Sometimes I catch myself wondering what my younger self would think of my current self.
17-year-old Julia: I’ve noticed you’re not a vegetarian anymore.
27-year-old Julia: Um, yeah.
17: What have you got to say for yourself?
27: It was hard.
17: What kind of lame excuse is that?
27: I don’t say “lame” anymore, it’s ableist. You’ll get into that stuff in college.
17: Whatever. You were saying?
27: Okay, yes, I’ve changed a lot. I use paper towels, now, too.
27: Look, I’m trying not to sweat the small stuff.
17: Don’t you care? You went and turned into one of those adults who loses all their values!
27: You’re so focused on doing no harm. You should think about what good you can do and not just what harm you can avoid. I’m getting more done than you ever did with your self-sacrificing.
17: Like what?
27: Like actually researching charities instead of just picking the one your mom likes.
17: How am I supposed to research them?
27: Okay, GiveWell won’t exist for another few years, but mark my words. You could at least be reading their mission statements or something.
27: Also, get a good job. Like one that earns money.
17: You want me to be a sell-out?
27: I want you to be effective.
17: What does that even mean?
27: If you want to donate more, earn more.
17: I do all I can.
27: You give all you can from your stupid job at a pizza joint. If you got into something higher-earning, you could give more. Why don’t you take that computer science class at school?
17: I’m in my last semester of high school. You need to be talking to 16-year-old Julia.
17: But you want me to be, like, chasing money? That feels…yucky.
27: Yeah, it does. Look, at least consider earnings and not just how virtuous a career looks.
17: It’s a deal.
27: Good. …Also, you’re going to meet a boy. A keeper.
17: That’s a relief. I hope he plays the fiddle?
17: Well, that’s pretty good. Tell me more.
27: Curly hair. Geeky. Treats you well. Wicked smart. Trust me, you’ll be crazy about him.
17: Did you just say “wicked smart”?
27: Oh yeah, you’re going to move to Boston.