If We Were Having Coffee – Sitting Down With 18-year-old Me

Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dude if we were having coffee I would tell you that you’re a fine young man but you’re also a bit of an idiot.

You’re at what I call the age of infinite wisdom. You think you know everything and no one can tell you a damn thing. Well Norm, I’m here from your future to tell you that right now: You. Don’t. Know. Shit.

It’s not your fault. You’re only 18 and there’s still so much you have to learn.

You can wipe that stunned look off your face too. Yes this is what you’re going to look like 32 years, 150,000 cigarettes, too many 60-hour work weeks, one major surgery, and 40 pounds from now.

Oh yeah that’s right, you haven’t even started smoking yet. Hey, maybe it’s not too late…

Okay so listen up. In about a year you’re going to meet this girl see. Yeah I know, it’s always about a girl isn’t it? Well, you two will really hit it off and because she smokes, you’re gonna somehow get it into your head that it’s a good idea for you to start too.

See, I told you you were an idiot!

To make matters worse it’s going to backfire. She’s going to be disappointed and a little turned off by it. Things will barely last through the summer before she drops you for another guy.

But that’s okay because you’re going to bump into her years later and realize that you really dodged a bullet with that one. You’ll see what I mean in due time.

So since you know it’s not going to last, can you do us a favor and not start smoking please? If you do start we’ll be carrying that monkey around on our back for almost two decades, and I’m telling you man: quitting was a bitch!

If we were having coffee I’d also tell you to slow down with the partying, spending, and especially, treating others. I know you’re having fun with the steady paycheck, your own apartment and lots of friends and hangers-on to make you feel important, but you’re burning through your savings like a drunken sailor. In a while when the hard times come, and don’t you worry they WILL come, none but a select few of those so-called friends will be around to help.

I’d also tell you to get your ass back in school as soon as possible. Now don’t shake your head and roll your eyes at me! Yeah I know, you don’t need a piece of paper to succeed, blah, blah, blah, and yes you’ll do okay in the end. But trust me, an education makes it easier to get your foot in the door and it greases the wheels to help you get ahead once you get in. Listen to me now or find out the hard way later; your choice.

If we were having coffee I’d want you to know that despite what I said, I do think you’re a smart guy. You have good instincts. It’s just frustrating because oftentimes you know better, and yet you make things more difficult for yourself by not following those instincts. So listen to your gut – it won’t steer you wrong very often.

For example: There’s going to be promotion that a new boss is going to offer you, where you’ll have to relocate to Vancouver. It will offer more money and prestige; very tempting. However, your gut is going to tell you that the budding romance you’ve been involved in has the potential to be the real thing. And understandably she’s not going to want to give up her good job to pack up and move across the country with a guy she’s known for barely six months.

When you tell your boss why you’re hesitating he’s going to give a you stunned look and say, “You know they have women in Vancouver too, right?” Then your gut is going to tell you that he’s a superficial ass-hat who can’t be trusted and you’re going to tell him, “Thanks, but no thanks.” I can tell that it was a good thing you listened to your gut, because ten months later under this idiot’s guidance, that company goes bust.

There’s a lot more I could tell you about the women who’ll come into your life, but I think I’ll let you have fun finding out for yourself.

There will be a few who’ll break your heart and a few others where the timing won’t be right, or you just won’t be right for each other. That’s okay, some relationships just aren’t meant to happen. Accepting that and knowing when to let go doesn’t mean failure. It’s called knowing when to cut your losses.

I’d also tell you to not be in such a rush. Take your time and get to know each other better before jumping into bed or getting too serious. I’d tell you, but you’re not gonna listen to me are you?

No, I didn’t think so.

If we were having coffee I’d encourage you at the very least to learn from those experiences and use them to better yourself. It may not be obvious when you’re in it, but it’s all meant to prepare you to be in the right place mentally and emotionally when the right girl does come along.

You know that budding relationship I told you about where you turn down a good-paying job in Vancouver? Yeah, she turns out to be the one. See? Your gut was right.

Last but not least if we were having coffee, I don’t want to sound like your old man but if  you think you’re rocking that beatnik jazz bassist look with the hat, thin white leather tie,  that long stringy hair and scruffy beard, well I have news for you.

In reality you look like an underfed billy-goat. Do us a favor dude: get a fricken haircut and reacquaint yourself with a razor because you’re going to be soooo embarrassed in a few years when you look back at pictures of yourself from today.

Norm at 18

Note: You can link your If We Were Having Coffee post with others on Part Time Monster and share them on Twitter under the hashtag #WeekendCoffeeShare

About Norm 3.0

World’s youngest grumpy old man & heart failure wonder boy. Interests: writing, woodworking, photography, travel, tennis, wine, and I know a bit about power tools.
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65 Responses to If We Were Having Coffee – Sitting Down With 18-year-old Me

  1. irinadim says:

    This piece was such fun to read. Excellent writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. joyezeka says:

    oooooo!!! i enjoyed this one!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sometimes wonder what older me would tell current me. I know for sure that if I would have told my 16 year old self what’s happened the past year(s), she’d be completely stunned. And she wouldn’t take my advice. Pretty sure of that. But nowadays, I think I would appreciate some advice, so it would be cool if I got it!

    Real good post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. seaangel4444 says:

    I utterly love this post, Norm! Insightful, open, and gracious. I have often said I wish I were a time traveler; giving our younger selves a ‘what for’ would seem like the best thing to do! Thank you, Norm! Cher xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aw, that ending, beautiful. This was a great read. If only we had the wisdom that comes with age when we’re young.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on The Indecisive Eejit and commented:
    Love this post! Well worth a read.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Steve says:

    Love the photo 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brilliant Norm, loved it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderfully written Norm and sound advice to yourself as well.

    When I look back at old photos of myself, I think “what the…” but I guess it was the fashion of the day and everyone was looking pretty much the same.

    A great take on the “If we were having coffee” prompt ,and a great read. I’m way too late with my post but may just go ahead anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Shreya says:

    This made me laugh and tear up all at once. So beautiful. I hope I have something this wise to tell 18-year-old me in some years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thank you Shreya and welcome.
      I think the purpose of life is to accumulate wisdom through experience.
      Actually that’s just a fancy way of saying; make a lot of mistakes and learn from them!
      I’m glad you enjoyed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. NancyTex says:

    Oh to have the benefit of today’s wisdom back then. Sigh. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. wccunningham says:

    If we only knew then what we know now… I’d still have a 68 GTO sitting in the garage but noooo… at 21 I felt it was a kid’s car and bought a huge LTD off my parents because it looked more grown up.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Something tells me as long as he follows his gut and his heart, he’s going to be just fine. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Corina says:

    Wonderful post! If only we could change the past with one of these talks! Oh but then again, that might change the good parts of life too. Hhm. What to do? What to do? I guess it’s a good thing we can’t really change our pasts but maybe it will cause us to think a little more about our futures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thank you Corina and welcome. I know what you mean, but if there was a way to go back and warn myself about some of my dumb mistakes without changing the overall outcome, I think I’d do it.


  15. desleyjane says:

    This is a great post Norm, funny but real. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Bernice says:

    Good advice! And a good post. We have all made so many mistakes. I would never want to turn back the clock unless I would have the knowledge and wisdom I have today!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ana says:

    Great post! I love your capacity to laugh at your past and present self, it is refreshing. I might actually do one of those myself – thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Ana. I believe that the ability to not take ourselves too seriously is what allows joy enter our lives.
      With so many serious thinks in this world that we cannot avoid, why add to the pile if we don’t have to?
      I’ll be keeping an eye out for your post 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Gene'O says:

    Ha haa. I might have to try this your way one of these weeks. I love this post, and that photo at the end is too much. You may have been scraggly, but at least you did not shave the sides of your head like I did.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. hollie says:

    Oh I loved this post and the throwback picture! I might have to do one of these soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dana Renee says:

    I love how you always add such a wonderful and interesting twist to these coffee chats!! I think it would have been great to know you at 18 … but I’m glad I “know” you now.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Robin Rivera says:

    Great post. This was a fun idea for a coffee share.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Diana says:

    🙂 This is great! I love the photo, too.

    I’m not sure what I’d say to my younger self. I’d have to really think about it, because I’d want me to make the decisions I have to end up where I am now and not change that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks glad you enjoyed. I hesitated on adding that photo though…
      We’d all love to go back and give ourselves advice, even if just to avoid a few bumps in the road towards where we end up. The question is, would the younger you even listen?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Diana says:

        Oh, it’s wonderful! It’s always nice to see what people were like, I think.

        I often wonder who people were before I knew them. It’s a fun game.

        Knowing younger me, I’d have listened to myself, but only myself. lol I was such a little shit.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. This was a great post that every reader could appreciate. You did a good job of weaving content because there are definitely some conversations one would have with their younger self that you wouldn’t want forever found on the www. One word I’d discuss over coffee with my younger self would be ‘control’ because you really don’t have any. Gut instinct, yes, but control no. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Pamela Morse says:

    I am not sure about the underfed billy goat metaphor…but loose that hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Trent Lewin says:

    Your gut was right! Mine’s been wrong at times, too. I should sit back and write to my past self, there is so much to say. Wish I could reach through the fog and tell that kid what not to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I really enjoyed this! I was giggling a bit which got my husband wanting to read it too. I was probably the opposite at 18. Looking back, I’d tell myself not to work so hard and worry so much and that education isn’t everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. April says:

    Great piece! enjoyed every second of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Rose Red says:

    Great piece, got me thinking about what I would say to my younger self. It’s not a bad look, though I’d lose the beret. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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