Day 96: To me, 1982.

Dear 23-year-old self,

Who told you that you were “too tall,” anyhow? You are not taller than any of your future lovers will be. A tall woman with straight posture looks so elegant that men of all heights will jump to be with her.

So stop slumping. Right now! It doesn’t make you shorter, it just makes you look more gangly, and you will pay for it in pain in about 25 years.

Remember how you got whiplash when you were 16, that guy who rear-ended the VW and you saw it coming in the rearview mirror? The pain went away, but your neck was weaker. The wrong muscles overcompensated. That lovely curve in your neck started to straighten and lose its spring.

So stay away from those super-tall roller coasters at Cedar Point this year, OK? Yes, I know they’re a thrill and you love them. But just keep those happy memories of being a kid on the Blue Streak and leave it at that.

And that air guitar thing? Yes, I know, it’s really fun to fling your head up and down and make your hair fly wildly. But, enough already. There are better ways to draw attention that won’t have long-term consequences.

At work: Oh my God. Do you really need me to tell you how bad it is for your neck to hold the phone to your ear with your shoulder so that you can type your notes? Have you not noticed how stiff you feel at the end of the day? Maybe that’s why you’re having all that beer at Clancy’s?

Your bosses are not going to buy you a shoulder rest, so buy it yourself. Consider it an investment that earns 100 times the interest you will get from your bank account.

And the chairs. You might point out to Zell that since she really doesn’t want the union to get voted in at the Tribune, she could buy everyone decent chairs. Ditto for the next newspaper you work at (I’m not saying where, but it’s a big chain and you will have a union there).

There’s more ahead. Here’s the crystal ball. Have a look at 1999.

See all those people going to yoga class? See how they are doing headstands with no warm-up? Don’t do that. Do NOT do that. You are not a yoga master and you won’t become one in a year. Doing this headstand unprepared is a good way to permanently injure yourself, and for the rest of your life you will be very, very sorry.

Here’s 2004. You’re at the Kabul Airport. No, you’re not on vacation, you live there. See those suitcases? They are yours, they are full of books and they are HEAVY. Do not lift them!

Don’t be a cheapskate — just give $5 to the luggage guys and they will kiss your feet, even if you are inflating the price for every foreign woman after you. Trust me, in the scheme of things that will not matter.

And here’s 2014. See that Thanksgiving weekend with all those lovely logs waiting to be split? You have nothing to prove about your strength and skill; you are 55 years old.

Hand the maul to Tom. Yes, I know you don’t know who Tom is yet. Just let the big guy do it. Doesn’t make you weak to let someone help you.

Pull a penny out of your purse. Yes, a 1982, that’s good.

Keep it somewhere separate and don’t lose it. Look at it every day and remember what I told you.

That penny will be worth thousands of dollars someday. No, not literally, not the penny itself — the advice.

The blue stuff? Biofreeze gel. Buy some stock in it.

Related

Part of a series, “The Weight of My Days”


Originally published at www.lisaschnellinger.com on October 10, 2015.

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