15 February 2012

I Met My 30 Year Old Self

by Diane Carlisle

I accepted a challenge at Florida Writer's Association Conference Blog, a blog I visit on a regular basis. I'm always shocked at how much the authors there inspire me to write things that bring out my personality, that thing they call "voice" in the writer world.

"What if the you of 30 years ago could suddenly spring forward in time and meet the current you? Or, what if the 30-years-younger version of a character could spring forward and meet the current version? Once the technology shock wore off, what would they talk about? How would they feel? Would the younger version be inspired by what he or she saw or depressed? Would the current version long for that youth, or be glad it was gone?"

Take the challenge and I think you will find your voice. Here's mine:

"This is trash, look at this."

The girl places the garment to her chest and spans the sleeve across the length of her arm.

"It's not you," her friend takes the fringed, waist-length blouse.

"I know!"

"Here, try this one on with the black chic jeans. It's cute." Her friend hands her a suede vest with laced sleeves.

"Excuse me," I say.

The girl looks at me and her friend fades into the background.

"Do I know you?" The girl looks at me and immediately gasps.

"I know, I know," I laugh at her because I know what she's thinking.

"Wow, how old are you?"

"I'm forty five," I say.

"Well, you don't have any gray hairs."

"That’s because I get it colored every six to eight weeks."

"Oh, well I guess you're allowed to do that since you're all grown up." She makes air quotes at that. "I’m not even allowed to get highlights."

"Well, when you can afford to cover up the roots every six weeks so you don't get that skunk streak down the middle, do it then."

"Whatever. It's like ten bucks."

"Try a hundred and seventy-five with tip and all."

Her jaw drops.

"You must be rich," she says.

"No, just vain." We laugh together.

Her hair is almost jet black and feathered back away from her face and plastered down with hairspray. I can't remember when I stopped using hairspray and just let my long strands drip dry out of pure laziness.

We stand for a moment and she notices my smile. "What happened to my teeth?"

I touch my mouth, "Oh, the canine?" I knew which tooth she meant. I always hated that tooth, but mom and dad insisted it was cute, way too cute to fix. I look at her smile and decide they were right.

"It's not as cute when you get older, so I had it fixed."

"Cool, I bet that was expensive, huh?"

"Thirty years ago, maybe."

"So what do you do as in a job and all?"

"I'm a Systems Analyst. I make software that runs on computers." I blush and realize the closest thing she has experienced with software so far is Pong, the game where two vertical bars are maneuvered up and down on opposite sides of the screen and a small digital ball is passed back and forth between them.

She's not impressed. Well, she has this blank look on her face, so I assume she's not impressed.

"So, you're a nerd?"

I blink back my surprise. "What? No, I'm not a nerd."

She laughs, "Yes you are!"

I look at her friend, now several feet away, browsing the racks. "Okay," I say. "Miss Honor Society. Miss J.E.T.S. Club. Miss Student Council."

She looks back at her friend. They are both similarly dressed in the latest fashion trends. A bit cartoonish for today's standards.

She studies me for a moment, then says, "Yea, well, I thought I would out-grow it."

Please join the fun and participate by adding to the list.


  1. Oh Diane, thanks for the adorable writing assignment. I've been trying to cheer myself up lately about this very subject. I just came across a school-graded journal where I talked about the writer I would someday become. The teacher agreed and said she loved my writing--but that was thirty five years ago and finally I'm doing what I said I would do!

    1. I never thought I'd be a geek, but it's still a struggle to run away from it. I'm so happy to be here in a land with other writers and soul mates.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Eve.

  2. I was just thinking about age. I'm turning the big 4 0 this year and been looking back on life of where I've been and steps taken to get here. 30 years back I'd be almost 10. I remember that birthday so clearly. I had my first party. I was telling everyone who would listen I'm going to be a DECADE OLD! WOW! Now here I sit, almost 4 decades old. I think the one thing I would tell my almost 10 year old self, give Mom extra hugs and I love you's. Life sometimes is too short for the people we love.

  3. AMEN, Halyanne. Happy Birthday! :)

  4. Thought provoking post. 30 years ago I would be in my 20's and I would tell myself, "You think you can plan your life like a grocery list - get a good job, marry a good man, have two children, and live happily ever after." Life doesn't work that way. Just when you think you're about to hit a home run, life throws a major curve ball at you. Enjoy the good times. Stay strong and you will get through bad times, and there will be a lot of bad times. Never lose your sense of humor because that will come in handy more than you know. Finally, take better care of your health!

    1. Deb, your mention of health made me think of a very important thing I'd say to my 15 year old self, "Don't wait until your old and wrinkly to quit smoking!" :)

      I'm smoke free almost 13 years!

      Life's a beach, but stay out of the sun.

  5. Interesting idea! And terrific scene and dialogue. Very natural and lively. Glad you joined our writer's weds hop and hope to see you next week!

    1. Glad you stopped by, Sandra. Love me some blog hops! :)

  6. What a lovely post! I can remember wondering who and what I would be when I got older... If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I would encourage her to trust her judgment and her integrity, more. I had troubled saying, "no" to friends sometimes for a few years.

    1. I had the same problem. Once I had two friends and I loved them both equally, but when they fought, it was a race to get to me to take sides. Finally, I decided I didn't need close friends. It was too much hassle.

  7. Just meeting you through the Blog Hop. Great story! I decided to do some creative characters and scenes in my blog soon, and your post pushed me along as well!

    1. I found you on Google and added you. Can't wait to read your characters. One thing about characters that draw me in are interviews. Social is good! :)

  8. Thanks for sharing. This is very inspirational. I have been wanting to write something along these lines for a couple weeks now, just never thought of a clever way of doing it

    1. Feel free to link me when you write yours. I would love to read it!

  9. Oh that's too great!!!! I loved that you younger self said, "I thought I would grow out of it!" I'm sure my younger self (although I'm only 25 so technically...) wow, you're busy all the time with stuff you're working on (I would then ask how that book is comin along to my younger self, how is the library, and how is the social life I could care less if I had or not)...My younger self then would ask about my wild twenties and I would mention that I graduated with an almost 4.0, so what did I(my younger self) think??

    My younger self would then ask about if I have my fantasy novel published and I would bash fully say....umm...still working on that. Younger me: Damn girl still???? That's over 10 years!!!

    1. LOL, Nicole!! My younger self 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years ago and even as close as 2 years ago wants to ask me today, "So...did you publish your novel?"


      I feel the pain, girl!

  10. This was a fun one! I can absolutely sympathize with the very end... If I were to flash back to 15 year-old Ashley I'd probably have to find her at a marching band competition in full uniform (mellophone in hand), or in a friend's floor watching a Monty Python or MST3K marathon. Cheers to nerdity!

    1. Cheers indeed! Nerds united!

      I think I have a few posts that go back in time. You can never have too many blasts from the past. There are so many things that people love to reminisce about, nerdiness being one of them.

  11. Whew! This is really provocative. I turn 80 in May. 30 years ago I quit smoking, was going through menopause and therefore, a witch on wheels whom I don't think I'd like to meet -- we'd have scared each other to death! I enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing.

    Arlene Nidel

    1. Thank you so much, Arlene. You gave me an idea now. What if I were to write another post, only this time, I fast forward and discover myself 30 years older.

      I wonder what that conversation would be like. :)

      Thanks for stopping by and giving your thoughts. Congrats for quitting smoking, too. I quit 12 years ago.


I welcome feedback, so please leave your thoughts.

Contact Diane


Email *

Message *