Dear 30 Year Old Ben:
What are you doing? Quit screwing up all of my plans?!?!
20 Year Old Ben
What would my 20 year old self think of the 30 year old me? This is the letter he would write me: (Actually, he wouldn't write anything. 20 year old Ben hated writing).
You are so different than I thought you were gonna be. What happened? Let me categorize and explain all the things that have happened to you.
Did you seriously start a blog? I didn’t even know you liked writing? In fact, we used to joke all the time how you got B’s in remedial English class in high school. Remember, freshman year at RU, after we got an A in Expository Writing (supposedly the hardest class at Rutgers because the teacher was friends with your sister), we went back to our HS teacher who’d told us how hard it was, and showed her. Yea, that’s how much we hated writing. We hated it so much that we never took a second writing class in the next 3.5 years of school. We hated it so much because we got B’s in our history classes even though we liked them so much more than our finance classes. And now you write 2x a week (at least you did till the end of the summer).
Dude, you were supposed to be MARRIED by now?! WTF. Your older sister is going to get engaged about a year and yet 9 years after that, you’re still “single?” You better be dating cute girls. Damn, and wow. I take all that back. You’re girlfriend is mad hot, much hotter than any girl I, at 20, could ever think about attaining. Do you remember how celibate we were b/c of our high standards? I guess you finally caught up to those standards. Perhaps the fact that you’re fat is helping a little. Is she smart? Who cares, I def don’t care about that at 20!
Holy crap Ben, you got fat! When you were my age, you were 6’2, 155 lbs. Now you’re 6’3, 210 lbs (yes, I don’t get it either, but you’re an inch taller from 20 – 30). You used to have a slim fast WITH breakfast and lunch in order to gain weight. Don’t you remember the deals you made with yourself? You said you’d start eating healthy when you started to have a stomach. Um, have you looked in the mirror? Stop eating so much. We used to go to the gym all the time, volleyball practice 8 days a week and hitting weights once a week. We used to look like THIS and THIS? What happened to that? Have a salad and hit the gym you fat fuck.
And while we’re talking about your looks, why don’t we discuss this whole wardrobe you’ve got going on. When did you start caring about your clothes and buying jeans for over $30? When did you start getting your suits and shirts tailored to your awkward sizes? Why is this ok? You don’t want people to like you for what you look like, so why dress well? You’re just opening up yourself to people judging you! You’re apartment is absurd. You’re spending way more on that place for “show.” You don’t need that glam, you don’t need something so showy. Do you remember your college apt? Do you remember your first apartment in Hoboken? You were happy in those 300 sq ft run down places. Why do you need all that? Good, you don’t. Good.
Remember our plan? You were gonna work for 8 years until you were 30, then start a career you actually like. We even had a budget. You make 150K a year and then you’d spend $1,000 on rent, $1,000 on everything else every month and save $75K a year! After 8 years, compounded at 9%, you’d have $1.0M, and would retire into teaching. Remember that? What about that PHD in financial engineering we’d discussed? What about staring your own company? Obviously you can’t do that in finance, but you can in almost any other field.
How did you put on 60 lbs, yet get better at volleyball. Is that really possible? Your overall game is so much better though you are obviously slower and can’t jump nearly as high. I’m glad your ball skills have improved enough that you can actually play the back row, or set for your team if need be.
Are you seriously only dating Jewish girls? When did you start going to all these Jewish events? When did you start getting involved with all these Jewish charities? I’m absolutely amazed at how much you care about Judaism, Israel, and being Jewish now that you’re 30. However, I’m glad your thoughts on G-d, the afterlife, and religion in general have not changed much. Yet I’m amazed that being “Jewish” is somehow much more important to you. Your connection our collective Jewish history is stronger, your connection to Israel is much stronger, and your connection to other similar Jews is much stronger. In college, we hardly ever hung out with Jewish people or did anything Jewish. Though your sophomore year roommate was Jewish, none of your 7 junior year college roommates were Jewish, nor were most of your best college friends.
KICK ASS BEN. You found people that actually like you for you. All you had to do was be a jerk and think more highly of yourself, and people started thinking more highly of you. Just don’t let it go to your head. It probably has a lot to do with how much your looks have improved. Don’t forget, those will disappear in another 10 years, or if you keep getting fatter, idiot. But seriously, your friends are kinda awesome… like really awesome… like so much more awesome then most of the people you hung out with at 20 (and don’t even get me started w/the kids from high school).
You are very lucky that it’s become easy to stay close to good friends vs 10 years ago! Email is probably the #1 reason, with text messaging and social networks a close second/third. You’re now good friends with people in San Fran, LA, Arizona, Chicago, South Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Denver, DC, Boston, UK, Estonia, Norway, France, and Barcelona. Most of them know what you’ve been doing, and you know what they’ve been doing. Amazing.
Porn & Sexuality:
You still like girls. In fact, you still like girls too much. I guess this means there haven't been many changes, which is a relief (b/c not everyone was sure you'd make it). However, perhaps you shouldn’t still be using the same websites you were 10 years ago. AND the online dating thing you did a few years ago…what were you thinking?
I'm pretty proud of the person you've become...but its time to grow up, realize some of your goals, and do what you enjoy. 30 year old Ben, you've still got plenty of work to do, and I fear for 40 year old Ben.