My Opinion: Woulda Coulda Shoulda
Someone recently asked me what advice I would offer to my very own Teen-aged Self — if such a thing were possible — from the very lofty and extremely-wise perch on which I find myself today (snort!). My answer came without even a moment’s hesitation:
No tanning beds and no drinking from straws:
Tanning beds should be outlawed, in my opinion, and straws should only be given to the deathly ill and bed-ridden.
See “alligator hides” and “purse mouth.” No cure for either, and you will have both before you can blink. Even wildly expensive facelifts cannot improve skin that looks like it would make a good pair of work boots. The only thing you can do about “purse mouth” is swap it for “duck lips” — and is that really what you could call an improvement?
“No smoking” just goes without saying, of course. Duh. You get a two-fer with this one: alligator hide AND purse mouth. Coming, as it does, with a frequent side of Cancer, why are we even talking about this one?
Get in shape NOW and STAY that way.
Playing catch-up is endless and agonizing and the older you are when you start, the slower the going. Trust me, whatever goal you set for yourself a year from now, you will wish you had started TODAY.
Numbers 3 and 4 really go together:
Do not waste your tears on someone who makes you cry.
A Boyfriend Who Sucks is NOT better than No Boyfriend at All. He’s a boyfriend — who sucks! Same applies to “Girlfriends,” naturally.
Dating is the time when people are normally on their absolute BEST behavior — meaning that this is absolutely AS GOOD as the relationship is EVER going to get. So if he (or she) is about as reliable and pleasant to be with as a “spotted a** ape” (always one of my Daddy’s favorite references for some unknowable reason), then he (or she) is really not likely to improve much with time.
People don’t usually “change” — they generally get more the SAME — so if you don’t like something about them NOW, imagine how very much you are not gonna like after several decades with it.
Do what you will WISH you had done when you’re 50,
which you will BE before you can believe it. Oh, my, when I first heard this, I was probably about 8 or 10, and I couldn’t even imagine WANTING to live to be 50! Sounded like Methuselah to me. After all, I am of the generation whose motto was, “Never Trust Anybody Over 30.” Only nobody told us we ourownselves would BE older than 30 in about an hour!
But when I heard that, I did take it to heart and as I grew up and had choices to make — whatever it was, I figured by the time I was 50, I would wish I had done it, so I did. Now having left 50 in the dirt some time ago, I have moved that target up to the Nursing Home: What Will I WISH I Had Done When I Get to the Nursing Home? You can trust me on this one: ain’t nobody in the nursing home WISHING they’d just served on a few more committees or vacuumed the stairs a few more times!
Jill Conner Browne is a multiple #1 New York Times® Best Seller.
Her latest book FAT IS THE NEW 30: The Sweet Potato Queens’ Guide to Coping With (the crappy parts of) Life was recently published by Amazon. She is featured regularly in national and international magazines and television shows. You can learn more about “Her Royal Highness” at sweetpotatoqueens.com.