We were at breakfast downtown on Saturday when a young woman walked into the restaurant. I did a double-take. She looked just like me at 25: pale, almond eyes and tons of wavy, dark hair. It was strange. I whispered to my friend Jeff, "Oh my God." "I know!" he said. "Anything you want to tell her?" "What would I say? 'Hello, stranger. Have a look -- I'm you at 50!'"
Her face has been in my head since then. What would I tell her, the younger me? Just these 21 things.
1. Forgiveness is the most important thing you can learn. Get good at it. Forgiveness will bring you the highest return on your investment. It will set you free.
2. Acceptance is a close second. You will not get taller. He will not suddenly be good with money. She will always be sort of messy.
3. Call your mom.
4. Don't stop yourself from doing something you're interested in just because it will take too much time. Time will pass, anyway. Do that thing. You know the one.
5. Learn how to be a good friend. Your friends will save you. Keep those folks close.
6. Splurge on the good bath towels.
7. Time is precious, but don't get in a hurry.
8. The most important qualities when searching for an apartment are "pets OK," and "private parking included." Dishwashers are overrated. I stand by this.
9. Be independent, but don't forget how to be vulnerable.
10. Do not waste your time longing for life to be different. Change it. It's never too late.
11. Your car doesn't have to be fancy or cool. It has to drive. It's no fun looking cool when you're broken down on the side of the freeway. Related: Know how to drive a stick shift.
12. Do not settle when it comes to your romantic relationships. Pick the friendly, smart and funny guy or gal who loves you. If you make any of these qualities negotiable, you are settling. Also, you should love the way they smell.
13. There are many different paths to your dream job but they should all begin at the bottom. There are nothing but good reasons for this.
14. Accept gifts and compliments graciously.
15. Keep a journal.
16. Volunteer. This will make you a happier person.
17. Get yourself a Christmas tree. Even if you live alone. Especially if you live alone.
18. That saying that God only has three answers -- "yes," "not now," or "I have something better planned for you" is the truest thing. Remember this when you are rejected.
19. When you move, most of your boxes should be filled with books.
20. Drink your coffee outside as often as possible.
21. Don't cut bangs. Ever. Not with that wavy hair of yours. Don't kid yourself.
The author today.