An interesting Daily Prompt today:
Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.
If I were to meet myself from ten years ago, she would be only fifteen. Meeting the old (young) me would be like meeting a total stranger. A whole lot of learning goes on in those years, and there is so much I could tell her…
For challenging things, I could tell her that studying French and Spanish sounds straightforward enough, but it’s actually studying language, literature, history, geography, environment, sociology and a bunch of other stuff. In two languages that are not your own. She would laugh, because she hasn’t ever considered studying languages and still plans to be a journalist.
I could tell her that the first time she leaves home, she will move into a Parisian suburb with three strangers. I could warn her that, at the beginning, she will be so melodramatic that she fears for her safety. It all turns out fine. When there, she will attempt to teach English to French students her age that don’t want to learn English. It will not be like in the movies – she will not particularly inspire them, and they won’t even learn very much – but by the end they will be sad to see her go, and she will miss them too.
I could tell her that she will do well at school, because she hasn’t even sat her Standard Grades yet. She will get As and 1s for the majority of subjects, cry at getting a B for Higher Modern Studies, but still get unconditional offers for every course she chooses. After a tough first degree, she’ll even go back for more – regardless of what she says a couple of months after graduation – and she’ll finally get Distinction. She would say, that doesn’t sound so challenging! And I would have to tell her that, despite this, she still won’t have a career-type job by the time she is my age. It’s not going to be easy, but she is lucky to have had opportunities.
I could tell her that a boy in her class will be dead by eighteen.
I could warn her about these times. I could explain how they make her grow up.
As for rewarding things, there will be good grades, even if they don’t mean much; teaching English; doing a good job of the jobs she will have; and meeting fantastic people, because they are what she is always lucky to find.
And I could tell her about all the fun things – the birthdays, the Christmases, the parties, eating way too much with friends in Paris, studying literature at the oldest university in Spain, visiting NYC before she is thirty, doing the most ridiculously unbelievable road trip across the States, and the rest.
I could warn her about the bad times, but she might try to avoid them. I could encourage her to look forward to the good, but she might take them for granted. I could tell her any of these things, but I wouldn’t. Not knowing where life will take you really is half the fun. And getting through the challenging times to the highs of the good, again and again… that’s living.