same scene/different perspective

The other morning, I dragged my sorry ass on to the bus to work at 6:35 am.  Half asleep and bundled up from the cold, I shuffled to a seat at the back of the bus.  I had my iPod tuned to the Glee soundtrack to keep me upright and somewhat aware of my surroundings.

That’s when I noticed a young couple sitting across from me.  They were sitting side by side on the small bus seat, and they were texting each other.  The girl typed something out on her phone and hit send; the guy flipped his open, read the message, laughed and typed out his response.

I’m pretty sure they were making fun of me.  Right in front of me.  Via text.

So many thoughts swam through my sleepy brain, the first being, “Seriously, Dude?

But then I looked down at me and realized that I would’ve made fun of me when I was 17.  I was wearing my down-filled, Michelin-man snowboarding jacket (not because I snowboard, but because it was the warmest jacket in the whole store), my scarf was wrapped around my head multiple times, frost formed around my mouth where the moisture of my hot breath condensed on the wool, my kitty-toque pulled low over my forehead so the only thing visible was my eyes, and they had frozen then thawed/melted mascara rings.

I was a stunner.

After realizing what exactly they were seeing when they looked across the aisle at me, I lifted my raccoon eyes to face my mockers.

She was, maybe, 16 or 17, he was a couple of years older.  She was cute, a little chubby, hunched over, most likely a self-esteem problem.  He was skinny and scruffy, possibly high, definitely douche-y.  Neither of them were dressed appropriately for the weather.

After I got over the fact that they were making fun of the old broad staring right at them, my only thought was “Girl, you can do SO MUCH better than this scrub“.  Which was exactly what I was told when I was 17 and had my own weakness for douche-bags.  Couldn’t she see how cute and probably smart she was?  She has a whole exciting life ahead of her and she shouldn’t be wasting her time snuggling up on the bus with this pot-head loser, wearing only a hoodie (not even any mittens!), and texting about strangers who only want the best for her!

What a difference 20 years of wine chocolate life experience can make.  I went from being this young woman, writing notes with my boyfriend to make fun of someone within earshot, thinking I was being so sneaky, and rolling my eyes at anyone who told me I could do better.  Now I am the one wishing that girl knew that she was worth so much more than she gives herself credit for, and rolling my eyes at their snickers and texts.

Is that karma, or is it just the circle of life?

Either way…I say hakuna matata for the rest of my bundled-up, soggy-scarved, raccoon-eyed, but-still-know-better than-some-punk-on-the-bus days.

Would you recognize your 17 year-old self?  What would you like to tell her/him?

21 thoughts on “same scene/different perspective

  1. Whenever I see teens/young adults these days I often think in my self-righteous mind that “I was never that annoying, was I?!”

    While I’m very happy with how I am in my 30’s and supposedly know better, I don’t think I would tell my 17 year old self much (if anything at all). This is only because despite the 15 year difference between now and then, I am just as stubborn as ever and will probably think that my 17 year old self knows what’s best never mind that my 32 year old self is telling me otherwise.

  2. I love your blog! I noticed your comments on some of the same blogs that I follow and I thought I had better check you out–so glad that I did.

    To answer your question: I think I had a better sense of my authentic self at 17 than I did in my 20s and 30s–weird, huh? I have been coming around, full circle and now feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have. But you know how when you are 17 and 18, you really don’t care what people think? You tend to be your own person no matter what other people think or say. Then as you morph into an adult there is all this pressure to run with the pact–success=making so much $$, having so many things, liviing in a McMansion, etc. and we tend to measure ourselves against our friends, peers. Well, I am so done with that–I was never huge into it but I know I allowed it to shape me as a person…the person I didn’t really want to be. And now my 17 year old self is back with a few more lines, a few knocks and heaps more knowledge and wisdom. Do I want to be 17 again? NO! But if I could I would tell her to always be true to herself. xxBliss

    1. You were one smart cookie, then!
      There was no way I was anything even close to self-assured when I was in my teens. All I thought about was what other people thought about me and how I could make them like me…
      Thank God that has all fallen away, and I learned that only person I need to make happy is me (and maybe my Husband…and probably my boss, but that’s it!)

  3. That pic at the beginning is hilarious (and so true)!

    I work with teenagers on a regular basis so I am constantly brought back to my teen years. “Was I really that caught up in myself?”, “Did I really think the world revolved around me?”, “Was my music really that loud?” etc etc… I think it’s the circle of life in many ways. :)

    1. I have the same thoughts on the bus – and I know the answers to all of those questions are “yes”, so i just have to remind myself that they too will grow up…

  4. There was a girl on the bus the other day in a high school uniform, a blazer and ballet flats. Like you…I was wrapped up in my warmest coat, scarf around my head, hat on, giant boots. I wanted to tell her to put a coat on. Then I realized I’d become an old lady!

    I also realized my 17 year old self would have been wearing something very similar. My 17 year old self was all annoying like that. I would have told her to put a coat on too. I would have also told her that she should stop taking everything so seriously…that high school was almost over and there was a much bigger and better world awaiting her. She didn’t find that out for another year. She was so much happier when she did.

  5. Hilarious! And so true.

    I was okay at 17…I didn’t get stupid until I was 18 and found the world’s worst boyfriend to hitch my cart to in college….really, he was every parent’s nightmare.

    I would have told my 18 year old self to just stay away from boys and go to class. Then start dating at 30.

  6. If I could, I would smack my 17 year old self upside the head and tell me to stop being such a doormat! I too wanted so badly to be liked that I let people walk all over me and tried like hell to be who I thought everyone else wanted me to be, instead of just being myself. Good times.
    Oh, and I’d also say “That guy you’re so in love with and can’t stop obsessing over? He’s gay, so quit wasting your time.” 😛

  7. I’ve just completed teaching a three-week course on financial foundations for young adults: 20’s and early 30’s. Even though I’m only 39, I feel years wiser. As I listened to some of the personal financial crises that were shared one-on-one, I experienced deja vu as one of the particpants told me her sordid financial misdeeds. It was as if she was quoting from my diary. So I gave her my frank, no-holds-barred advice as if I was talking to my younger self. I had to stop myself from physically grabbing her shoulders and shaking her.

    Even though I have to turn 40 this year, I am so happy that I don’t ever have to be 22 again.

    1. I know the feeling – I was just saying to someone the other day that I am enjoying my 30’s way more than I ever enjoyed my 20’s (and I’ve heard the 40’s are even better)!

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