Monday, July 6, 2015

To My Sixteen-Year-Old Self

Ermagherd! Last night, you totes got into see Def Leppard for free, and it was da bomb! 

(Translation into 1989-speak for my back-then self: (in Boston-accented Valley-girl) Ohmigod, I, like, totally saw Def Lep live last night, freebie. It was wicked awesome pissah!)

Does anyone else out there do this? You get to a point in your life--maybe something happens, or maybe it's just a random Monday--and you look around and wish you could time travel, or send a note back or something, and talk to your younger self. Me? I do it lots. 

Not so much to warn myself against doing something--I figure I've learned more from my mistakes than the things that came easy. I wouldn't go back and tell then-me not to date my ex, or to get out far sooner than I did, because while that might have saved me from some very dark times, those experiences made me who I am today. 

Those dark days, though … I wish I could get a message through time to thirty-seven-year-old me. Back in July of 2010, my ex was suddenly an ex and I was clearing, repairing, repainting and landscaping an entire four-bedroom house for sale while keeping the horse farm going and trying to write a romance. I was sleeping a few hours a night, and had the TV playing Law and Order marathons damn near 24/7, trying not to think too much, and crying when I did--not so much for a relationship that hadn't been doing either of us any good for a while, but for the life I was saying goodbye to, and the background mantra that a woman is more likely to die in a plane crash than get married after thirty-five. I kept telling myself it was going to be okay, but in the wee hours, that sounded pretty hollow.

Now, I wish I could whisper back to that self of mine and say It's not just going to be okay, it's going to be amazing. Just hang in there. 

Five years later, I'm a wife and a mommy. Mr. Right and I have a cute little house in the trees, an awesome baby, an eleven-year-old car, and a list of fun things we want to do together. And, last night, I got to see my teen-self's all-time-favorite band perform live!

It went like this:

RescueDeb (president of Beech Brook Farm Equine Rescue): Hey, volunteers! We've been selected by an organization called Rock To The Rescue. We're going to be featured at the upcoming Styxx concert at Mohegan Sun, where we'll be selling tickets to raffle off a signed Fender guitar. Our rescue gets a quarter of the proceeds directly and the rest goes to their foundation, to be given out as grants. No admin fees, all proceeds to charity, all good stuff. Who wants to sell raffle tickets? You can stay after and see the show.

Me (former hair band junkie, though not a huge Styxx fan): Sure, I'll go.

RescueDeb: We need bodies. The more the merrier!

Me: (emails two friends who have supported the rescue in the past, and who I think might go for a hair-band night at the casino)

RhondaFriend: Drat! I'm out of town!

GailFriend: Hubby and I are in! We were talking about going to the concert. Styxx rocks. Love DL, too. 

Me (blinks): DL … DL … D … ERMAGHERD! Is Def Leppard going to be there????!!!??? SQUEEEEE!

See, back in the day, my then-bestie, KristinFriend and I were The Biggest Fangirls. We didn't just have every Def Leppard album ever made--on cassette first, then CD--we had VHS copies of every rockumentary, interview or video we could get our hands on, plus acid wash jeans and blue jean jackets lovingly decorated with their logos and lyrics in puffy washable paint, and we spent hours talking about … well, you get the picture. 

So, yeah. Def Leppard. And, it turns out, Tesla, as the warmup act. Can you say Hair Band Heaven? It was a total blast. Not only did the Beech Brook Farm team kick ass selling raffle tickets, making lots of $$ for the rescue, we were then given access to a little section of seats slightly behind the stage, to watch the show! The sound quality wasn't the greatest because we were behind the speakers, but who cared? I knew all the words and my brain filled in the music.

And, because I was up way too late and am a little scattered, here are a few impressions, in no particular order:

-The crowd was older than it would've been when I was sixteen, and the panties that got thrown on stage were a lot bigger. (Though, in fairness, the pink ones might have been a slipcover.)

-Old rockers may have to take it down an octave now and then, but they sure know how to work a crowd.

-There's no better text to get from hubby in response to 'I'm thinking of staying longer, everything okay?' than 'All good. Dealt with giant sh*t. Baby asleep now. I'm watching sharks.' 

-There was this one guy in the crowd I couldn't stop staring at. He was wearing all white, looked like Doc Brown from Back to the Future, and stood stock still the entire time, staring off into space. Everyone around him was moving and rocking and banging heads, and he just stood there. And no matter what the lighting, he seemed to glow. I don't know what his story was, but I was tempted to borrow a phone and take a picture to see if he would show up.

-If you would have asked me back when I was sixteen what it would take to get me to leave a Def Leppard concert before the last song, my answer would not have been: It's been six hours since I last nursed.

-Nothing says "boys' night at home" quite like looking this morning for the little mesh feeders that I'm using to introduce bits of banana or avocado into baby Wallaby's diet, and finding them under the coffee table, one lovingly filled with a teaspoon of enchilada, the other with the same amount of Hawaiian pizza. 

And so, I wish you good music, ReaderFriends, a blast from the past, and maybe a whisper from your future self on a dark day, saying, It's not just going to be okay, it's going to be awesome … with a side of enchiladas and Hawaiian pizza!


  1. OMG that's awesome! My mom got to see them live twice when she was young and that's the music I grew up listening to. I'm glad to hear the rescue fundraising is doing well and I'm also happy to hear you got a fun night out! Xoxo

    1. Feeling the generation gap, LOL! Though I totally get the warm fuzzes when it comes to your mom's music--Arizona was in charge of the iPod in the delivery room, and, after Mumford and Sons and Simon and Garfunkel, Wallaby was born to Judy Collins, which was what I grew up listening to. Circles of life and all that!

  2. So much fun last night, and yes, it brought back memories my 16 year-old self and seeing DL for the first time. Loved that they let us stay for the concert and it was kind of fun getting to watch the backstage action. Thanks for asking us, we were happy to help the rescue out. Of course, I still have "So you wanna rock?" running through my head...probably will for a few days and that's okay.

    1. Wicked fun! Ha ha. So you wanna ROOOOCKKKK????

  3. Love your philosophy on past mistakes. I've always backed away from questions like 'what would you tell your youngest self '. First off I probably wouldn't listen even to myself. Second, I'd be too stunned to see my older self to do anything at all. Glad you had a fantastic time!

    1. So true! I often think I wouldn't have listened to myself, or figured I was losing my mind. And, besides, I like me, and I wouldn't be the same me if I hadn't lived the life I've lived!

  4. Past mistakes I've made a few ok more like a million lol but when asked if I'd change anything including getting pregnant at 16 my answer is always never because without those bad choices I wouldn't have the life I do now which includes a wonderful husband who adopted my son April 1st 1998, 2 more sons and a perfect grandson born April 1st 2015 the same day his dad was adopted only 17 or so years later lol. We have always had a small party on that day to celebrate the adoption so now we can have a huge party celebrate both! I wish I could post a picture of my family becsuse it is amazing.
    You should never change the past good, bad or down right ugly because those scars physically and emotionally are what made you the person you are today. Those mistakes have made you stronger, wiser and have taught you that you can handle anything. Without living the life I've lived how could I ever teach my sons the things they need to know. Without the scar on my heart from my ex how would I know to appreciate and cherish man I lay next to every night and laugh with everyday? When I remember my past I think of all the fun I've had, mistakes I've made and lessons I've learned so I can pass that all on to my children now and hopefully save them from making the same ones I did I'm sure they are making plenty of mistake of their own the is crazy journey we call life.

    1. Pumpkin, thank you for sharing that. Truly. I'm not going to add a flip comment or anything silly, because this deserves to be read as it was written.