Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself at Different Ages

by dpreyde

            Age Seven:

-It’s not your fault.

-Not all bees are out to get you. Seriously. It’s okay to go outside.

-You know what’s really cool? Toronto is going to be yours someday. All those parks and playgrounds and bookstores and side streets, the museums and marketplaces and subway stations, all the nooks and crannies, the libraries and the university campuses, all of it. Some day you’re going to be totally free to explore every inch of this city, and this freedom will be so total that you’ll take it for granted.

-Some day you’re going to learn that being able to take something for granted is almost as pleasurable as having the thing in the first place. Maybe even better.

-Keep writing. Write the craziest things that come into your head, and unleash all your feelings. Have a blast. It will save you.

            Age Twelve:

-Stop being an asshole to everyone who cares about you.

-I know you want to save the world, but you can’t do that by burning it down.

-For God’s sake, please remember that Kelly is an autonomous human being with feelings and aspirations that are every bit as important as yours.

-Not every problem is the end of the world.

-Things are going to get a hell of a lot better in high school. Hold on.

            Age Sixteen:

-You need to find someone who accepts you the way that you are. I know Skye is hot, and fun to be around, but dude. She took you to get your hair cut and styled a few hours before your first date. This is a red flag.

-You need to find someone who likes themselves and believes that other people can like them. I know Beth is hot, and fun to be around, but dude. She’s a mess. Her debilitating problems with social anxiety mean she cannot be in a relationship at this time, and attempts to ignore this fact will ruin your friendship. You can’t rescue her.

-It’s not normal to feel like crap all the time. Get to a therapist.

-You’re not a bad person. In fact, you’re a very good person. These thoughts that bother you so much are evidence of this. I know that seems unlikely, but it’s true.

-Nobody else knows what’s going on either.

            Age Twenty-One:

-Just a head’s up: next year is going to be a hell of a thing. But you’re going to pull through.

-The thoughts will be over soon.

-It’s totally normal to enjoy your own company to this degree. It’s okay to not have friends or romantic interests. Your instincts are correct: at this developmental stage, you’re not missing much.

-Enjoy Hilltop Cottage. You’re never going to visit it again after this year.

-Starting next year, your whole life is going to change. You’ll basically be a new person. Keep this in mind while you’re enduring the bad things, and also while you’re savouring the good things.

            Age Twenty-Four:

-You need to find someone whose life is in order. I know Jane is attractive and fun to be around, but she’s in no place to have a relationship and won’t be for as long as you know her.

-You will find friendships which are fully reciprocal. You won’t be alone like this forever.

-Yeah, I know this whole “moving into Toronto” thing is a complete fucking nightmare at the moment, and you don’t know if it’ll work out, and nobody else thinks it’ll work out. But your instincts are correct: the suffering is temporary, the rewards will be long-term. Hold on.

-You’re not crazy or unreasonable for not wanting to be friends with Timothy. He’s not treating you well.

-Stop trying to rescue people you care about. It didn’t work in grade ten, and it’s not working now. It will never work.