Dear Susan,

I’d have written sooner, but wouldn’t have known what the hell I was talking about. Sorry.

I wish you could have read this when it would have done you some good.  Given the fact that I knew none of this then, it would’ve been impossible. Plus, knowing you, you wouldn’t have listened anyway.

First, I would advise you to stay in school. Dropping out of high school in favor of a career at the truck stop is the first of many, many mistakes to follow. Do yourself an enormous favor and circumvent this particular devastation by giving the “opportunity” a miss. Get good at math and science so you will be able to make some real money. Give up the idea of waitressing & bartending. It is going to ruin your ankles and feet. Yes, I know the money is phenomenal. And it is probably more than you are ever going to make (unless you get good at math & science!).

Listen up: you cannot do it forever.  Your patience is going to wear thin.  You don’t like this type of work anyway, because you are not a people person. Admit that now, and move ahead. Besides, you are going to have back problems.

Spoiler alert: you have scoliosis but the doctors won’t even find it until you are thirty-five.

Remember how you are afraid of becoming an old waitress? Be very afraid! If you don’t use your head, you will become what you most fear. It is not glamorous. It is a hard life. You’re tough, but you’re not that tough.

Spoiler alert #2: you are a writer. Yes, a writer. So start writing. Now. Right now. You know you want to… By the way, there is not a lot of money in it, so you still need to learn big math & science.

Go to the dentist. You’re going to live a lot longer than you think and you will need your teeth.

In another direction, your taste in men is abysmal; cringe-worthy, even.  You are better than any of the creeps you are currently interested in.  Regarding the first clown you will marry, run like hell. Do not look back. The dirty bastard is the spawn of sewer scum. You will survive it, but it will be very, very close. He is the worst you will find, but please, stop looking under rocks for Mr. Right! He does not live there.

Though you will find it difficult, leave men alone. You cannot afford them. They will continue to break your heart. Just say no. (Yeah, right.)

News Flash: Married men do not leave their wives. If they do, think of it this way: who wants a man who has already proven he cannot be faithful?  When they try to tell you that you are the first, the best, the only, and the anomaly; know they are lying. Take this to the bank. Men (people, actually) will say anything—will let you believe anything—in order to get what they want.

Be smart about your heart. You give it much too freely, and it is always returned to you in a crumpled heap. If this continues you will become jaded, bitter, and cynical. Not fun; not attractive.

Bars are not your natural habitat. You may think so now, but you are wrong. Very wrong.

At this point in your short life, you have already forgotten who you really are. Stop trying to fit into other people’s shoes and please, please stop culture-hopping. Other people’s shoes fit about as well as their cultures. You are neither black nor Hispanic; nor are you a Catholic or a Pentecostal Christian.

Spoiler alert #3: you are a Jew.  Don’t worry about that right now, though. You aren’t ready for it. However, when you are, it’s going to be the best thing ever.

But I digress.

In any case, be who you are. Look inside and try to figure out who  and what that is, exactly.  It is worth the hassle because you will find out that you are worth the hassle.

This is important so write it on your brain: The answers are inside.  You will try to find them in cocaine, speed, crank, and diet pills. This will cause you a ton of misery. The answers are inside.  Yes, it is scary to look in there. I know. I know. But! The sooner you figure it out, the better off you are going to be. It will save you much heartache. Trust me, there is plenty of that headed down the pike as it is; don’t ask for more.

Your dad has about a year left to live. Try to fix that relationship. If you do not, you will regret it always. It doesn’t seem like it now, but you will. Your dad isn’t Ward Cleaver by any means. Keep in mind that you are not Gidget, either. Fix that relationship!

Many people in your life are going to die too soon. Some already have. It only gets worse, I’m sorry to say.  There is nothing you can do about it. It’s going to hurt like a mofo, but don’t let it keep you  from letting people into your life. If you do, you will find that it is like coloring with clear crayons: utterly pointless.

One last thing: it’s the M&Ms that are making you fat, not the fictitious thyroid condition. Everybody knows that but you, apparently.

Good luck and I hope you take my advice to heart. I may not have all the answers, but I have a hell of a lot more of them than you do.


Your 57-year-old Damn-Self

PS {{Hugs}}. You’re going to need them.

7 thoughts

  1. One of your best! Wise, wise, wise advice!!! We think we know everything at 18 only to find out later we knew nothing at all. The worst thing is actually knowing some of the answers and ignoring yourself. Been there, done that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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