I’m going to say some things that you don’t want to hear, but nevertheless, you need to trust me.  I am you.  You are me.  Believe what I say.  Don’t roll your eyes at me.  I said, DON’T ROLL YOUR EYES AT ME.  This is important, so pay attention.

Taking a year off between high school and college is a very smart thing to do.  Don’t listen to people who say it’s dumb.  They’re dumb.  Moving out of your parents’ house is also a good idea.  You might want to learn how to cook first, though.

Don’t bother applying to elite colleges.  You can’t afford them.  You will never be able to afford them, no matter what you do.  In a million years, if you got enough loans to cover the expense, that only means you would need another million years to pay them off.  Don’t waste your time with anything that costs more than $10,000 a year.  Apply to less competitive schools that offer merit scholarships* and do it expeditiously before all the best ones are taken.  You have a good GPA and good SAT scores.  This is the only time in your life those things will be useful, so make them count.

*Don’t feel like you have to go to BYU, though.  Seriously, you would die from the inside out.  A small Baptist college in the American South will be a much better fit.

You will make a spectacular English major, and I want you to experience success at something, so go ahead and major in English, but realize that you’re going to have to go in a completely different direction so far as graduate school or your career goes.  Don’t even think about teaching.  You suck at it, and you hate kids, especially teenagers.  Technically, you hate most people.  No one listens to you.  You are obnoxious and disliked.  You will be tempted to reconsider teaching again and again, but believe me:  NO.  Just NO.

Being a vegetarian in the south is a deeply misguided waste of fried chicken.

When you subscribe to Utne Reader and Ms. Magazine, pick up a subscription to National Review while you’re at it.  Just for giggles.

Barbara Boxer will be a terrible senator.

Save all of your mother’s letters.  All of them.  Even the dumb, short ones.

Also, save your Calculus textbook.  Take more math classes instead of Sociology 101 and Psychology 101.  You’ll be all stressed out and stuff, but you’ll thank me later.  Oh, yes, you will.

Taking a year off between college and graduate school is NOT a smart thing to do.  Start thinking about graduate school before the last semester of your senior year.  Again, cost is of utmost importance, which reminds me–you need to work a lot more during your summer breaks.  Work as much as you can, and save as much as you can.  Oh, I’m sorry–am I boring you?  WAKE UP!  Money is important.  You want money.  Lots and lots of money.  Learn 10-key and Excel.  You have no people skills and you will never learn how to smile, so you need to compensate for that in other, marketable ways.

Don’t worry about whether or not a career will be rewarding.  Worry about whether or not you’ll be able to stand it.  And how well it pays.  Did I mention that you’re going to need money?

Speaking of which, don’t date guys who never have any money.  I’m not talking about guys who are poor.  I’m talking about guys who are cheap.  Guys who “forget” their wallets.  Guys with no ambition.  Guys who are hoping to get by on their good looks, even though they’re not that good looking.  Also, you don’t like arcades and noisy places like that.  Don’t pretend you do.  That’s just sad.

If a dude wants you to have sex with him and you don’t want to, he’s going to dump you.  Dump him first.  And if you run into him later at the LDS Institute building and he needs a ride somewhere, tell him to get his own damn car.  (It’s okay to say “damn” at the Institute under these circumstances.)

You will eventually develop good taste in men, but until then you should probably just not date at all.

When you get married, you should make sure you have one nice picture of the two of you on your wedding day.  One you can frame.

When a doctor tells you it’s okay to take Paxil while pregnant, just do it.  It will probably mean you’ll have to go without health insurance after you quit your job to stay home with the baby and therefore lose your benefits, but for the amount of money you’d otherwise spend on premiums, you will probably be able to buy your prescription, pay for the occasional doctor visit and keep your sanity.  Win-win-win.

Toilet training is not for wimps.  Therefore, it is not for you.  Don’t even attempt it until the child is at least three.  Having two kids in diapers is not that bad.  Having one kid in diapers and another kid that’s always peeing and pooping on stuff is worse.  Pay no attention to the haters.  You’re the one who has to do the laundry.

It’s okay to give your baby a bottle of formula every so often.  Breast milk is just food.  It isn’t love.

Don’t get into power struggles with your children.  Or your husband.  You will lose.  Every. Single. Time.  You will never have any power over them.  Come to terms with your powerlessness.  The only person you can control is yourself.  Incidentally, you should probably start working on that.

Don’t be embarrassed by your children’s behavior.  It doesn’t matter if other people think you’re a crappy parent.  You’re not applying for a job to parent their children.  Just parent yours.  You will probably do a crappy job, but you’re not evil, so the kids will be okay, more likely than not.

Remember:  pharmaceuticals and paper plates are your friends.  Together, they are your Best Friend.

You will spend the majority of your time managing your possessions.  Avoid accumulating possessions.  Look, I don’t know how.  I’m only 38.  I don’t know everything yet.

Do things you want to do, even when you think you are too tired or you are afraid of failing.

You are certainly going to fail.  It’s not that bad, though.  It’s better than doing nothing.

X’s & O’s,

Grown-up You

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