knows there are never enough of those.
ix) You know the office sluts who make you want to cry? Ignore them. You will realise that there is a little iron fist in your head that will not allow you to do what they do. Resistance is futile. Accept it. You have certain values. And fighting your inner you? Just makes all four of us unhappy. (What four? You, your inner you, me, my inner you. Obviously, our math skills have improved.) So you will always be the girl who isn’t drunk, who can’t and won’t get drunk. But you will always be the one who knows she can get home safely on her own. You will be the one who doesn’t have to embarrass others or put people out to get dropped home. Yes, there will come a time when that happens to these girls too. You’ll also realise they have issues that go far deeper than weight. And you will be thankful. So make life a little easier. Let go.
x) Last one. When you go to Singapore next year, buy two Creative Zens. I have an Apple iPod. Yes. I know. I know. Stop screaming. Yes. YES, AN iPOD. No it is not the spawn of Satan. iTunes is. But there’s no choice. Buy two Zens so one can replace the other. Else you’re gonna have your soul sucked out by iTunes.
I think these are enough to start. Honestly, I can’t see life going very differently no matter what you do. I’m still confused about destiny and fate versus free will. And although I am much much more spiritual, I have far less tolerance for the rituals our community practices. Far lesser. Anyway, the Time Machine gives me only 10 points and a preamble. Now, I must get back to the future.
What? Yes, that movie still rocks. No, Michael J Fox doesn’t get cured. We’re still waiting. Great Scott!