A Conversation With My 29-Year-Old Self

By Carole Lee

Fifteen years ago was a critical, pivotal point in my life. I was newly freed from a lifetime of low ponytails with bows, hairspray, low heels, pantyhose and the never ending saga of my soon-to-be ex yelling, “Where’d all my money go?” I don’t think he ever realized that when you pay a bill, the checking account balance goes down. Eh, well. He’s someone else’s problem now. There are times when I really wish I could have a heart-to-heart with my 29-year-old self. Unfortunately, I am hard-headed, regardless of which ‘me’ you happen to be dealing with. But if I could have that chat, it might go something like this:

Don’t pluck your eyebrows so painfully thin
At 35, they’ll stop growing back in again
(Seriously, they look really weird now. Eyebrow pencil is not the best look for you.)

Stop with the tanning; your skin’s not refractive
Age spots on wrinkles are quite unattractive
(Maybe you can play them off as really big freckles!)

Bleaching and dyeing your hair is just fine
But to fix it, you’ll need your own credit line
(That one time when you dyed it black? Just don’t.)

Savor each time someone says you look young
At 40, it’ll just be a slip of the tongue
(Pulling your ponytail back tighter to smooth out the wrinkles isn’t fooling anyone.)

Get your hind-end back in school right this minute
Moving is fine, but quitting just isn’t
(There are colleges in Orlando, dummy. Waiting until you are 40 will suck. Trust me.)

Don’t answer the phone when your ex jerk-face calls
Just don’t.
I have no rhyme for that.
Just don’t do it.

When you turn 34, you’ll get married again
Stop searching for it, blondie; you’re getting eye strain
(You’re going to have a lot of fun in your 30s. And most of it will be legal. But you’re not getting re-married for about 5 more years. And yes, you’re marrying that really cute guy that you’re about to visit in Orlando. He stays cute, by the way. But he eventually shaves his head. And pierces his bottom lip. And starts listening to rap music. Focus on the ‘cute’ when that happens. It’ll pass. I hope.)

Speaking of that guy you’ll eventually wed
Don’t question his motives, you’ve not been misled
(Remember the jerk that you’re divorcing? New guy is just like him. Except completely opposite. Let’s put it this way. You won’t ever have to buy Spray and Wash to manage HIS underwear, and he’ll go out at 3 a.m. and buy you ice cream.)

I’m sure there are more things that I should warn you about. Lighten up, don’t think that you are indestructible and don’t fret so much about whether the jerk is being mean to the boys. New Guy is right. Once they’re grown, they’ll have it all sorted out in their own heads. Worrying is going to give you an ulcer. Like, a for-real ulcer.

One final word, and I will leave you alone. Start writing now. I mean it. Don’t give me that look. You can write. You’ll just have to trust me on that. Oh. And don’t try poetry, because you suck at it.


  1. Carole, You turned out splendidly! I wish we'd known each other when we were both getting rid of jerk-faces. We could've swapped pep talks!

    1. Oh, yeah. I coulda used some pep talks! :-)

  2. Aw, Carole...I'm so glad you're a writer, even if you didn't start back then. Hey, you were gathering material.

    Love this one: "Pulling your ponytail back tighter to smooth out the wrinkles isn’t fooling anyone." My 70ish-old self will be telling my 50ish self that someday...unless she's still wearing a ponytail. ;D

    1. I will keep pulling back my ponytail until my ears meet! LOL!

  3. What's this? Did we all get rid of jerk-faces fifteen years ago? Was it like a magic time or something?

    1. The stars apparently aligned. It was a very good year!

  4. This is the first time I've read your stuff. Damn poignant, witty and funny.

    1. Thank you! You should see me after a glass or two of Ripple. That's when things really start to take shape!

    2. Me, too ... do my best writing after a bottle of Mad Dog ... or maybe not, but by then I really don't care.

    3. Oohhh! MD20-20! Good times, good times.

    4. Black Cherry Cisco is another fine choice. :D

  5. Great post! If only we could go back and warn our younger selves about the decisions we were making.

    1. The great joke on humanity is that youth is wasted on those who aren't bright enough to use it well. *sigh*

  6. I de-jerkified in 1987, I was ahead of my time. And by the way, I did the same damn thing with my eyebrows. She means it, they don't grow back.

    As to everything else, it brought to where you are today and that is awesome.

    1. Mr. Vagabond calls them my SURPRISED eyebrows!



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