If You Knew Then What You Know Now

I wish I knew I would live long after I turned 25.

October 7, 2019

Marisa just turned 25. She writes,

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish I knew that burning calories when I was on the high school swim team would be different from burning calories when I’m sitting in front of a computer for hours wondering what I should write.

I wish I knew that raw fish is delicious.

I wish I knew that 2 cocktails is usually enough.

I wish I knew that taking the time to travel to other countries would be revelatory.

I wish I knew that it might have been a good idea to live in Ireland for a few months.

I wish I knew that if issues of mass extinction and climate change were not addressed when I was young that when I became older it might be too late.

I wish I knew letting the sun burn my bare skin would be a prelude to repeated visits to a dermatologist who would say things like, "we got most of it but we’re going to have to dig a little deeper."

I wish I knew that CD’s would not last as long as vinyl. I wish I knew that cassettes would make a comeback.

I wish I knew that knowledge has nothing to do with behavior.

What do I know now that I wish I knew when I was younger?

I wish I knew that I did not know as much as I thought I did when I was young and wild and reckless.

I wish I knew that music discovery would remain an enduring part of the human experience.

I wish I knew that the experts of medical science would change their minds. A lot.

I wish I knew that my generation for all its posturing and protesting could have done better.

I wish I spent some time in the first computer labs in college with my friend Walt.

I wish I knew that Apple was a good investment.

I wish I knew that no cliché could prepare me for the transcendence of becoming a father and watching a little bright-eyed boy grow up into the kind of person that might give us hope for a future.

I wish I knew that life would seem just as unpredictable when I got older as when I was 25 and an overnight DJ playing album sides of Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland at 3 in the morning while working for minimum wage and living down the road in two rooms attached to farmhouse with a golden retriever and a girl who would be as constant as the rise and fall of the ocean’s tides..

I wish I knew that spending time with my mom and dad would seem so much more precious when they were gone.

I wish I knew I would live long after I turned 25.

Because life goes on and it will be filled with wonder and unspeakable tragedy and profit and loss. It will elevate the mundane to unexpected importance with flooded basements and flat tires and roads suddenly closed for construction on that one day when you can’t possibly show up late.

Because all the wisdom and cynicism in the world cannot overshadow the need to make things easier for the people around us.