What Would the 80-Year-Old Version of Me Say?

And why I’m only concerned with her judgment. No one else’s.

Vanessa Torre
May 21 · 4 min read
Photo by Edu Caralho via Pexels

This question is the challenge to determine what “that one time” will be. It’s the crossroads of grab-life-by-the-balls or not.

I had my weekend all planned out. Earlier in the week, I had created a list of everything that I needed to focus on: returning a drill to Home Depot, getting my dog’s nails trimmed, decluttering my entire house. I even took Friday off to get things done.

I got in my car and drove five hours to California to visit this same friend, driven by not wanting to disappoint the 80-year-old version of me. She has a presence, that one.

My friend and I had been chatting about our plans for the weekend and he very cavalierly mentioned for me to get in the car and come out there. Like it was nothing. Just go. I could just throw crap in my car and drive off. Sure. Right. I don’t think so.

Photo by Edu Carvalho via Pexels

When you are making decisions on what to do with your life, they should never be ruled by your hall closet. That’s not living. That’s nonsense.

Truth be told, I would have wasted much of the weekend with mindless activity. I know me. I wouldn’t have felt rested. I wouldn’t have felt better about the world.

If my closet never got cleaned out, what’s it to anyone? Is that going to impact my life? Is there a line of people waiting outside my home to come in and judge me on my closet space. No.

Even if there were, I don’t care what they think. The only person whose opinion of me matters is 80-year-old me because when I’m old and gray, she’s the one I have to live with.

How many stories about “that one time” do I want to have? More than I would have time to tell about in my old age.

Our lives are the culmination of a series of decisions, big and small. On my drive home on Sunday, I had to smile a little. I think that when I’m 80, I’ll look back on that fly-by-the-seat-of-pants weekend and tell myself, “You did good, kid. You did good.”


Vanessa Torre

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Going through life like a flaming pinball. Nerd, music lover, horrible violin player. No, I won’t stop taking pictures of my drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com