We started using a babysitter in December 2011. Previously, we had just utilized the Grandparents, but Chris had been prodding me to find a babysitter I liked and get used to it so we could have more date nights and so that I would have options for the daytime.

So, with much trepidation, I agreed. My first pick was a blog reader, Giann. We had other family connections also, but my main connection with her was via this blog.

When Giann first started babysitting, I had a serious paranoia about how old she perceived me to be. I had just turned 30, so I had a bit of an Age Complex already.

I vividly remembered my teenage self, and also how old I perceived the Moms that I babysat for to be.

Which was pretty synonymous with ancient.

(Sorry, Moms-I-Babysat-For. I hate to say this in such a public setting. I’m positive that it wasn’t you, it was me.)

In my mind, Giann should perceive me as young. I NEEDED her to perceive me as young. But I wasn’t positive that this was the case.

I asked her often.

“How old do I seem to you?”

“You don’t think of me as ancient, do you?”


Being the new babysitter, she was always quick to politely tell me that she thought I was very young and hip.

(Although she probably didn’t use the word hip because it’s most likely an ancient word that I’m only using because I’m Paleolithic myself.)

A year and a half went by and I got over it, reconciling to myself that I indeed am aging and there’s nothing I can do about it, but perhaps all is not lost quite yet.

Until last week, when we had a brand new babysitter fill in for Giann.

I knew her, but Chris had never met her. While we were out, he mentioned, “Can you imagine how old we must seem to her?”

And there it was.

My spiral of age-loathing reared it’s hideous head all over again.

Except for the fact that at that same moment, I was adjusting my Pandora station on my phone, which was playing music through the car via bluetooth.

“Wait a minute.”

“Do you KNOW how cool my seventeen-year-old self would think I am right now? In 1998, I thought that people who had those dinky credit-card-sized remote controls for their car stereos were cool. And here I just adjusted my radio, WITH. MY. PHONE.”

“(Which has a COLOR SCREEN, by the way.)”

“Also? I asked our new babysitter if she wanted our Wi-Fi password before we left the house. The most technologically advanced information I ever got as a babysitter was how to work the microwave. Or maybe the cassette player.”

So I began to ponder. If we were to run into each other, what would my seventeen-year-old self think of me?

Seventeen to Thirty One

Seeing as how I feel that I am somewhat acquainted with her, here’s what I think:

1. She would be quite proud of herself for her precocious knowledge of the fact that she was going to marry that guy that played in the band with her. Because she did.

2. She would be slightly disappointed that I don’t still drive a stick shift. But then again, she’d never tried to cut up Chicken Nuggets while driving and feed them to a hungry toddler in the back seat, either.

3. She would be horrified to know that her precious Seagull guitar that she saved her money for and bought with such excitement has not been played in at least a year. And has not been played regularly since…I gave birth. Total loss of cool points.

4. She might be a bit peeved that I didn’t use a single name off of her “future children’s names” list. But Alexandria Victoria would be a stinkin’ long name for a girl to learn to spell. And she had no way of knowing that Alexia would sound like one of a million prescription drugs – after all, all we needed back then was Tylenol and Vicks Vaporub.

(But Alana is pretty close, so maybe a few cool points could be gained back.)

5. She might be a tinge disappointed in me for chickening out of going to college in Pennsylvania. But she’s to blame – after all, she knew I’d marry that guy back in point number one. And if that was going to happen, I needed to keep my college career close to home.

6. She would be shocked that I enjoy writing and actually do it every day without Mom holding The Proverbial Homeschool Gun to my head.

7. She would totally adore my kids. Because I do, and we’re like nearly the same person.

8. She would definitely be a bit ticked that all of her CDs are lost somewhere in the basement. Until I told her that they were all digitally stored on my car’s radio. She always did like fancy technology.

9. She might be a bit shocked that I threw away her pager (or “beeper”) sometime in the early 2000’s. And that I quit sending people message-by-numbers for them to decode. But once she saw what an iPhone can do…she’d get over it.

10. Ultimately, she probably would indeed think that I was a fossil. But a fossil with REALLY cool technology. And cute kids.

So. If you dare to consider…what would your seventeen-year-old self think of you?

31 thoughts on “On Impressing My Seventeen-Year-Old Self.

  1. That’s a really good inspiration for a blog post actually – we could have a big link up thingy…

    Also, how dare you look better at 30 than at 17! Stoppit, it’s not fair!

    1. I thought about it, but every time I do that no one links up. Instead, write it and link up in the comments! Or just write it in the comments. :-)

  2. I don’t know what a 17 year old thinks of you, but a 26 year old thinks your red dress with yellow belt outfit looks awesome and I totally want to copy it!

  3. Wow what would my 17 year old self think of the 37 year old me.

    1. she would be disappointed that I was not married yet but would probably understand that I believe God will send him when the time is right if I am supposed to get married.

    2. She would be very disappointed even angry that I did so poorly the first year and 1/2 when I went to college the first time at a small liberal arts school for women in Georgia, that I lost all my financial aid so I came home and didn’t graduate. But she would admire my decision to come home rather than burden my parents with more debt to keep me there. She would also admire the fact that I went back to school in Florida and graduated in the Fall of 2011 with by BA in history 14 years after when I would have graduated from Wesleyan.

    3. She would think I was a totally cool Aunt to my 2 nephews and adore them as much as I do.

    4. She would think it was cool that I have finally been out west to Montana and Wyoming. But wonder when I am going to go to Australia since that was my dream since seeing “The Man from Snowy River”.

    5. She would be surprised that I have finally accepted my curly hair and no longer try to get rid of the curls. And she would probably love the curls as much as I have grown to love them.

    6. She would love that I am still friends (more like sisters) with Melissa even though she moved back to Wisconsin, And that we make time to try and see each other in person when money allows. But talk, email and text weekly.

    7. She would be surprised that I am kind of a sco-fi/ fanatsy nerd when it comes to marvel cominc book movies, and Lord of the ring type stories.

    8. She would be totally surprised that I have watched tons of horror movies in recent years and even went to Halloween Horror nights (although that still scared the life out of me). All thanks to Pauline the other friend who is more like a sister. Because of her and her love of all things horror, vampire, and zombie I have either become desensitized or over come most of my fears of such things.

    That is all I can think of although I am there is more.

  4. My 17-year-old self was on the fast track to get married to a guy who is not currently my husband. So, I think she would be mopping her brow in relief that I heeded all of those annoying little niggling “this isn’t quite right” feelings.
    Also, she would be very impressed that I finally FINALLY worked up the nerve to hack all my hair off like I’d always wanted to, although she would be a little annoyed that I only did it after a kid, which kind of makes me one of thoe dorky simplify-everything-now-that-I-have-kids Mommy stereotypes. She would also be happy that the hair is now all back and that the aforementioned hacking made me brave enough to go crazy with the layering, which produced much better results over all.
    She would also be thrilled that Adelaide, the name she fell in love with after watching Anne of Green Gables 850 times growing up, ended up being the name of her beloved first daughter (her full name is Adelaide Elizabeth; clearly, I didn’t worry about that whole “long name” business being too intimidating; after all, we call her “Della;” and she can just write that until she’s like 15, right?).

    She would also be a little shocked at the whole 5 kids before 30 business (I mean, only by 12 days, but it counts)., since she always figured she would have a good amount of kids but just NOT THAT FAST. She would also be MONDO-impressed by how chill I am about having multiples, considering that the thought terrified me from an early age.

    And, finally, she would be less than thrilled with the numerous crinkle lines around my eyes and the fact that I.STILL.GET.PIMPLES!!! (What’s up with that?)

    ANYhoo, overall, I think she wouldn’t be too sad about how I turned out.

  5. Well I think your 17-year-old self would think your 31-year-old self is pretty smokin’ hot! :-) Seriously, you’re adorbs. Love the outfit!

    I think my 17-year-old self would be thrilled with my almost-30-year-old self. When I was 17 I didn’t have a grand plan of where I was going to be by now. I really didn’t know where life was going to go. But I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out. I have a wonderful husband, two little boys I love with every fiber of my being, a roof over my head, a family and friends who love me, and much better fashion sense. And clear skin. The clear skin alone would make my 17-year-old self happy!

  6. I think my seventeen year old self would be pleased with where I am.
    1. She would think that my husband and daughter are great.
    2. She would be confused about why I don’t live by the ocean, but decide that mountains work too.
    3. She would be confused about why I actually want to live NEAR my FAMILY and am willing to let my mother in law move in with us. She would be completely shocked.
    4. She would be super impressed that I did so well in school and worked for a fancy law firm.
    5. She would wonder why I never lived anyplace crazy and foreign, like India or Italy.
    6. She would be pleased that her fashion sense finally improved.
    7. She would be disappointed that I didn’t keep up martial arts.

    All in all, I think she would think I’m very together, successful, and accomplished, but probably not cool.

  7. I love your blog, but I have no idea how you have time to write and homeschool. Do you have extra hours in your day? Anyway, I think my 17 year old self would be:
    1. Impressed at how well I can drive.
    2. Relieved that I managed to not be a teen-pregnancy statistic (dodged that bullet by a pretty wide margin).
    3. Shocked that I exercise by choice.
    4. Glad that I finally moved to a warmer climate.
    5. Thrilled that I managed to shed my NJ accent (even if a “harrible” instead of “horrible” slips out on rare occasions).
    6. Sad that my daughters aren’t named Haleigh and Raleigh and my son isn’t named Cody.
    7. Embarrassed that I don’t still wear baggy flannel shirts, cut-off jean shorts, and Timberlands.
    8. Interested to see that I now carry a purse without feeling like a fraud grown-up.
    9. Relieved that I married a nice southern boy and not the guy I was dating at 17 who lost his car in the (very small) movie theatre parking lot for several hours and insisted on “shifting” his automatic transmission car.
    10. Disappointed that although I live in Georgia, I do not personally know any members of REM.


    1. Thanks! I blog during naptime/quiet time. We’re all introverts, so Ali takes a nice, long quiet time, and that’s my only chance to get things done!

      And I wish I could shock my seventeen-year-old self with the fact that I exercise by choice, because it’s just not true.

      And welcome to the south!

  8. Me oh my.
    1. My seventeen year old self would be very surprised to learn that indeed she did not know it all.
    2.She’d be extremely giddy about my love story.
    3. She would be super happy that all that practice in stuffing a bra finally paid off making placement of nursing pads uber easy.
    4. She would be shocked that the ladder speed drills Willie Smith taught us make my children stand in awe. Mostly because of all those 5th place ribbons she “won” at track meets.
    5. She would argue with me about our decision NOT to homeschool the children.
    6. When she found out I don’t live in Birmingham she might cry a little- I know I still do from time to time.
    7. She’d stop crying when she realized I am still very close to my friends there.
    8. She’d be confused that I married a Baptist. Flabbergasted that I was baptized as an adult. And thrilled beyond thrilled that her sweet little boy has professed Christ as Lord.
    9. She would be enthralled with these four precious children Chad and I have.
    10.She would love that I still change my hair color on a whim and only put make-up on when it’s a special occasion.

    Overall I think she would like me a lot. But if I tried to hire her as a babysitter, she’d charge me double after she met the kids!

  9. This is such a cool post. And, since I’m closer to 17 than 31, it counts as coming from someone young and hip, right? :)
    I also think you look just about the same in your 17 to 31 photo. Ridiculous and if you have any secrets, please share.

    1. Aw, thanks!

      I think I’ve “aged well” because I’ve become more style conscious as an adult than I was as a teenager. It hides a multitude of aging spots.

  10. Oh boy. I think my 17 yr old self would be pretty judgmental of and disappointed in me. After all, I wear pants, (skinny jeans and running tights even!) real shorts (no more “must cover the knees” stuff) and only go to church on Sunday mornings. A church with a band, no less. I did not marry a preacher or missionary and I only have 2 kids with no plans of having more. I’m not going to homeschool those kids at this point, either.

    But she would probably think my iPhone was awesome and be proud of my self taught wire knitting skills. So there’s that.

    Yeah I grew up in a super strict/fundamental home and church.

    1. Ha! It’s funny how convicted we can be as teenagers, isn’t it? Especially about stuff that, when we get a little older, we realize aren’t quite that big of deals after all.

      My seventeen-year-old self might be shocked that…on occasion…I’ve worn a nice pair of BLUE JEANS to church. On Sunday Morning!!

      1. So you get it! I do love wearing jeans on sundays and actually staying warm when its freezing outside. Unfortunately most of the rest of my family is still in my old mindset and church, so I get my old views reflected back to me quite often. It’s… Interesting.

  11. I didn’t know you then but I think you are way cooler as a 31 than a 17! I mean you are a nationally known writer! :) I can barely remember how I thought of myself at 17! I was a lot more introverted so at least I’ve grown in that way!

  12. Such a great post to reflect on! Ok, here goes:

    1. My 17 y/o self would be proud that she told her fiancé “No!” when he wanted to get back together after he broke up with her

    2. She would be shocked that she was OK with not having a child of the female variety. She’ll understand later just how great boys are :)

    3. She would be impressed that she accomplished 2 goals this year she never thought she would – She stopped biting her nails (I KNOW, it was a horrible habit!) and stopped drinking sodas completely.

    4. She would be happy to know that she overcame her fear of public speaking and now actually somewhat enjoys it when asked to teach classes, etc.

    5. She would also be impressed at her interest in learning new things/skills such as Photoshop/Lightroom mastery, that time I bought a violin because I really wanted to learn (and did a little, but that was before there were sleeping babies in the house… maybe in a few more years I’ll pick it up again), and most shocking of all- crocheting. Just like her mother, which she said she would never be interested in learning..

    6. She would be impressed that she now has a garden every year and actually grows enough to give away and keep her family fed all summer.

    7. She would be impressed that although she hated studying and homework in high school SO MUCH, she actually got pretty good at it in college and managed to graduate with 2 degrees in 4 years, and finish Magna Cum Laude. Then she would should “NERD!” at herself.

    8. Lastly, she would adore her future family but it is one that she never could have dreamed she would end up with!

    Isn’t it good that we don’t know these things when we’re 17? The surprise parts are the best!

    1. Too true! And great list – it sounds like you would have made your seventeen-year-old self quite happy! I’M especially impressed with the gardening. Me and my seventeen-year-old self hated that.

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