To young Barbara:
1. Stop envying others’ tastes and choices and rely on your own ideas. Find your own path even if you have to go against what’s popular or cool. Start asking yourself what you like.
2. Speaking of which, don’t be afraid to not be cool. I mean, sorry to break it to you, but you will never, ever attain “cool” status. So just embrace that fact now and make your own rules.
3. Start paying really close attention in History and Geography classes—because they will both come in very handy when you grow up… And accept now that you really want to be a writer (because you can use the extra—and early—years of practice).
4. …and, no, you will never, in fact, miss acquiring those elusive math skills.
5. Start yoga as soon as it becomes all the rage. You will love it and it will get you through many stressful periods of heartache and frustration.
To Young Deb:
1. You are more than a body. Speak up. Say no. More than that say, “How dare you!”
2. You are smart. Very smart. You just learn differently and they don’t have a name for it yet, so demand attention and respect.
3. Try and stick with the piano. Please. Learn to read that music at whatever cost.
4. Stop being afraid of water, the dark, and whatever else lurks in the recesses of your mind.
5. Learn to balance a checkbook. Restrain yourself and your spending. You will thank yourself for it later. 60 pairs of shoes, as you will soon find out, amounts to 60 pairs of shoes. Find the balance in this shopping world.