Watching the VMA’s last night it hit me: I’m old. It wasn’t because I didn’t know any of the artists; I am embarrassed to admit I actually knew all of them. It was mostly because of the behavior of some of those artists.
Yes I have had my fair share of questionable moments, and if they were captured on film I would look back and ask myself: what the hell were you thinking? But none of those moments compared to the performance of Miley Cyrus. Maybe it was the Momma Bear in me, but I had to look away several times because I was so embarrassed for her. I found myself coaching the television hoping she would hear my cries telepathically: Please stop with the tongue, please tell your build-a-bear props from hell to look less stoned, please stop with the twerking, please stop nuzzling the neck of a married man, please stop backing your a** up onto his family jewels, please stop with the foam finger. Oh Miley, please just stop.
I know young people do stupid things, and we can forgive them for that. We expect them to be youthful and take risks, but there is a line not to be crossed. I was once a wild child too, just ask my friends and my mom. Okay wait. Better yet, don’t ask them. Hopefully those memories have faded, for my sake. Point being, I rarely crossed the line and if I did – I learned from it. Not wanting to disappoint my parents, becoming a wife and a mother definitely shaped me into who I am today. Although I still have a lot to learn, I do know that image matters and I will most certainly contain myself from twerking at the next bar I go to.
In recent years I have had the privilege of mentoring and working with many young people, so I thought I would share some advice I do know to all the wild young adults out there (Miley included):
- YOLO: You only live once, we get it. How about taking this one life you have and doing something to leave your stamp on the world in a positive way. You are the future. Take risks but know when you have crossed the line. When you do cross the line, own it. Again, people will forgive and even forget most of the time.
- Travel: Even if you can only afford to cross the state line, leave your comfort zone. Experiencing the way others live helps you realize who you are, and often times, shows you how lucky you are.
- Educate: Educate yourself continuously. I have been out of college for a long time but I continue to educate myself. If I don’t know something I ask or Google it. I also read.. a lot. I read books ranging in every topic from religion, to sex, to politics.
- Learn how to write. Writing is a form of communication, which is necessary in life. I know acronyms are fun but I hate trying to decipher all the cryptic messages like TTYL, BRB and YOLO. Also, please try to remove the word like from your vocabulary unless it is completely necessary. During interviews I would immediately be turned off to a candidate if I counted more than five likes in two minutes.
- Take care of your body and know when to cover it up. Yes, you look hot and don’t have to worry about much now but trust me that will soon change. Each year it gets harder to keep that body and your health. Try to give up something unhealthy every year, along with adding something for the good. Give your liver a break once in awhile and lay off the drugs, Salvia included. Know when showing cleavage and leg is sexy and when it isn’t.
- Get use to being judged. It never stops, especially when you put yourself out there. Getting older just opens a new wave of judgments on your parenting skills, your marriage and your work.
- Be yourself….most of the time. I know we have a little gangster and sexy vixen inside of all of us, but that doesn’t mean you need to put it on display 24-7. Miley grew up in Tennessee and with Mickey Mouse. I understand you like to twerk and wear grillz, but I guarantee Tupac would not be impressed. Also wearing grandma’s under ware so high up they essentially tuck into your uterus is not sexy. It’s weird. This image doesn’t suit you.
Above all, the ability to feel proud of yourself will far exceed the joy you get when you hump a foam finger or pop a diamond encrusted grill in your mouth. This I can promise. Use your talents and energy on other things.