Fourteen Reasons to Live and Die

Well, that’s rather a cheery title for a post, don’t you think?

The Daily Post wants WordPressians to write a letter from ‘You to You’… from you in the present to your fourteen year old self. At least that’s the challenge for today, tomorrow we’re supposed to write a missive to our future self… a future self who in theory will be around in twenty years time, and they’ll definitely want to read our letter to them, right?

Frankly my future self will have the same attitude to my past self that my teenage self probably would have about my future self writing to her… something along the lines of – I don’t have time for this BS, I have enough BS going on in my life as it is.

My teenage self… wouldn’t listen to me, because my present self doesn’t listen to me either, not to the me who is pompous enough to dole out life advice, also known as Hindsight Harridan. A mythical being who makes mistakes then rips herself a new one for having made that mistake… this could have been avoided if I knew what I know now, but I only know what I know now because I made a mistake. And who’s to say that if I could travel back in time and avoid that mistake, because I’m so impossibly clever now, that I wouldn’t just replace one mistake with another one… and the whole rigmarole begins again like Finnegan’s beard.

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Googling adult

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My fourteen year old self was someone who… was just being initiated into the cynical aspects of things such as hope, optimism, and positive thinking.

She tried so hard to be happy, but that was never good enough to fight the forces of unhappy.

And in some ways… unhappy had a certain appeal, it was somehow more authentic.

When I was fourteen… nuclear destruction was imminent. And other cheerful news like that.

When I was fourteen I had my first experience of being in crush. He was rather dashing, a couple of years older, a bit of a playboy, very sweet, immersed in philosophy, astrology, and other alternative forms of thought. He infected me with those and they led me on an interesting exploratory adventure long after he had gone… I had gone on.

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I probably would not let on to the me then what happened later because… that’s like spoiling a film for someone. They need to experience it themselves, not have you tell them what’s going to happen because you’re an annoying know-it-all. You got to see the film once… did someone spoil it for you, is that why you want to spoil it for others?

When fourteen-me was upset because the crush reached its inevitable conclusion… should I tell her she’d catch up to him thirty years later on this weird futuristic thing known as Facebook (on an even weirder thing known as the internet), and he’d say – Oh, yes, I remember you, you’re that crazy redhead… – and then they’d talk and spy on each other’s FB timelines and realise that the reason they went their separate ways a long time ago was because… they really weren’t on the same page of life.

She was not suited to dine at the Captain’s table, even on the Titanic. Her class was not first… she was more of a stray penguin on the iceberg.

What I’d be tempted to tell old fourteen-me… but wouldn’t ever send that letter (as she learned a lesson about writing letters you shouldn’t send)… is:

  • You will make one hell of a whopping bad decision about your life in a year. Some people will warn you, you won’t listen, because you never effing listen – you’ve learned the dangers of doing that, and will continue to learn that lesson – and you will grow old enough to regret it and wish you hadn’t chosen that path… but… had you not chosen that path, you’d probably have lived to regret that too. So just go with it… damned if you do, damned if you don’t… this will never really make sense, yet will always have a certain meaning.
  • You will have at least ten years of getting through life by hoping that you’ve finally reached rock bottom and things can’t possibly get worse than this so they must be about to get better… things will get worse, and worse and worse… you will spend a lot of energy on the latest fad of positive thinking which is a load of… you’ll find that out and eventually move away from miracle cures like that and all those other magical thinking trends which made the people selling them very rich due to people like you buying into them out of desperation.
  • You will eventually meet someone who gets you, really gets you… it will freak you out in a good way. I’m not going tell you to enjoy it more than you did because… you can’t avoid those who tried so hard to ruin it for you and did manage to ruin it a bit due to their expertise at such things…everything works out in the end in a strange twisty way. You’ll figure it out.
  • You will contemplate dying a lot, morbidly so (this is actually quite normal). Killing yourself because… what’s the point of living (there isn’t any point to it other than life itself living – which isn’t much of an answer for a philosophically-challenged teen). You will one day come close to killing yourself… you failed. When it came to the crunch you chose life, you wimped out, and are okay with being a wimp about it. Luckily no one noticed. It’s a long story, you just have to live it… it may never make sense. Neither does life.
  • You will go through a whole slew of fashion crimes… that was kind of fun.
  • You will wonder why… on many occasions about everyone and everything. You will never stop wondering why…
  • You will go to a baseball game and not know wtf is happening… it’s a trivial detail but, it has meaning later on.
  • You will feel tired all the time… at first this will feel bizarre, but then everyone will join in, and it will become the norm. Lots of things which you thought were strange, which made you an oddball… they’ll eventually become so normal you’ll wonder why you thought you were weird and an alien lifeform for so long.
  • You will not accomplish anything, but eventually you’ll be okay with that, it’ll become an accomplishment for you… even if no one else is okay with it. You’re growing up in narcissistic times… you’ll figure out what that means once everyone else decides this is a thing.
  • You’ll do loads of totally weird shit… sometime in the future there will be this thing called blogging, your weird shit will entertain others and you might find it insightful too rather than hating on yourself for it.
  • You will never be able to get the gist of time or numbers… but sometimes that’s a blessing rather than a curse… that concept will come to you thanks to an inspiring individual. Not going to say anymore about that.
  • You will hate being a teen, hate being in your 20’s, hate being in your 30’s… but then you’ll hit your 40’s and it will be awesome, and you’ll wonder why so many people are afraid of such an incredibly liberating coming of age. You’re a bit backwards, and in this case it will be rather useful.
  • You will one day actually feel good, especially about being yourself, and you’ll worry about it, wonder if you have a brain tumour… don’t worry… you’ll avoid doctors and stuff like that and never find out if it is a brain tumour… even though you’d love to get a brain scan, a brain selfie… but only just for fun.
  • You will wonder if you’re at number fourteen… and be surprised and relieved when you are.

So there you have it, words you’ll never read until you write them when you’re here now… um… whatever!

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autobiography humor

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15 thoughts on “Fourteen Reasons to Live and Die

  1. Hi again, it’s been a while. I absolutely, f*#kin’ LOVED this post. It really inspired me to get off my ass and write. I did struggle with the ethics of polluting the timeline by sharing my future travails with my fourteen year old self (as you did), but I just threw caution to the wind. I took the WordPress prompt challenge of You to You, and ran with it. Hope you’ll stop by, give me your impressions on its content?

    I actually didn’t read yours all the way through until after I’d completed my letter. I want to be authentic, and then voyeuristic after the fact. Compare and analyze (but I try never to judge).

    One thing I could conclude after reading your “letter that would never be sent”, is that we seem to have had some parallel experiences. Being fourteen is such a time of searching, and often, self-loathing. I just wanted to let my past-self know that it is perfectly acceptable to be odd, to do stupid stuff, and take chances.

    And what I really love and admire about your post, is how candid and even humorous it is. I did try to upload a video by Journey for a musical selection, but managed only a link. I need to work on my blogging- techy prowess, I guess. Anyway, I’m so glad I read your post in the blogroll today…it was by far my favorite. Keep on keepin’ on. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you very much πŸ™‚

      I love your post, and the photo you added… So beautiful!

      I don’t have any photos of me when I was that age, I went through a getting rid of the past phase and everything I had held onto was burned. I wanted to see who I’d be if I didn’t have who I was in the past influencing me – so, yeah, I totally relate to being odd!

      I like how you worry about telling yourself too much, and yet can you imagine reading this when you were fourteen. I wonder if your fourteen year old self would have changed anything because of the information you gave her?

      What I love the most is the affection between you now and you then, that’s a wonderful inner connection!

      Thank you very much for sharing, you’re an amazing weaver of words who takes your reader on a journey in time and thought and emotion! WOW!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you…this means a lot to me. I connect to your writing as well, and I consider your comment to be very high praise. It has not always been easy for me to be so candid in my writing, then share it with anyone. And I didn’t have much self-love when I was younger…so now, in my middle age, I finally have come to terms with the fact that I was (am) a unique person, as we all are, and to give myself a break. I really pictured my 14 yr. old self reading this letter, so I said what I thought she (I) would want to know, Also knowing what a chronic worrier I always was, I tried to keep the details of more life-changing events to a minimum…maybe my younger self would ruminate too much on these things, and who knows…take a wrong turn someplace. Then I wouldn’t know or be what or who I am now. And yay…I figured out the video embed function (now updated). Great idea, BTW, visual quotes and music video in your posts. Thanks for the inspiration! I look forward to visiting your blog again. πŸ™‚

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        1. Thank you πŸ™‚

          I think the middle ages is a great time for finally liking ourselves, and seeing how many things about us are rather awesome. It’s a bit as though all the years before were a climb up a mountain, through a misty patch, and then we finally emerge and are greeted with a rather surprising panorama over our lives and ourselves.

          Btw, I still don’t know how most of the stuff on WordPress works or how to use it properly. I only figured out how to insert videos recently, and they keep changing things, tweaking the platform which is interesting but also often leaves me back at square one. I just learn bits and bobs and try things out. It’s like a mini whoop when I learn something new on here πŸ˜‰ Have fun with it!

          ps. My partner walked into the room when I was on your blog and he loved your design, he was very taken by the A. Andrew Gonzalez header image. Stunning!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Wait, you were 14 just 30 years ago?? Dang… I was still walking around blind, deaf, and dumb when I was in my 40s.

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  3. When I first starting reading this post I was a little shaken, because when I was fourteen… nuclear destruction was actually happening in my life. But I kept reading and soon I was smiling. You have such a clever way with words.

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  4. thank you. this couldn’t have come at better time. the only constants are God and change. But most believe He couldn’t give you change for a dollar anymore. thank you for sharing.

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