Dear 20 Year Old Me

June 27, 2013

Hazel’s House is an online clothing store based in New Zealand.  When she’s not attempting to source exclusive brands at non-exclusive prices, Hazel sometimes writes blog posts…

You’re 20! How exciting! Finally out of your teens, you’ve been waiting so long for this! 20 sounds, like, sooooo much older than, like, 19! It’s, like, weird aye? Like cool, but, like, weird.

You’ll starve for six weeks to fit into the dress you had made for your 21st. If this gets to you before then, I would recommend you just decrease your food intake and increase your exercise. This will save the meltdown that you will have on the day of your 21st party because you don’t like your cake. The cake is fine. It’s not what you had in mind, but who cares?

Your mum will cut the leftover slab into individual servings, freeze them, and pull them out every time guests pop in. Everyone will say how lovely it is. Just be thankful she didn’t get one of those edible photographs and put that on it, because then you’d have to watch people eating parts of your baby face.

You’ll work in hospitality, some nights you’ll love it, and some nights you’ll hate it. But make the most of it. You’ll get to 30 and realise you haven’t received a single proposal of marriage since your days working the bar at Coyote.

I would tell you to stay away from party pills, but I know you won’t. They’re no good for you, they’ll seem like a good idea at the time, you’ll be pumped and it’ll get you through some long shifts in the bar, but it will also mean watching the entire boxed set of F*R*I*E*N*D*S…back to back…over 72 hours…

You will beat yourself up about not being 56kg when you go to Bondi for New Years. Don’t worry, it won’t matter. No one will notice the muffin top over the jeans, cos the loose singlets with the tight band around the bottom will make the whole population look like they have a muffin top.

You will get gastro and spend 24 hours on the toilet at the backpackers, holding a bucket. To add insult to injury, you’ll be able to hear the NYE fire works from your bunk, but you won’t be able to see them.

Don’t remove your heirloom diamond earrings from your Nan and put them in your Billabong wallet. You’ll lose one somewhere in the Bondi Hotel. Don’t worry though, you’ll still have the other to forever remind you that you lost one.

You’ll leave Uni with a pocket full of hopes and dreams and a massive student loan. You’ll regret that later and be angry at yourself for failing 10 papers in four years at $1,000 per paper. You’ll also wish that you took more shifts at the bar instead of collecting the “living costs” that you’ll spend in Pagani and at The Hilly.

You won’t be able to get a job cos your academic record reads like a train wreck, and no one wants an accountant with a personality. You’ll move to Brisbane for a boy. Six days later he’ll move five hours inland.

You’ll be desperately lonely and unbearably depressed, you’ll eat yourself into a stupor every night and pack on the pounds. You’ll wish that life would be over, and you’ll see your dad well up for the first time ever when you’re inconsolable because you don’t want to take your 66kg body to Wet n Wild and stand beside your 54kg sister.

There will be so many things that you regret about that year of your life. It will be the first of many jobs with a psycho maniac, micro managing supervisor, and your binge eating of complex carbohydrates and processed foods will result in food intolerances later. But you’ll have a pretty impressive rack, and on a serious note, you will get to spend almost every day with your amazing Pop. He will teach you so much about life and relationships and being good to the people who are good to you. You will also form an unbreakable bond with your Nan.

You’ll move back to New Zealand for the same boy, after he unsurprisingly decides that collecting semen from boars and artificially inseminating sows is not his calling in life. You’ll arrive in the South Island just in time for the coldest winter in 20 years and you will leave 8 weeks later with a broken heart. You still won’t learn your lesson…and 7 years later he will simultaneously amaze and infuriate you on a daily basis: Telling you that you’re a size 6, and then arguing with you when you tell him that you’re not – simultaneously amazed and infuriated.

You’ll move back in with your parents and take a $20k pay cut. On a positive note, you’ll drop a few kegs and you’ll be pretty skinny. Albeit broken hearted and skinny. You won’t be able to drink for a couple of months – the public meltdowns will be too mortifying and you will spend nine months sleeping on your friend’s couch. I’d advise against taking too many pics, cos you’ll spend the next five years looking back on them and wishing you were that skinny again.

You’ll head back over the ditch and spend the better part of four years with your grandparents. You will be left with so many precious memories of the two of them and a million funny stories. Your little sister will move over and the Hojo Double will live the dream. You’ll meet some life long friends and you’ll be screwed over several times – it’s all part of the journey. At the time it will feel like you’ll never get through the hurt and betrayal. You will.

You’ll work too much and you’ll have a borderline mental breakdown. Although it doesn’t feel like it at the time, it’s a great moment in your life to have one. You’ll learn not to work so hard and you’ll make an effort to always be mindful of your work/life balance. You will get to spend quality time with your parents, cos they’ll visit often, and you’ll actually have to talk to them when they do.

You’ll move back to New Zealand for your “dream job” and you’ll hate it. Almost every minute of it. It will absolutely push you to the limit of sanity BUT, you will meet some wonderful people, and they will form part of the best support network you can ever have.

You will lose someone that you never thought you’d lose, in a way that you never thought you’d lose them. Your life will change in an instant, and it will never quite be the same. You’ll be skinny then too, but you’ll be too sad to notice that you’re skinny. When you look back on the photos you won’t notice your skinny arms cos you’ll be too lost in your sad eyes. This experience however, will give you some perspective, and it will equip you with some much needed empathy for grief.

You’ll hit 29 on a high, because you’re days away from the trip of a life time. You’ll set off with a ridiculous pink bag and waaaaay too much luggage. You’ll spend time with old friends and meet new ones, and the biggest lesson will be that everyone has a story. Even the happiest, most fun people you meet carry a sad story in their heart. They will inspire you to make the most of what you have. You will see so much poverty and deprivation that you will learn to be a bit less high maintenance. You’ll come home and ransack your wardrobe, because if you survived on 20kg of luggage for three months you do not need two whole wardrobes full of clothes. Don’t worry, this will pass, and the empty spaces will eventually be filled.

You’ll get back from overseas 7kg overweight with 25kg of excess baggage that fortunately Aerolineas Argentinas won’t charge you for. There’ll be a slight issue upon your return, something to do with not fitting into a bridesmaid dress. You’ll get the weight off by eating nothing but protein for 11 days, which will seem like a good idea at the time, it will be kinda awkward though when your noisy vomiting in the toilet puts the post wedding barbeque guests off their lunch.

Your 30th calendar year will start off full of promise and promises. You’ll swear that you’re not going to be in NZ for your 30th and you’ll draft itineraries for a fortnight away. Thailand? Indonesia? LA-San Fran-Vegas-Hawaii? The decision to start an online store will mean no funds for such a trip, and a job in events will mean there is no luxury of leave!

But for the love of two very special ladies, you will almost spend your birthday at home, with your iPad and your laptop watching reality TV. These amazing females will whisk you away to Vegas, Rotovegas. They’ll book you a male masseuse, hoping that he’s a Swedish God. He’ll be Indian with super soft hands and it will be a fabulous analogy for your life thus far. You’ll wake up in a hotel room with a Gatorade on the pillow beside you, a baby in the wardrobe and a tiger in the bathroom. You’ll go to a bakery and buy one of almost everything, and then remember that you’re meant to be “on your A Game” for your 30th.

By the eve of your 30th birthday you’ll be feeling quite depressed. You’ll be thinking about all the things on your mental bucket list that you were meant to do by the time you were 30. You’ll dwell on the fact that you’re hours away from 30, living with your parents and a collection of cats and you have a spare room full to the brim of clothes, about which your dad often asks “are you sure people are going to want to buy that stuff??”

You’ll wake up on your birthday relatively spritely for someone who took three times the recommended dose of sleeping tablets the night before. Not in an effort to never wake up, just so that you could get some sleep. You’ll forget it’s your birthday, and you’ll be stood up for an early morning walk, but somehow get up anyway. You won’t remember it’s your birthday until your mum comes down and wishes you a happy birthday and gives you a cuddle (reserved for when you’re going overseas, returning from overseas or celebrating a birthday) and presents the parcel that your sister sent that she denied arrived.

You’ll get a birthday card signed by the cats, an amazing Michael Kors watch, a book full of love, and she’ll try to hide the cake that she’s baking – layer cake just like you requested. You’ll realise that your breasts haven’t sagged over night and that your crows feet are no more pronounced. There are no grey hairs, well there might be, but you won’t be able to see them in the frizzy, blonde mop.

You’ll get to work and your desk will be decorated with balloons and streamers and banners. You’ll go to your favourite cafe for lunch and order two lunches – cos it’s your birthday. You’ll get FOUR bunches of flowers, more than you’ve received in a decade, let alone a day. You’ll get home and family friends will have come to stay. Aunty Jill will marvel that it’s been 30 whole years since she drove your labouring mum to hospital – your dad was in Whangamata looking at a car. It will all feel a wee bit full circle – in a nice way.

You’ll go to bed full of layer cake, watch a bit of First 48 on CI Channel, and realise that maybe 30 isn’t going to be so bad after all.

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