Dear Chelsea

A letter to my younger self.

Dear Chelsea,

Let’s say you’re reading this at 10 years old. Mostly because I don’t think you were a particularly strong reader at 8 or 9, so 10 seems like a pretty safe jumping off point.

Laura, your best friend since pre-school, is probably at the house with you right now or making plans to come sleepover all weekend. You two are inseparable and spend every waking moment exploring the neighborhood on your scooters and building forts in the backyard, but one day very soon, you two are going to go out to play together for the last time and neither one of you is going to realize it.

Summer camp this year is going to change the course of your friendship drastically. You become what some might call “boy crazy,” a diagnosis you have, unfortunately, still not recovered from at 29. So, soak up these last summer days with Laura as you splash around in the pool and let your blonde hair turn green from too much chlorine! You’re going to end up chopping it all off anyway.

Unfortunately, your 5th grade classmates will NOT see the brilliance behind your Charlie Chaplin costume this upcoming Halloween. Here in the future, I realize now that most eleven year-olds WOULDN’T be well-versed on Charlie Chaplin’s body of work, so they were simply making an observation when they said you looked like Hitler wearing a bowler. Don’t be pissed at mom and dad for encouraging you to wear it and ruining your life.

At 13, I implore you not to participate in the fake hair scrunchy craze that is sweeping mall carts across the nation. Or if you must, just buy one. You don’t need to pile on 3 or 4 at a time because we don’t live in Whoville, we live in Scottsdale.

Also, concealer is meant for under-eyes and problem spots only. Not the whole face. Follow this tip and save yourself from looking like a geisha in all your 8th grade formal photos.

Practice the act of empathy and kindness at all times. You won’t believe the people who will make a surprise re-appearance in your inner circle later in life. You’ll be SO grateful when these reconnections are met with hugs and “happy to see you’s” as opposed to swallowing your pride ala Sandra Bullock in Hope Floats. Be nice. Always. End of story. No exceptions.

At 14, don’t freak out when you fail computer class for being a “hunter and pecker” on the keyboard. I know it’s the only F you’ve ever received, it’s screwing up your GPA and now you’ll never get into Sarah Lawrence, but PLOT TWIST! You drop out of high-school and in the future, everyone sends emails on their phones… where you type with your thumbs! So, jokes on you, Mohave Middle School!! I was actually typing ahead of the curve.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Being curious is cute when you’re a kid!

Ask Bob Cosgrove about his time in the military. He served and lived through three wars. In your mid-twenties, you’re going to become obsessed with history, especially World War II (I know, right? It surprised me too.) and you’re going to be kicking yourself for not plopping down next to Uncle Bob one Thanksgiving and asking him for a first hand history lesson.

I hate to break it to you, but mom IS actually right about everything. I know. Damn it.

You still have every right to make mistakes and learn lessons on your own time, but maybe heed her advice when she suggests NOT selling all your furniture, buying a puppy and moving into a loft downtown with a musician you just started dating. She had some good points there.

Mom’s an amazing piano player. Why don’t you sit down with her and learn a song or two while you still live under the same roof? That way you can play Clair de Lune at a cocktail party someday, which is way sexier than chopsticks. Plus, the lessons are free! You’d really be doing me a solid if you jumped on this one.

Also, Dad is actually pretty dope. (I know, right? It surprised me too.) You’re going to have a blast with him as an adult, so be patient with his weird jokes and relentless teasing right now. The reason he doesn’t want to play your Eiffel 65 CD on the drive to school isn’t because he wants to make your life miserable, it’s because that album sucks and dad grew up listening to Donovan and Love.

Please tell mom and dad that you want some stocks in a start-up called Facebook, Instagram or Spotify for your Sweet 16. Thanks.

I’d like to explain some simple math to you for when you turn 21. If you feel AMAZING after two drinks, you will NOT feel twice as good after two more. 2+2 = 4 and four cocktails equals committing yourself to a morning hike with a stranger you just met at a house party.

Besides a few years of unbearable hangovers, you have a lot to look forward to! For example, you’ve met almost ALL five members of N*SYNC. (I know, right?! ) AND you totally got your dream car. Like, the DREAM DREAM car. And you did it all by yourself.

You have the best girlfriends ever. You’ve basically been like sisters for the last decade and the amount of precarious situations the four of you have survived together makes your heart almost burst when you think about them. So, don’t stress about the pettiness of the cliques at school. There is a whole world of love, trust and and unwavering support just waiting to embrace you.

Oh! AND you like blue cheese now!

One last thing before I go, please stop wearing those stupid Rocket Dog platform flip-flops. They look ridiculous and you’re going to fuck up your ankles. I’m sorry I said the F word, but we curse in the future. Even mom says fuck sometimes… in front of Nana!

So, eat your greens, don’t drink and drive and save your money. Also, call people when they’re on your mind. Don’t put it off. I would leave you with the traditional sign-off’s like, “don’t do drugs” or “stay in school,” but let’s be honest, we all know how that turns out.