When the Da Hype 1 came up with the idea for this post, I thought it was quite intriguing. As it turns out, we are not the only ones who are thinking of what advice we would give ourselves. Ellyn Spragins has books on this topic, including What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self (2006). And I just found a Pinterest board called “Lessons To My Younger Self.”
Although I have been thinking about this topic for quite some time, I didn’t write anything down. I was unsure of what I should tell myself. What are the things I know now that could have made life easier or maybe even different? Would I tell the 18-year-old to take a different path?
If I could advise that young girl from the M-I-Crooked Letter, I don’t think I would say she should make radically different choices about her life. I would, however, tell her not to take life so seriously. I was a very focused person, determined to make a success out of my life and live up to both family and self-imposed expectations. That single-mindedness kept me out of a lot of typical teenage trouble. I really wasn’t rebellious at all. But this seriousness often prevented me from having fun. It was difficult to just let myself go and enjoy life. I would tell the 18-year-old that it was okay to let her hair down every now and then. We only pass through this life one time (unless you believe in reincarnation), and we should enjoy the ride. All work and no play. . . well, you know.
Da Hype 1
I don’t want to play this game! Do I have to be honest? Ugh. Anything I say will make me a Negative Nelly. Ok. I’ll do my best:
So, I guess I would tell the 18-year-old me the importance of being kind and that nice girls finish last, if they finish at all. I have really thought about this, niceness and kindness, that is. They are two different things. Being kind to people has given me the satisfaction of genuinely blessing others with opportunities or something tangible that they needed and didn’t have. Kindness, for me, is an expression of one’s love and appreciation for humankind and for God. I cannot emphasize how genuine kindness feels to the recipient of kind deeds.
Now, being “nice,” on the other hand, often seems like performance. Have you ever met someone who appeared more invested in the idea that you perceive them as being “nice” than in them actually being amiable? I know people who, I believe, perform “niceness” as a way of cloaking their selfishness.
Let’s examine Dictionary.com’s definition of the word. Nice is “pleasing; agreeable; delightful: a nice visit.” What do you think about someone who is always attempting to please people, someone who is agreeable about everything?
Moreover, nice seems like as empty of a word as anyone can use. So, how empty really is the word “nice”? Let’s say you have just created a work of art, an absolute masterpiece, and you take this work of art that you have been laboring over for years to a friend. You then ask this friend with pure joy and excitement, “What do you think?” They respond, “That’s nice.” Wouldn’t you be pissed off?
So, for me, “nice” is empty, and if I could tell the 18-year-old me anything, it would be to aspire to be kind, not nice, because nice girls finish last. If they finish at all.
OK, 2Dope readers, what advice would you give to the 18-year-old you?