As I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror, toothbrush in hand, I started thinking about my 17-year-old self. Actually before that, I was thinking about Sister #2’s 17-year-old self.
Sister #2 used to be a punk-rock girl with a shaved head and skatepunk boyfriend. She generally eschewed anything ‘mainstream’ or with the air of sell-out about it. Now she’s a suburban mother of two who drive a Passat and likes not only country music but rap and hip hop too, though she still sneaks out to the occasional punk rock show now and again. I often tease her about how her 17-year-old self would hate her. She agrees.
So then I started thinking about my own 17-year-old self, and wonder what she’d think of me. I think she’d dig me, and so while I brushed my teeth, I composed a letter to her.
Dear 17-year-old Jodi,
Guess what? We have sex! Don’t worry it happens and for a majority of our 20s it happens a lot. It’s just as great as you think it will be. Also, next year you’ll kiss a boy for the very first time (it’s Rob Hobot, AIIEEEE!) so you can quit worrying about that. Eventually men will start to dig your Amazon-like proportions, though some will dig it to a creepy degree.
Also I hate to tell you this, so don’t get all suicidal, but we grow like two more inches in college. 6’5″ — I KNOW! It totally sucks but again, don’t worry about. Speaking of college, we don’t have as much mindless sex as we probably should have. But we make up for that in our mid-to-late 20s. I know, enough with the sex already, but really we worried about that all the time when we were 17.
We still write! Yay. However, I am sad to report, that we don’t win the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism by the time we’re 30. In fact, we don’t even go into newspaper reporting. But that’s okay, we still wouldn’t trade those newspaper years for anything in the world. We do get paid to write for a living. You’ll see that really your career is generally bullshit, so it all turns out good.
We’re not so lonely anymore, 17-year-old self. In fact we have a ton of friends and actually have to say no to offers of fun stuff. Amazing, I know! Also, even though it feels like the whole family abandoned us when they moved to Wisconsin, it’s okay. You were totally right and we can do this on our own. We can do anything on our own. We have a house and a car — with a CD Player! Oh yeah.
Things are pretty good 17-year-old self. The year 2000 isn’t so scary, and it’s nothing like the Jetsons. In fact, it has more in common with 1989 then it does with the Jetsons. But, hey, remember Mr. Gilquist and how he told us in 7th grade that everyone would have personal computers in their house just like they have TVs? He was totally right.
Seventeen-year-old self, I think you’d really dig 34-year-old self. She reads all the time, and writes. People actually think she’s cool (though she knows and embraces the fact that she’s a total nerd). Also, she still doesn’t wear makeup or do her hair. See, 17-year-old self, it all works out.