Dear 18-year-old Ryan,
Well, I know you’re sitting home with a stupid broken foot right about now, while your “best friend” just left for a two week tour of Europe and you’re punished anyway for staying out till three in the morning making out on the beach with that boy whose name I no longer remember so I figure you’ve got some time to listen to me, your 28-year-old self. Go ahead, go turn off All My Children. I’ll wait.
I’ll start off by saying that I think you’re doing a fine job. There’s not even too much crap you’ll do that we’ll regret later in life, so kudos to you for that. There are, however, quite a few things that I think would greatly help out if you found them out sooner rather than later so that’s what I’m here to tell you.
First things first: Do NOT dye your hair black. Ever. It does not work for you. You will think it does, but no. It does not. So don’t do it, stupid. You also have a slammin body and you don’t even know it. Start to appreciate it now so maybe we have a better chance of retaining it later in life. All those years of crunches, suicide runs and laps up and down the school steps really do have a purpose. They keep you in great shape. Learn this, and maybe we’ll come out with a better body than the one I’m lounging in now. I assure you, that six pack will not be around forever, so love the shit out of it now, girlfriend.
Speaking of girlfriends, did you know that you’re gay?? Shocking, I know. I think you already kinda know it, since the sadness that is wrapped around your head for these two whole weeks (the HORROR!!) that L will be gone is a little much for just friendship status, dontcha think?? Yes, you’re in love with her. No, it’s not the end of the world. Yes, that’s what those damn butterflies nearly making you nauseous all the time are. You’ve got about three months left before she finally gets up the courage to kiss you. I’m a little disappointed with you on that one. You totally should have kissed her first. And you’re totally an idiot because you’re going to let this happen when you’re so drunk that you’ll only remember pieces of this momentous occasion later on. I want my first lesbian kiss memories back, numbskull!
Also, L will put you through a rollercoaster over the next three years that makes the Scream Machine look like a merry-go-round. I suppose there are good lessons to be learned from this insanity but I really wish you would protect your heart a little more.
Actually, no. That’s kinda what makes us who we are, so throw your heart out there. It’ll get bruised, but it will not break. But just, you know, only throw it out there the first few times. 19 times is really not necessary to learn what you need to learn here. Maybe limit yourself to chucking your heart out like 10 times or so. Learn your lesson, and move on. I know I’m probably talking to the wind on that one, but hey, I couldn’t resist.
You should stop second guessing yourself about going to Wagner too. It really is where you’re supposed to go. It’ll take you awhile to figure it out, but it’s going to bring you good things in life. You will actually get a good education there, as well as make some of the best friends you will have. Some will stay and some will go, but they will all be important in one way or another. One of them will even introduce you to the love of your life, who is teaching herself to speak English in Brooklyn somewhere right now. (We get a foreign chick! How cool is that??)
You’ll meet her in about three years. She’ll be sitting on some steps staring at you with the most gorgeous eyes you’ve ever seen, working at a job you’ll never even believe you’ll have so I’ll just let you find out that one on your own. You will be friends at first, because you will both be with other people. Once you realize that you like her like her, you will make some of the most incredibly stupid decisions of your life and probably the only ones I wish you could take back. You will hurt a lot of people, yourself included. But this blue eyed wonder will love you through it all. She will know that you two are meant for each other quite some time before your dumb ass will, but listen to her. She knows what’s up.
Just a few more things here and I’ll let you get back to your Erica Cane coma. (You need to lay off the soaps, btw.) You already love the hell out of your nana, but do it more. She won’t be around forever, unfortunately. Her death and another rough event will mark the beginning of one of the hardest years of your life to date. You will find yourself a stronger person on the other side of them. Your mother’s insanity is also helping you become a stronger person. Her trials and tribulations are there for a reason. I still haven’t figured out what that reason is, but you let me know if you find out.
You will not have a baby by the time you’re 25, so chill. Go back and reread the 4th paragraph. That gay thing makes babies a little more difficult but you will prevail. When the time is right. So just wait. Also, remember how much you hate math and you wish you could just rid yourself of it?? Hahahaha, that’s the ultimate folly. I won’t exactly spoil the surprise, but don’t go throwing that trusty TI-82 calculator away just yet there, killer. You’re going to need it in your future profession.
Alright, so I think I’ve probably traumatized you enough here. I’m still around so you’re obviously doing something right, so keep up the good work, kid. I love ya.