1. Depending on your age, go back 10, 15, 20, or even more years.
2. Tell us how many years back you have traveled.
3. Pretend you have met yourself during that era, and tell us where you are.
4. You only have one “date” with this former self.
5. Answer the questions.
I think I’ll go back 15 years, which would put me at 21, in my senior year of college.
1. Would your younger self recognize you when you first meet? I think so. My hair has gotten shorter since then, but it’s still basically the same style and color (with possibly less gray now than I had then, believe it or not), and I dress in much the same way. I think I’m about the same weight. If there are radical things that have changed, I’m not aware of it.
2. Would she be surprised to discover what you are doing job wise? No. She wouldn’t have expected the particular location and school I’m at, but the fact that I’m a teacher wouldn’t be a surprise at all. I’ve always been rather boring and predictable that way.
3. What piece of fashion advice would you give her? Find friends who like to shop and who will help you pick things out. It worked well with Becky, although now that she’s moved to England, I’m going to have to get my fashion advice long-distance. But shopping on my own? I’d tell myself to face the fact that I hate it and find friends who don’t.
4. What do you think she is most going to want to know? Probably about grad school, which she was in the process of applying for at the time, and in the longer term about careers. Everyone was saying at the time that academic jobs are hard to get (although they’ve gotten even harder since then), so would her strange self-confidence be justified? But also about relationships and marriage, of course. She wasn’t dating anyone at the time and had no idea that in one year …
5. How would you answer her question? If I could manage it, I wouldn’t answer it at all. I think it’s better not to know things. But I’m not the sort who can be sensible and refuse to divulge things, so I would probably answer everything she asked.
6. What would probably be the best thing to tell her? Generally speaking, I would tell her not to be so nervous and afraid of new things. Actually, there’s a lot she’s not afraid of, as she’s going to move to a fairly rough neighborhood in the Bronx soon (although she has no idea of it yet), and she’ll do just fine. But she could be less afraid of other people and less worried about making mistakes. And she could be less judgmental about other people’s choices.
7. What is something that you probably wouldn’t tell her? That she will change remarkably little. This is good in some ways, but disappointing in others.
8. What do you think will most surprise her about you? She’d say, “I’ve become an athlete? I enjoy exercising? I ride 5,000+ miles a year on my bike and race? Yeah, right. Exercise is just another chore, and I don’t know the first thing about bikes. And don’t care.” And she’d also say, “You don’t call yourself a Christian any longer? You practice yoga and read books about Buddhism and spirituality? You’ve become one of those kinds of people!?”
9. What do you think will least surprise her? That I’m teaching and reading a lot. That I like reading Victorian novels. That I’ve done a lot of hiking.
10. At this point in your life, would you like to run into “you” from the future? No. Being 15 years older than my former self has made me a lot less confident about the future. I don’t want to know.