The Time Traveler’s Meme

Emily the Queen o’ Memes, has a new creation with orders to all of her readers that must not be ignored. So here goes:

1. Depending on your age, go back 10, 15, 20, or even more years.
2. Tell us how many years back you have traveled.
3. Pretend you have met yourself during that era, and tell us where you are.
4. You only have one “date” with this former self.
5. Answer the questions.

I think I’ll go back 15 years, which would put me at 21, in my senior year of college.

1. Would your younger self recognize you when you first meet? I think so. My hair has gotten shorter since then, but it’s still basically the same style and color (with possibly less gray now than I had then, believe it or not), and I dress in much the same way. I think I’m about the same weight. If there are radical things that have changed, I’m not aware of it.

2. Would she be surprised to discover what you are doing job wise? No. She wouldn’t have expected the particular location and school I’m at, but the fact that I’m a teacher wouldn’t be a surprise at all. I’ve always been rather boring and predictable that way.

3. What piece of fashion advice would you give her? Find friends who like to shop and who will help you pick things out. It worked well with Becky, although now that she’s moved to England, I’m going to have to get my fashion advice long-distance. But shopping on my own? I’d tell myself to face the fact that I hate it and find friends who don’t.

4. What do you think she is most going to want to know? Probably about grad school, which she was in the process of applying for at the time, and in the longer term about careers. Everyone was saying at the time that academic jobs are hard to get (although they’ve gotten even harder since then), so would her strange self-confidence be justified? But also about relationships and marriage, of course. She wasn’t dating anyone at the time and had no idea that in one year …

5. How would you answer her question? If I could manage it, I wouldn’t answer it at all. I think it’s better not to know things. But I’m not the sort who can be sensible and refuse to divulge things, so I would probably answer everything she asked.

6. What would probably be the best thing to tell her?
Generally speaking, I would tell her not to be so nervous and afraid of new things. Actually, there’s a lot she’s not afraid of, as she’s going to move to a fairly rough neighborhood in the Bronx soon (although she has no idea of it yet), and she’ll do just fine. But she could be less afraid of other people and less worried about making mistakes. And she could be less judgmental about other people’s choices.

7. What is something that you probably wouldn’t tell her?
That she will change remarkably little. This is good in some ways, but disappointing in others.

8. What do you think will most surprise her about you?
She’d say, “I’ve become an athlete? I enjoy exercising? I ride 5,000+ miles a year on my bike and race? Yeah, right. Exercise is just another chore, and I don’t know the first thing about bikes. And don’t care.” And she’d also say, “You don’t call yourself a Christian any longer? You practice yoga and read books about  Buddhism and spirituality? You’ve become one of those kinds of people!?”

9. What do you think will least surprise her? That I’m teaching and reading a lot. That I like reading Victorian novels. That I’ve done a lot of hiking.

10. At this point in your life, would you like to run into “you” from the future? No. Being 15 years older than my former self has made me a lot less confident about the future. I don’t want to know.


Filed under Memes

10 responses to “The Time Traveler’s Meme

  1. I loved this meme when I saw it on Emily’s site and yours is just as touching. I do appreciate the way that it shows us just how much we change when we’re not looking.


  2. Part of me would want to meet my future self but the other part says no way, I don’t want to know, just let me live in happy ignorance.


  3. I’m not sure I would have liked to meet myself as an older person–but I might not mind going backwards and changing a few things! 🙂 I hate clothes shopping, too, and avoid it as much as possible–it’s good to have a friend to help make decisions.


  4. Litlove — sometimes I feel as though I’ve changed greatly, and sometimes that I haven’t changed at all. I tend to think I’m completely different now, and then I’ll read something I wrote a long time ago and am surprised at how little I’ve changed. Who knows, really!

    Stefanie — exactly. The smarter part of me doesn’t want to know, but the curious part can’t stand not knowing things. Good thing we don’t really have a choice 🙂

    Danielle — it’s a wonder I’m clothed at all, given how little I like shopping! Yes, there are definitely some things to change from the past. Oh, well — I guess the only thing to do is to try not to do anything I’ll wish in the future I could undo!


  5. It sounds like it’s been a good 15 years. I enjoyed reading this and when you got to the bit about Buddhism, I was smiling.


  6. Thanks for playing. I love your answers. I’m with you on shopping with Ms. Musings. She certainly knows how to make it fun. I especially like your answer to #10. My guess is that most of us don’t really want to know about the future, unless someone can guarantee that something absolutely fantastic is going to happen to us or that something we absolutely dread and fear never will, so we needn’t worry about it at all.


  7. Good answers. I am thinking I may have to take on this meme for tomorrow’s post. Reading your “What to tell your younger self” section, I had an ‘ouch’ moment. I realized I need to tell my younger self not to be as judgmental as well.


  8. Lilian — thinking about my own religious journey makes me smile too — you never know where you’ll end up, although I seriously doubt I’ll end up in an evangelical church again.

    Emily — I try to keep Becky’s taste and energy in mind when I do my own shopping, and it helps a little bit 🙂

    Bikkuri — yes, please do the meme! I suspect a lot of people would tell their younger selves to lighten up on the judgment some, and that they don’t know as much as they think they do.


  9. This is just such a cool meme. Really makes you take stock of the things that have changed (or not) right?

    I think I’m with Danielle, I wouldn’t mind going back to meet the younger me and telling myself to chill out, or better yet, start yoga in my 20s! 🙂


  10. Pingback: Time Travelling « Tales from the Reading Room

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