These last weeks as a first-year are the worst weeks of my life! Nothing is going right. I need to write two 10-page essays in the next two weeks. That’s 20 pages! I also have to learn 23 verbs for Italian –– all while studying for my finals. I don’t even think that’s humanly possible. Outside of class, my friend situation is falling apart. I still feel like I’m only acquaintances with everyone I know after an entire year here. I miss the support of my high school friends. My one real friend just started spending all his time with this sketchy Wednesday Addams-looking dude, so now I watch Victorious alone. My family is also super unsupportive of my girlfriend. Yes, Mom, I do love her even if she’s a Protestant. Yes, Dad, I am old enough to get engaged. No, Grandma, she’s not a cradle-robbing cougar –– she’s a 22-year-old senior; a three-year age difference is irrelevant. I can’t wait to get this semester over with and marry Laura in August before she starts her teaching job. I hope you, my future self, are having a much better year than 19-year-old me. Sincerely,
Dear 19-year-old Almanzo,
Boo-f*cking-hoo, you ungrateful pr*ck. You’re a first-year in college! You’re living the best time of your life! Twenty pages is nothing. Just drink an extra hydrated Redbull and spend a night on it. Of course you don’t have as strong of friends as in high school yet –– it’s only been a year. And how dare you insult Sebastian like that; he’s more Edward Scissorhands than Wednesday Addams. He was also one of your best friends and a groomsman at your wedding. Speaking of which, listen to your family. Do not marry Laura! She’ll bring you nothing but pain from which you’ll never recover. You’re in the golden age of Almanzo right now. I’m a senior in college, and it’s absolute hell. I’m working on two capstone projects for my two majors and both are due next week. I have no free time for friends between my job and all my assignments. And I made the brilliant f*cking idea to lie my sophomore year about being a licensed psychiatrist, so now I must keep up that act and teach a 400-level psychology course, which I myself am also enrolled in. Life is terrible, and I wish more than anything that I could go back to where you are again and hang out worry-free with my friends.
“Doctor” Almanzo, 2022
Dear 22-year-old Almanzo,
I want to kick you in your youthful, stupid face. You’re 22. That’s the age Taylor Swift romanticizes about! You’re living the life. Stop crying about Laura! She was your first wife. That barely counts as a relationship. I’m on my third wife, and I have four children. Do you know how many episodes of Rick and Morty Season 21 I’ve seen? Three, and it’s been out for two months. That’s how much free time I’ve had in total –– 66 minutes. I haven’t seen any friends in three years. I wish I was working on a capstone project –– try 16 years of a 9-to-5. I haven’t slept in weeks because of my infant daughter. The toddler twins just figured out how to use Uber Eats on my phone and spent $3,400 on T.G.I. Friday’s (yes, somehow, they’re still around in 2038) cheese sticks. My eldest son just came out as a baseball player. How the hell am I supposed to relate to him? And how many goddamn youth sports games will I be required to go to over the next decade? Why couldn’t he just be in the school musical like a normal kid? I would give all 27 strands of hair remaining on my head to spend an hour being 22 again. Shut the f*ck up and enjoy it.
Sincerely, Almanzo, 2038
Dear 38-year-old Almanzo,
If only I could hold your young, still-strong hand, I would bite your thumb off and spit it in your face. You’re living in 2038 with your lovely wife and your four children. That’s the setting of my dreams every night. I live in 2055, and the world has gone to sh*t. You haven’t seen your friends in years –– they all died when Ohio sank back into the ocean in 2046. You better give your wife and daughters a hug, because my wife and daughters left me to join the Amazonians when society finally realized men were redundant in 2049. Stay at your calm 9-to-5; I beg of you! I had a mid-life crisis at 50 and decided to pursue my dreams of cloning real-life velociraptors. Congratulations, Dr. A, you were right: Raptors aren’t chickens. They’re badass –– so badass that they’ve devoured 12% of the U.S./Canadian population. The only state that’s safe is Vermont, which I’d rather die than live in. And my son, my sweet boy Charlie (short for Charizard), died heroically, saving me from velociraptors with his bat. How I wish I would have shown more interest in his hobbies. If I had played baseball with him in the backyard more, maybe I’d be strong enough to save him from those Jurassic beasts. My only companion now is Stu, the same Stu that Laura left me for. And you know what? He’s actually a chill dude. How many years did we waste hating on this gentle man? So, all three of you: Stop whining about the bland and annoying aspects of life, because one day you’ll realize those are the best parts. Take a deep breath, and acknowledge the blessings in your life, because one day you’ll lose those blessings one way or another. Go hug your parents, your friends, your current wife, your children, Sebastian, Percy the fish, your classmates, your students, Stu, Olivia Rodrigo and everyone of importance in your life. Love is the only thing that lasts.
Dear 55-year-old Almanzo,
You thought velociraptors were bad…?
Aries: Delete Tinder. When was the last time anything remotely interesting came from it? Maybe try falling into a disastrous friends with benefits situationship like everyone else.
Taurus: If you’re gonna be stupid, you gotta be tough. You’re the pretentious asshole who picked biomedical sciences for your major.
Gemini: Go tan on the lawn. You deserve a little break and some vitamin D (both kinds of Vitamin D would do you some good, girlboss!)
Cancer: Put down “Subway Surfers.” It’s time to go study. We only have six academic days left, so stop avoiding your twenty-five Canvas notifications.
Leo: Your sneaky link is less sneaky than you think. You guys ate in the Caf alone together and proceeded to walk back to her room. There was nothing sneaky about this link.
Virgo: Start cleaning out your room for move-out now. You only have two-and-a-half weeks left, and I know you probably have three-month-old food in your room. If you have stains on your floor and don’t want to get fined, try the all-purpose OxiClean spray. It’s only $4 at Target.
Libra: I know he’s cute, but he is one hundo percent talking to other b*tches. Please don’t catch feelings now. The semester is almost over, and you need to start manifesting your hot girl summer at this precise moment. Katy Perry, Pharell, and Calvin Harris are wrong. Do be afraid to catch feels.
Scorpio: You are girlbossing it. You ate three meals today, you got eight hours of sleep last night, you showered today and you got all of your homework done. You slayed today, bestie. If all of that was a lie, use this message as a manifestation and try again tomorrow.
Sagittarius: Stop killing yourself to try to prevent your friends from making bad decisions whilst they are extremely hydrated [;)]. You don’t deserve all that pressure. Just White girl dance your cares away and call the Uber when you see fit.
Capricorn: You can’t keep skipping classes. There are only like three classes left. Woman up, and wake up at 9 a.m.; I promise it will not kill you.
Aquarius: Drink more water. It’s going to be 80 degrees this weekend, and it will help clear up the stress acne and flush out the Caf food a little better.
Pisces: It’s ok if you’re failing a class or two at the moment. It happens. Eat gummy bears while you study; it will help. Slive your best life. (Like live, laugh, love, but with a dash of Paris Hilton Y2K realness and a side of slay.)