The Me at 20 Challenge

On April 13, user Nat. @202nat posted this tweet “Lmaooo what did y’all look like at 20?” and the internet went nuts. From celebrities to moms to influencers, thousands jumped on the #meat20challenge and started posting pictures of when they were 20. In a typical fashion, without giving it much thought, I jumped on the bandwagon. I immediately went into my archives before we had a time stamp on every digital picture; I found a good one. I posted and waited. What will my friends think and say? How cute are you? OMG, you were so pretty! You didn’t age—Blah blah. I was eagerly waiting, and I got the feedback I was looking for. Yeah, I was younger and maybe cuter, but I wasn’t happier. Today on my drive back from Trader Joe’s, I thought a little more about my 20s. I came home, and a friend who knew me at 20 posted, hey, you are cute now, but I would take 20 any day if it were offered to me. My brain started revving, and as I scratched my head trying to respond with “me too,” I paused and disagreed with her. I don’t want to go back. Hell to the no no no!

At 20, I didn’t have wrinkles, yes. But I also didn’t have any money. I was broke, living paycheck to paycheck. I drank cheap wine, and living in LA, a trip to San Diego was considered ‘traveling.’ I lived in a shit neighborhood with a metal front door screen. The kind you see in holding facilities. I had police helicopter lights on my balcony every night. I smoked and probably stunk and didn’t wear sunscreen. I drove a Nissan Sentra that smelled like mildew and didn’t have AC. I was with the wrong guy and nursing friendships that were probably not great for me.

At 20, my skin was thin. Boy, look at me the wrong way, and I would go into a spiraling rage. I could destroy someone for looking at me the wrong way. Forget about criticizing me. God help the poor soul that told me what to do. I would hold grudges; wait I still kind of do that. I was skinny, yes, but I ate like shit. Potatoes were my idea of a healthy vegetable. I didn’t value my time. I thought everything was a hurdle I had to jump through and get over. I expected my life to be on a linear timeline, no jumping around. I procrastinated and was very scared. I would have great ideas but didn’t dare to follow through on any of them. I didn’t know how loud my voice was and how big I could be. I always chose to be in the background, trying not to get attention. 20 was stupid. I was weak. I was dumb, and most importantly, I was ungrateful! I thought the world owed me.

Now at 48, I look back, and would I go back to being 20? Hell no to the no no no! I like myself now. I am strong. I am loud. I am a doer. I appreciate everything I am given in life, including time. I have no regrets. I am under no presumption that life owes me anything. Anything I get is a gift. I have thick skin. You can’t piss me off. Even if you manage to do it, I won’t really care. I now know I can’t be everything to everyone, so I don’t try. I am in love with my soul mate, married for over 22 years. I have two gorgeous kids, and I am not blinking, so I don’t miss a minute. I don’t have a police presence in my daily life, I feel safe, and I drink much better wine, and travel far, baby. So f*** you “Me at 20”. You all can keep your challenge. I will take 48 any day!