Snotty me vs. 18-year-old me

by Kim on February 27, 2013

I loved Gretchen Rubin’s post on the Happiness Project blog today, called “What am I really complaining about?”

In it, she includes this snippet from an interview with Mindy Kaling (aka Kelly Kapoor in The Office):

Gretchen: What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
Mindy: When I was 18 years old, I took a semester off from college and was an intern at Late Night With Conan O’Brien. It was the most glamorous job I ever had, and I idolized the writers there. I remember lying in bed every night telling myself that if I ever got a job as a comedy writer, I would be so happy and all my dreams would have come true. Six years later I got that job, working on The Office. I felt incredibly happy and grateful for about a week, and then a whole new set of complaints set in. This would’ve shocked and disgusted my 18-year-old self. It’s helpful to remember the younger version of me because it reminds me to feel grateful when I want to be snotty.

This got me thinking about my 18-year-old self. If I went back and asked myself what my 10-year life goals were at that age, they’d probably be something like: graduate college, get a good job, get married, buy a house, have kids.

10 years later, I’ve accomplished every one (and even in the right order! haha). And I’m still complaining.

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Gretchen’s point, I think, is that most of the things we complain about from day to day are direct results of doing things we want to do.

I realize we don’t live in a utopian world, where it never occurs to us to complain about the small things because we’re all so unwaveringly focused on the big picture. (And when I think about it, the things I was complaining about at 18 were trivial and dumb in retrospect, so it works both ways.)

But it never hurts to remind yourself, at the end of a string of complaints, what you’re really in it for.

Here’s how my 18-year-old self would probably react to my current snotty complaints:

Snotty me: Mason is a horrible eater. He’s probably going to need to see a therapist.
Grateful 18-year-old me: I have a healthy baby!!

Snotty me: If I were single, I could get up and move to California tomorrow if I wanted to.
Grateful 18-year-old me: I’m married!!

Snotty me: I’m not getting enough freelance jobs.
Grateful 18-year-old me: I’m a professional writer!!

Snotty me: Why couldn’t I breastfeed longer? I’m a failure.
Grateful 18-year-old me: I’m a mom!!

Snotty me: I wish I had enough to money to do or have XYZ.
Grateful 18-year-old me: I have a house!!

Snotty me: I’m not a fast runner and my PR times are embarrassing.
Grateful 18-year-old me: I’m a runner!! (Bonus goal!)

What would your 18-year-old self think about your current life situation?

Gratefully,

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Julie March 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm

This post is lovely! And on a slightly more superficial note, I love the shot of the Capitol…we have some near the rotunda from our wedding as well!

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