"Chivalry is dead and Prince Charming fell off his charger years ago…" ~Renee Nightengale, character from Heard It All Before by Michele Grant (me!)
Okay, don't shoot me… I absolutely don't feel this way today but I definitely did during a super bitter phase I went through twelve years ago when I first wrote the opening line to my first book, Heard It All Before. As a matter of fact, reading over the book now is like visiting an old friend that you still find entertaining after all this time. Flipping through it to prep for an interview this week it made me wonder… if I could go back to Michele from early 1998 – what would I tell her? She was living in Northern California having a fine old time. It was the tech boom and everyone was making money. Even people that weren't trying to make money were making money. Life (as I knew it) was good and uncomplicated. So what would I tell myself assuming I don't want to end up exactly where I am today? (Which , by the way, is not a bad place) After quite a bit of thought… here's my list of what I wold say to myself:
- Quit dating THAT guy and date that OTHER guy instead. Seriously Michele, I know you don't think I know what I'm talking about but I do. You only think you're destined to be with Dude One but you are really, really not. As a matter of fact just run away now. Change your number, don't answer the door and just say no. I'm telling you this for your own good.
- Life is too short to keep friends who give nothing back. Stop trying.
- Men mature when they mature. A guy may have it all together at 28 or be a complete mess at 40. That's just how it works. Recognize which is which and act accordingly.
- Geeks will be rock stars, air-headed heiresses will rule the airways and a black man will be president in your lifetime. Yes of the United States. Of America. Seriously. Just brace yourself.
- Quit working at telecom and technology companies. They will only break your heart. It's 1998 and it's all sexy IPO right now… it won't last. Go to healthcare or biotech or insurance or media if you must stay in Human Resources. And speaking of that…
- Get out of Human Resources. Yeah it's paid the bills but you've been talking about writing since you were 8 years old. Why don't you try now? Yes, right now. Do not be wooed by consultant dollars and sexy titles. Just get published. Yes, you're good enough.
- Sell all those tech stocks in January 2000. Put the money in your Rollover IRA and diversify the portfolio. No energy stocks, no hedge funds, no credit companies. Just trust me on this. Remember these: Google, Palm, Pfizer Viagra, Sony Wii. Write 'em down. Oh - and copyright usage of the word "bling" immediately, don't worry about what it means. Just do it.
- That huge plastic replica of the Eiffel Tower that they fill up with daiquiri and serve poolside at Paris – Las Vegas? Don't drink it. But if you DO drink it, do not follow it up with the apple martini luge. I'm trying to save you from yourself here.
- There is such a thing as metabolism, you have been ignoring yours. It will slow. This will mean more intimacy with a treadmill than you ever thought possible. Embrace it.
- Last but most importantly, move home to Texas now. California will always be here, your Dad won't.
I wonder if I would have listened to me. Okay, I would've listened but I wonder what I would have changed and what I would've ignored? Intriguing questions I can only speculate on until someone builds a time machine.
So I ask you – if you could go back say 5 or 10 years and tell yourself ONE thing only… what would it be?