As I have said in a couple of places this week, this time three decades ago I completed my bachelor’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh. My major was History, with minors in Mathematics (courtesy of my 1.5 years working toward a Comp Sci degree) and Black Studies (before the powers that were changed the name of the degree to Africana Studies). Yay me!
My degree is nine years older than my marriage, between five and 10 years older than most of my students. Goofy semi-asexual me was more than 12 years away from becoming a father. It seems surreal to look back at myself from 30 years ago. Especially when there had been so many years before Saturday, April 27, 1991 when I didn’t think I’d make it to 30.
If I could somehow get a message to my 21-year-old self, and only one message, what would it be? Trust God? Write as if your life depends on it, because it will, and sooner than you think? Take time off after finishing the master’s next year? Move back to NY, so that you can please your Mom? Don’t try to date E, it will go badly?
No, no, no. None of those will do. Find your true self. Find your core beliefs. Admit your loves, your disdains, your anxieties, and your fears. You do that, you will be the writer and the person you always wanted to be. That’s what my dreams and my multiple muses have been saying for years. I’ve heard them, but only in bits and pieces, since I was in my teens.
Well, better lately than never, and better late than Laettner, as I say.