I left the restaurant industry a few years ago after working in restaurants on and off since I was 18. Nothing will make you lose your faith in humanity quicker than some of the vicious and hungry monsters you deal with in food service. However, you will typically leave the industry as a better and more self-aware person...at least when you're out to eat. Here are some of the things I learned:...
Until my time-travel machine is complete, there's no changing the past. The best we can do is learn from it. Although it seems impossible not to sometimes, there's no use in regretting the things we can't change but if we get a good lesson out of it, we're golden. If I could have a chat, most likely by texting, with my teenage self, this is what I would say.
- Your metabolism will never be this good again. Enjoy those 6 Pizza Pops and 4 bottles of Tang as an after-school snack while you can, because there will come a day when just getting to put peanut butter on your celery seems like a real treat.
- Getting drunk is never, and will never be, as glamorous as it looks in movies (unless you’re Beyonce). In movies, it’s drinking expensive champagne in limousines all night while good-looking people surround you, then you pop an Advil in the morning and you’re set. In real life, it’s drinking cheap vodka straight out of the bottle then vomiting behind a Taco Bell while your best friend holds your hair back (if she isn’t vomiting, too). Thanks a lot, movies.
- Never again in your life will you have allies greater than your parents. Sure, it seems annoying that your parents won’t let your fifteen year old self go to a college party. But, there will come a day when you realize it’s quite fair, and perhaps even wonderful, that your parents don’t want you to have your own teenager before your thirtieth birthday. Your parents are awesome. Those family dinners you don't want to go to right now will be ALL you want someday.
- If your self-confidence is derived from what other people think of you, you are doomed. You have zero control of what other people think of you so spending your time trying to make people like you will leave you feeling exhausted, and ultimately quite crappy about yourself. Spend your time getting to know yourself and realizing all the wonderful things that are within you (and I don’t mean Pizza Pops and Tang). Once you know how awesome you are, it won’t matter if other people don’t. And believe me, you ARE awesome.
- Sex, much like alcohol, is not like it is in the movies. In movies, sex is endlessly romantic, with no consequences, and it often somehow involves diamonds. In real life, romance and diamonds are replaced with panic and sweat. And often alcohol. So much alcohol.
- Don’t aim for “pretty.” Aim for smart, or funny. Sure, that girl has a nice face but you’re smart enough to know that “legitly” isn’t a real word, and therefore, you win. Of course you can be pretty and smart and funny, etc. You don’t need to choose just one, but there’s going to come a time when being complimented on your mind feels way better than being complimented on your face. Smart and funny are great options, but “You can eat more Nutella in one sitting than anyone else I have ever met” feels pretty good, too.
- This one is really important: Do not, ever, under any circumstances, choose your best friends based on who you think will make you look the coolest, or most popular. Choose your best friends on who you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets to (like how sometimes you make a crib-like structure on your bed out of your pillows and pretend you’re an infant), and you don’t even have to tell them not to tell anyone because you both know it goes without saying. Choose the people whose bathrooms you can use comfortably to be your best friends. Choose the people who you can eat to your heart’s content in front of without feeling ashamed, because they’re doing it too, to be your best friends. Choose the people who you laugh so hard with that other people think you’re being murdered, to be your best friends. And if you don’t have these friends in your life right now, I promise you they do exist and you will find them.
What would you tell your teenage self if you had the chance?
Comment below and let me know! XO