I live with the constant thought of being 80 years old one day and forcing my grand kids to come over to my house to listen to me tell them all the crazy things that I did back in my day, looking back on my good ole life. I mean, I’m still hoping that I make it that far because I’m pretty much convinced that the Kardashians will take over the planet before that. But if that doesn’t happen and I somehow make it to 80, I wanna be proud of the life that I’d lived, I don’t wanna regret not doing some stuff that I wanted to do because I was too scared, lazy, broke, or just too much of a coward.
I just recently realized that I keep asking myself the question “will this be a good story to tell on my deathbed?”, whenever I’m put in an uncomfortable or scary situation. If the answer is no, then I simply don’t do it. Actually I lied, in some situations I have to do it, like in Spanish class when Mr Gonzalez asks me what type of government does Hungary have in front of the whole class and expects me to answer it in Spanish. In a situation like that, I can’t just say no, mainly because I’m a month away from graduating and I don’t want to screw it up.
My 80 year old self also gives me a sense of serenity from time to time. Like when Timothee Chalamet consistently ignores my DMs confessing my love to him, and I’m about to have a breakdown, my 80 year old self comes in the picture and tells me “Calm down. It’s all gonna be ok. He’s in your kitchen right now, baking cookies, half naked. You two will find each other eventually”.
Maybe I exaggerate this a little too much because often it’s the same voice telling me to do all those things is the same voice that puts me in trouble. Like when 10 year old me thought it was a great idea to break into our neighbor’s apartment with a bunch of my friends to steal his candy. Or when I made fun of a teacher on the morning announcement of the school when I was in 5th grade. Not my proudest moment…
I’ve realized that my life in a nutshell, summed up into one short sentence is: a series of really awesome stories I’ll tell to my grandkids when I’m 80.
But I’ll also tell them about how being 17 was hard, because I was constantly in and out of heartbreak. Painful, painful heartbreak, and intense social anxiety. How I developed body image issues, and became soul crushingly insecure. When I realized that the people I thought were my close friends, weren’t actually good friends, and I finally had to cut off ties with them. Being 17 has been hard, and they’ll know that.
But if anything, I’ll make sure they know that being 17 was when I learned to overcome those fears, and problems, and fall back in love with myself. Because every good memoir has conflict. Every hero is a little flawed.
And someday, when I’m 80, it will be the greatest story of all.