Tip #9: Enjoy the time when getting older was fun

March 2, 1995

Today is my birthday and we went to Freash Choice. Oh yes, I jest went into the wonderfull years of doble digets! I am 10!!


30th Birthday Celebration

30th Birthday Celebration

Oh, so cute! I remember the good-ole days when getting older was considered cool. The first fun birthday for me was when I was five; a whole hand! Then ten; double digits! 13=teenager! 16=driver’s license! 18=adult! The last special one was my 21st birthday. They call it Forever 21 for a very good reason.

Then there are the birthdays from 21 to 29. Those aren’t exactly fun, but they’re nothing. You’re in your twenties; who cares? Whatevs! You’re still young, not yet tied down with serious responsibilities. But everyone knows what comes after 29. NO! Shush your mouth; don’t say it out loud. I would know; I celebrated that dreaded birthday nine days ago.

Based on what society tells us, I should have spontaneously combusted on March 2nd, all proof of my youth and coolness obliterated. At the very least, my back should have given out, crow’s feet should have popped up, and blue varicose veins should have sprung from my liver-spotted flesh. Come to think of it, why didn’t I get Botox for my birthday? What was I thinking?

Rachel from Friends turns the year-after-29

Rachel from Friends turns the year-after-29

But surprise! I look and feel the same. I didn’t die or turn into a warty hag (subject to opinion). I remember watching a Friends episode where Rachel turned the-age-after-29 (I’m warning you; SHUT IT!) and acting like it was the end of the world. I was 16 at the time (driver’s license age, boo-yah!) and even then I thought that she was being stupid. When you’re 16, basically everyone seems old. And yes, she was old; I won’t deny that. But I also recognized that turning 30 wasn’t a big deal. She seemed so shallow and superficial. At the-age-after-29, Rachel was healthy; she was beautiful; she had friends and family who loved her. What more do you need in life? I was almost offended by the episode.

So remembering this thought that I had at 16 has helped me transition to that dreaded age. If, at 16 I thought that being 30 was no biggie, then it’s no biggie! Now I just need to get it in my head that turning the-age-after-39 is still young to help with that mentality over the next decade.

20616

Tip #118: Don’t think for a second that I will EVER wear destitute pirate pants

WP_20150123_18_17_42_ProLet’s try something different. Rather than respond to a diary entry, I’m going to analyze pictures that I drew in third grade. Now that I have my own house, my parents are making me clean out their basement, where we’ve stored all of my beloved childhood memories. Most have gone into the donate or toss piles, but some items are keepers. One box I discovered was full of my old school work; thousands of hours wasted and now transformed into musty recycled scraps. But one item that I found amusing was an assignment where I had to imagine myself in 20 years. I was 9 when I drew these, meaning that I am supposed to be 29 in these little pieces of art. Since I have one month left in my 29th year, I figured I should weigh in as to whether these are correct (spoiler alert: NO! Just no).


Future Me

Future Me

What I really look like

What I really look like

General Appearance. First, what’s up with my PANTS??!?! Am I supposed to be some sort of destitute pirate? And that top with an ugly daisy and blue fur cuffs? Thank GOD this isn’t a style. Not yet at least. I wouldn’t be caught dead in this outfit. But more disturbing is that my hair is Little-Mermaid-red (I guess I could dye it, but not that color!) and that I have a hideous perm. And what’s up with that mole? Did I grow one? Or did I draw it on? Oh, I know; probably a zit.


Future occupation

Future occupation

Me at my real occupation

Me at my real occupation

Occupation. I don’t want this to come off as an insult to waitresses, but I have never been, nor will I ever be, a waitress. I don’t know why this was my dream job; aside from this (apparently), I’ve never considered waitressing for my occupation. It seems like such hard work! Being on your feet all day, remembering orders, fulfilling the requests of rude patrons, resisting the urge to spit in people’s food. Yeah, no. I’m not cut out for that. I’m an environmental consultant. I work in a cubicle. I write government documents. Guess that’s not as fun to draw.


Future Family

Future Family

Family. And there are the destitute pirate pants again! I sure hope those are the same pants and that I don’t own two different pairs. At least I have cute purple shoes with red laces. I also seem to own a cute dog and a cute baby. Looks like this dog is a some long-haired terrier or shih-tzu. Looks like the baby is a girl who either inherited her father’s red curly hair, or accompanied me to my hair salon for a dye and perm. Sadly, this illustration of domestic bliss would never happen. First (and again, don’t mean to offend anyone), I hate dogs. Especially little yappy, pure-bred ones like the asshole depicted here. I hope to have a child someday, but it hasn’t

Real Family

Real Family

happened yet. And unless I find myself a new husband, my child won’t have curly red hair (or, at least, according to 23andMe). And let’s be honest: if I had a red-head child, I wouldn’t dress her in pink; the colors clash terribly. Instead, I’m a cat person. My rescue tabby cat is WAY better than a snooty shih-tzu; plus, Pocahontas actually looks good in pink dresses. And the only child I have is my husband. Who, by the way, seems to be missing from my future family portrait. I had a crush on a few boys in third grade, so it’s not like they weren’t on my radar. Was I some sort of feminist, raising a dog and baby on my own? Or did I predict that my difficult personality would scare away the opposite sex?


Future House

Future House

House. This looks more like a slaughterhouse or a school than a single-family residence. Or maybe a jail with the bars on the windows. It’s three stories, which is just WAY too much house; I would estimate this house at about 5,000 square feet. I’d spend my life just cleaning it. I don’t like how it has no facade articulation or landscaping beside that weird palm-pine tree hybrid. And can we talk about the chimney for a second? As an environmental consultant, I would never, ever have a fire going in my house. To be honest, I’m a pretty lame environmentalist; I barely even compost. But I try to limit my

Real House

Real House

point-source pollutants, such as air pollution from wood-burning fireplaces and exhaust from cars. Maybe I didn’t think I’d live in California, where it would be nice to have a toasty fire no more than three days of the year. That, and since we are in the middle of a major drought, practically everyday is a Spare the Air Day (meaning that it’s literally illegal to burn wood). I’m ashamed that my 9-year-old self didn’t think of that; my parents raised me better.



Future Car/Real Car

Future Car/Real Car

Car. Close Enough.

Tip #15: Guess Again! You aren’t writing to your target audience

January 31, 1997

Right now I am wondering who will be reading Charlotte [my diary]. When I write to Charlotte I am also sort of writing to the person that reads my diary and I was wondering who you are! Are you my children, my grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc? Or just an archeologist that found my diary or maybe you saw my diary at an antique store and bought it. I hope you are my family! It would be too embarrassing for strangers to know how bad my spelling is. Oh well, it probably does not matter, I am probably dead in your time. (If this last paragraph did not make any sense to you, that’s ok. I am not sure if I get it also.)


Dear Me,

No, we get it; you want to know who you’re writing to. Here’s the answer: Just you. Yourself. Me. Because no one else cares. I’m sure if I give this diary to my future children or grandchildren, they’ll laugh at my face and go back to watching movies on the back of their eyelids. Maybe they’ll use the pages to line the litter box of their robot puppy. Your diary will never make it to an antique store (why would it?) and if by chance some weird, dystopian archeologist finds it, they’ll probably be glad that civilization as they knew it came to an end. Your spelling alone would make them barf up their rationed GMO food and, for lack of nourishment, they’d end up eating your diary for some small form of sustenance.robot_dog_1

Whatever the case, I know that you never thought that your diary entries would be posted online for everyone who performs a causal Google search to find. Excuse me; let me speak your language: an AOL search. So sorry, but strangers can potentially read this and know how bad your spelling is. Thankfully, we have autocorrect in the future so I can pretend that my spelling got better over the years (hint: it didn’t).

But that’s okay! Where’s the fun in keeping your diary hidden in your parents basement and not laughing with/at your former self? And what better way than to put it on the internet where all form of privacy ceases to exist? Honestly, I’m worse than the prospect of your mom reading your diary.

Love,

You

Tip #128: A Word About High School Reunions

July 10, 2003

I graduated from high school—yay for me! Whoop-di-do! After the ceremony I went to our “Safe and Sober Grad Night”… Surprisingly, I was sad that I would never see the majority of my classmates again, considering I don’t give a shit about any of them (except for my friends). Actually, I pray that I will never see any of them ever again. Well, except at our high school reunion so that I can laugh at all of the pathetic drugged-out losers! I guess I was just sad because I had been going to school with some of them since Kindergarten and by seeing them everyday, they became a familiar part of my life.


Dear Me,

bb67b3ed4fa1677084cf1882242258ffToday is the one-year anniversary of your ten-year high school reunion (I’ll let you do the math). This was a night that I had always considered one of those rights-of-passage milestones in my life. My high school reunion was basically penciled into my 2013 calendar since I watched Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion in seventh grade. Of course, I wouldn’t be like them, making up lies to impress people. I would be the inventor of Post-It Notes or special glue or something similar; something better. Naturally I would wear an amazing dress and heels, like Romy and Michele, but something appropriate for 2013; even back then, I knew that shiny material and feather trim wouldn’t be a lasting style.

I was never bullied or depressed in high school, but I had the typical teenage woes and problems with my classmates. And every time something would happen, I would tell myself, “I’ll show them at our ten-year high school reunion. They’ll be sorry.” Sophomore year, I was convinced that I would show them by arriving with Ewan McGregor, who was going to stop the music toward the end of the night, serenade me (this was during my Moulin Rouge! phase), and propose with a 20-carat diamond ring. By senior year, I was going to bring my husband, Jimmy Fallon (my SNL/Weekend Update phase), who was going to make everyone laugh the entire night. Considering Ewan McGregor as an actor seems to have been banished to Tatooine, and Jimmy Fallon is Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year, I think the latter would have been a better investment these days.

A visual simulation of what could have been. You can tell it didn't actually happen because I wouldn't be caught dead in a top hat.

A visual simulation of what could have been. You can tell it didn’t actually happen because I wouldn’t be caught dead in a top hat.

The fact that I’m not engaged or married to a bunch of hot celebrities didn’t stop me from going to my ten-year reunion. Did I show them? Were they sorry? Hells no. But I had a fabulous time. I’m pleased to report that I didn’t see any “pathetic drugged-out losers” and everyone seemed to be relatively successful and happy with life. We had doctors, lawyers, teachers, employees of Silicon Valley tech firms (even some in very impressive positions), and everything in between. I’m not one of those people who wallows in the pain of others, so to see everyone—from the meanest high school bitch, to the dorkiest nerd (besides me)—thriving after the recession made me feel all warm and tingly. Almost as if Ewan McGregor were singing Come What May to me instead of to stupid Nicole Kidman.

And the high school clicks were forgotten at the reunion; all of our petty reasons for hating each other were pushed aside because we were now adults. We were finally mature. I had known many of these people since I was in kindergarten (some even longer than that!), during a time when we would all play with each other. And then middle school screwed up our content ignorance and the hatred for everyone and everything bubbled up, finally exploding into a miserable passion. Seeing these people at the high school reunion sent us back in time to elementary school when we all got along and loved each other. Because who cares if Kathleen Carson copied you in seventh grade by purchasing the same bubble jacket from the Gap AND the same silver ball-chain chocker from the Delia’s catalog?Who cares if Amy Waring stole your favorite purple sparkly Jelly Roll pen in eighth grade? Who cares if you made your best friend sit on some seagull crap during lunch in sixth grade as an honest joke? (okay, that one was a little sucky; I’m sorry!)

1341-EW-FallonThe concept of high school reunions was always mystifying to me. This was a landmark event in my life that I had used as a specific day in my distant future when I’d have everything all figured out. I had to! What would my high school classmates think if I was some sort of loser? (hint: they wouldn’t give a shit) I had to shape up or… or… I don’t even know. Not going wasn’t an option. So as my high school reunion approached, I started to wonder what you, my past self, would have thought about my future self. Would you have been satisfied? Or would you have forbade me from attending the reunion in complete and utter mortification? Sure, I’m not married to Jimmy Fallon (a major F- on that one), but I am happily married to my college sweetheart. Sure, I don’t live in a mansion in Tiburon overlooking the Bay, but I own nice house in the East Bay Hills. And sure, I’m not a supermodel international spy daylighting as an employee for the Department of Homeland Security, but I have a steady and thriving career as an environmental consultant. I can tell that you’re a little disappointed with my domestic life, but ultimately I know that you’re happy since your husband is 6-foot-4.

Since, you, my 18-year-old self can’t time travel to the future and tell me your feelings (probably with lots of whining and bitching), I figured out different ways release my weird obsession with high school reunions and talking to my past self. This blog, for one, is a way to have a monologue with teenaged Kirsten, even though I know you aren’t listening (typical!). I’ve also written a young adult manuscript about a 17-year-old who falls asleep under the aurora borealis and finds herself thrust into her own future. And surprise! She happens to have landed on the day of her ten-year high school reunion. As she pieces together her life—which involves supermodels, secret government agencies, and a sexy finance who’s 6-foot-4 (sound familiar?)—she realizes that she’s scared of the person she’s become. So although I might not quite be living our dreams (let’s be honest: thank god!), I’ve found a creative outlet to live it in my head.

Almost as good as the real thing (says the mental patient at the local loony-bin).

Love,

You

HS Reunion 4-001

Real photo from my high school reunion. I’m in the back and look like I’m photo-shopped in. But I promise, this is an unaltered photo.

Tip #37: You don’t become ostentatious just because you have cable

August 1, 1999

I ❤ MTV! Oh, it is the BEST, but unfortunately we don’t get cable. I mean, HELLO—everyone gets cable. You can’t be ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious of you don’t have cable. Plllleassssse!


Dear Me,

Cable TV shows on E! and Bravo. These are the real ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious people in the world.

Cable TV shows on E! and Bravo. These are the real ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious people in the world.

Start squealing: your grown-up self has cable! Eeeeeeeeeeee! I’m now super ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious (good use of SAT words, by the way). Yes, that’s right; I’ve made it to the top tier of America because I have cable. Instead of going to galas and driving around in my Lambo (code for going to parties thrown by friends and driving in a Toyota Yaris), I stay at home and watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo and Keeping up with the Kardashians on E! You’re not familiar with these shows, but they’re about super ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious assholes too. You keep good (virtual) company.

Is my life better with cable? Technically yes. I think what you really mean by “ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious” is that you can have normal conversations with people without pretending. My biggest problem in high school was when the MTV VMAs aired at the beginning of the school year and I had to listen to everyone talk about them. In the morning, I would eavesdrop on discussions about the VMAs so that by the afternoon I was informed and able to hold down a conversation as though I had actually watched it. But this still didn’t make me swanky enough since I knew in my heart that I had missed the biggest night in TV for teenagers of my generation.

Now I don’t need to pretend. Did you see everyone get slaughtered at the Red Wedding? Why, yes I did! Can you believe that half of Gustavo Fring’s face got blown off by Walt? Super crazy! Did you see Miley grinding Robin Thicke? They’re both tasteless sleazeballs, and I saw it live because finally, in my late twenties, I’m watching the VM-freaking-As!

My life goal: to watch the VMAs live.

My life goal accomplished: to watch the VMAs live.

But I might be behind the times. Yet again. Because when I talk to my co-workers, especially the younger ones, they looooooove saying in a superior voice that they don’t get cable. Why would they? They can download everything for free, if needed. But since they are, for the most part, true environmentalists, they are excessively proud of the fact that they don’t even own a TV. No need to rot your brain, support evil capitalists, create additional waste, AND pay for it all at the same time. Well, I guess the joke’s on me! Note to self: these days, the fast-track to being ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious is to NOT get cable. Who would have thought? Welcome to the future!

Love,

You

https://i1.wp.com/mtv.mtvnimages.com/uri/mgid:file:http:shared:public.articles.mtv.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/miley-cyrus-robin-thicke-mtv-vmas-2013.gif

I sure was missing out in high school! Yay MTV!!

Tip #39: Stop-Drop-Roll (or something like that)

August 18, 1999

Oh. My. God! Yesterday we had an earthquake. I have never experienced anything so scary. I was sitting on my bed and the whole house started to shake and the windows began to rattle! I instantly knew that we were having an earthquake. I was like “Oh god, we’re going to die! This is the end of the world! This is the biggie! Oh! I’m not ready to die!” I didn’t say that out loud, but I said it in my head. I was in my room by myself close to the window hiding under my feather blanket! DUH! I should have run to a doorway. I have never experienced anything like that in my life. I mean, the ground was shaking! Sure I was here during the 1989 earthquake, but I was only four and didn’t understand that the earthquake could have taken everything, all priceless objects, my house, and my life. But now I understand earthquakes and how much damage they can cause. I was scared silly! I mean, the earth was moving. The quake wasn’t big, only 5.0 and lasted only 10 seconds. The only thing that fell down were all 18 of my Pez dispensers and now I can’t find my Minnie Mouse one. But that’s better than my house falling over. WAY better. Oh! It was soooo scary! I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared. I was sure I was going to DIE. There was an earthquake in Istanbul just like ten hours before. But it was worse with 7.4 magnitude and lasted 30 seconds. Thousands are dead and thousands are missing. 😦 P.S. I found my Minnie Mouse Pez!


Dear Me,

Yes, that was stupid of you just to stay in place during the earthquake. As we learned in school, we need to take cover under something—a doorway, a desk, a kitchen table; basically anything except for a feather blanket. But you know what? I would do the same thing now. You still haven’t learned.

Because despite what people may think of us Californians, we are NOT accustomed to earthquakes. It’s almost a bragging right for native Californians when they talk to their friends who transplanted from another part of the country. “Oh sure… earthquakes. Whatevs; we get them all the time. I barely stop what I’m doing when one happens.” Well, to all you “native Californians,” I’m calling bullshit on your “hardcore” asses. I moved here when I was one year old (aka, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t live here; aka, I too am a native) and I freak-the-freak out when I feel an earthquake, as documented above in August 1999.

My college roommate and I safeguarded our Pez dispenser collection with cardboard and tape so that they would endure an earthquake

My college roommate and I safeguarded our Pez dispenser collection with cardboard and tape so that they would endure an earthquake

For the record, we do NOT get them all of the time. Sure, tiny baby ones are frequent, but we don’t even feel those. I think I’ve probably felt no more than 10 earthquakes in the almost 30 years I’ve lived in the Bay Area, and only three of them were noteworthy. One of those being the aforementioned earthquake and one being the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 when I was four—losing our signal during Sesame Street had a huge impact on me. Unlike me, my mom (also a California native) had the sense to grab her precious daughter and brace us under a door frame. I’m still impressed with her ninja reflexes, even to this day.

I think about the next Big One almost daily. I live in fear that my house will slide down the canyon that it rests upon. Or that I’ll be stuck at work when it hits because BART (our public transportation system) will be shut down. And then I’ll probably have to work forever. Or that I’ll actually be commuting IN the Transbay Tube, which is the tunnel that goes UNDER the Bay into San Francisco. See? Isn’t that a frightening thought? To be stuck in a 4-mile-long, 40-year-old tunnel submerged 130 feet below sea level? NO THANK YOU!

Whatever the case, I know one thing for certain: just like when I was 14, I am NOT used to earthquakes. And I’m NOT prepared. Hopefully I’ll have better sense than to not just sit there in paralyzing fear. But I’ll probably choke up and do something completely wrong like stop-drop-and-roll instead. The best I can do is hope that I’ll roll right into a doorway or under a table. Wish me luck!

Love,

You

Tip #46: Please, I’m begging you: wear your retainer!

January 28, 2000

Okay, I am so mad! In second grade, I got a retainer. Then in third grade, I got braces for three years and then a retainer again since then. Now I don’t mind retainers but recently my wisdom teeth came in and uh-no! My teeth aren’t perfectly aligned on the right side of my mouth! No one can even see. Urrrrr. So anyway, my stupid orthodontist put braces in my mouth with rubber bands laced around them. When the rubber bands are in, it hurts my teeth. But when they are out, there is no cushioning and the braces poke at my cheeks. I have bloody sores on my cheeks, but when the rubber bands are in they clamp my teeth down so tight I can barely talk!


Dear Me,

I’m getting down on my hands and knees and begging, pleading, imploring you to wear your retainer. Please, little Kirsten, do not stop. Ever. This is – no joke – my number one regret in life. Look how sad you were; how much pain you endured for over a period of TEN years to get your teeth perfectly aligned. Don’t let all of the tears and fights be in vain. Think of all the money your parents spent to make you not look like your friends and family in Europe.

High School Prom (2003)/Wedding (2010). My bottom teeth don't look so bad at my wedding, but that was four years ago. You don't even want to see an updated photo.

High School Prom (2003)/Wedding (2010). My bottom teeth don’t look so bad at my wedding, but that was four years ago. You don’t even want to see an updated photo.

And your teeth were beautiful. People on the street would stop you just to compliment your smile. Okay, mainly creepy men, but who’s keeping track? All you needed to do was flash those flawless pearly whites and heads would turn, traffic would stop, and trumpets would sounds. Fine, I might be overreacting, but you did get one boyfriend (now husband) with your straight teeth.

Then one night in college you were sleeping in your dorm when a knock on the door woke you out of your slumber. You stumbled out of bed, not caring in the slightest what you looked like, to find one of your friends on the other side, taunting you for falling asleep before midnight (shhhh… it was really 10:30 p.m.). And what’s that? You have two retainers in your mouth? You still wear those? What a little baby! And that was it. Your retainers got hidden away for the next six months, until you found them when you were moving out of the dorm. You and your roommate laughed when you both could barely shove your respective retainers into your mouths. Your top one fit with much difficulty, but the bottom… well, was toast. You both laughed; silly teeth!

Ha. Ha. Ha. NOT FUNNY! The bottom teeth might have moved just slightly back then, but they will just keep sliding. Now they bother me so much that I have a habit of pushing them forward with my tongue or grinding them in hopes that they will go back in place (for the record, this has been an epic fail). I religiously wear my top retainer every night so that the top teeth don’t meet the same destiny. Luckily, I’m tall so when I’m standing, people can’t really see my bottom teeth. But then they see my double-chin, so it’s really a wash as to what’s worse.

I’ve been contemplating Invisalign for years, but I can’t bring myself to do it again. I don’t want to shed one more single tear due to the physical and monetary pain of making my teeth straight. But I’ll probably need to since grinding your teeth is like super bad. I just wish I could tell my past self: wear your freaking retainer!!!

Love,

You