The If I Knew Then What I Know Now Bullshit Spiel
If I Knew Then What I Know Now
The If I Knew Then What I Know Now and the If I Was Your Age guy is filling you full of bullshit, even though he may not know it. I have encountered the ‘If I…’ man many times in life and normally take heed of what he has to say. However, I recently spent three months in a sort of time reversal to have an ‘I know what I know now but I am living then’ experience. This might not make a lot of sense, so I will explain…
I am in my 30’s, and in the spring I won the greatest job that the earth was offering for the ‘Summer of 2015’. I was awarded the job as Ambassador of Europe’s Famous Hostels. My duty for the hostel association was to travel to 51 cities in Europe, stay in their 51 hostels, and write a party-blog for them. That was my job. They provided me with free flights, buses, trains, food, alcohol, and accommodation. They said, “You are going to have a blast all summer.” Hostel activities. New friends. Parties. Adventures. The best time I could possibly have, was exactly what they wanted me to have… It was quite a position.
Now, I look far from my age. When I tell people how old I am they are usually astonished. “You are not! You look about 27.” “I would have put you at about 24.” I guess there are not enough time-showing wear-marks on me yet, which is surprising as I live a full-blast life and there are some hard miles on this body. The convenience of my youthful looks has been kind to me. Working a job as Hostel Ambassador all summer meant that I would be surrounded by the travelling youth of Generation Y. It was like being given the opportunity to travel back in time with ‘What I know now…’ This is a pretty ideal situation… However, something did not quite click into place for this 30-something year old looking like a 20-something year old.
Hostels are famous for having a clientele of people from all over the world. Most of the guests are in their university years or they are fresh from finishing. The result is that many beautiful girls in their early to mid-20’s stay in hostels for the cheap accommodation while they enjoy a foreign city. Now, it is clear where this is going, and I am not saying I should be hooking up with girls in their early 20’s, but I am not saying that I should not be and I am not saying that I did not want to either. But there was a problem – I no longer mentally connect with those girls. I lusted for them, as every man naturally does; women that age have faces and bodies which are nearly flawless. A fact of male heterosexuality is that it does not matter if a man is 18 or 78; females in their early 20’s will catch his eye… However, as much as I would have enjoyed being far more in depth with a young beauty in the hostels I was visiting, it was seldom girls that age that I spent evenings with. I do not think for a moment that my situation was a circumstance of the girls thinking I was too old for them, but rather a case of where we are all at today…
The problem is me. The problem is who I have become. The mental circuits between women in the early-20’s and mine today are extremely different. I have changed from the person that I was when I was 23 years old. I have wisdom and I have experience, which are things that women love. However, I also have altered levels of patience and I am unwilling to change my thought patterns to be less than what I am today in order to better relate with someone who has considerably less exposure and life experience. Maybe this is what ‘not selling out’ is?
A conversation has to flow and beyond crazy circumstance stories that I can entertain with, and I have very little in common with women of that age. I know nothing about the pop-culture small-talk of today. I really have no clue who Justin Bieber is beyond being a singer who I am socially expected to hate. And I am unwilling to lower myself to learn modern conversational pop-culture pulp-fiction for such prizes. I already learned it once in my own era… I do not care enough to do it again today and I guess that is probably healthy. The effort I would have to put in for desire does not feel like it equalizes itself at this point in life. Maybe this is what growing up is?
Sure, it made me miserable at myself when a 22-year-old guy in a white t-shirt and a backwards cap ended up kissing the most beautiful girl in the hostel who I had exchanges smiles with. But I just do not converse a simplified language anymore. I need depth, which I know from years of experience is likely something the guy in the backwards cap and the beautiful girl did not exchange. I have had their exact same conversation many many many times in my own life and I am bored by it. The superficial talk that seems like a lame monologue when I bother with it today: “Where are you from? What do you do? Where else are you going? Oh yea, that city is great. Yea, I spent a week there. How long are you travelling for?” It is a shallow discussion that I now find to be conversational vomit, though it works well when you are fresh to the scene and genuinely interested.
In 15 years when I am a much older man, I am sure that I will regret not putting in the extra legwork when all of this was still accessible for me. But unlike when I was 23, I am now unwilling to sacrifice myself. In most cases there is just no natural flow. Sure, I care that I am mentally too old for women this age, a situation that I could probably control and change somewhat, but for as much as the self-satisfaction I could gain from them somehow it is not worth it anymore. We are now just on far too different of wavelengths. My mind is on FM, and they are picking up AM signals.
I have lived in my past with my mind today and it was an interesting lesson that disappoints me somehow, but also makes me proud of who I have become. So the next time that someone referencing women says to me ‘Oh, if I knew then what I know now’ or ‘If I was your age again I would…’ my interjection with a tone as polite as possible is going to be, “Nuh-uh. Actually, that entire theory is false. I just experienced trying to re-live it… I have learned that what you think you know now does not equate or relate very well to things from then… Trust me, retrospection is just a fantasy.”