That after an ugly childhood and gawky adolescence, I would blossom into a legendary beauty, the type of which that would awe strangers and be best described as “lissome” and “shining,” instead of being someone who obsessively watched makeup tutorials on Youtube and yet still manages to go out with one eye made up perfectly and the other one looking like it had been made up by a drunken goat with only one hoof.
That as an adult woman, I would be judged mostly on the skill of my housekeeping, and people would comment on the cleanliness of my dishcloths and quality of my ironing rather than literally every single other decision I made starting with my clothes and ending somewhere around the way I chose to orient staples in paperwork.
That college would involve a great deal more cakes and beautiful dresses and having housekeepers, and much less time arguing with roommates over whose turn it was to take out the recycling and what that weird smell coming from the pantry was.
That I could (and would, of course) give my house a name without neighbours and the Canadian postal authorities treating me like I’d completely lost my marbles, and refer to my house by name with a straight face and without constantly explaining myself.
That it would be impossibly romantic to live on a small island in the middle of a lake, rather than just incredibly inconvenient when I would run out of eggs or Scotch tape or aluminum foil.
That peddlers would actually come to my house with things I needed or even wanted to buy, instead of no one coming by my house ever except for the mailman and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
That elocution was an actual art form and viable career path, and reciting was a skill that would I would be called upon to demonstrate periodically as a teenager, even though as an actual teenager more of my time was spent gossiping with my friends on the phone about what someone said to someone else in physics.
That I would have a collection of beautiful gowns made of silk, satin, organza, challis, lace, and chiffon, rather than a collection of T-shirts with mysteriously-appearing holes in them and weird stains.
That cooking would involve a lot more things like jam doughnuts, homemade wine, creamed chicken, gingerbread with cream, lemon pies, pound cake, tongue, and puddings in general; and a lot fewer things like exciting new ways to marinate chicken breasts and a general inability to master things like beaten biscuits and not pathetically overcooking vegetables.
That it would be seen as the height of inhospitality and rudeness to greet guests without a healthy supply of pies and cakes, rather than the exceedingly normal state of affairs and certainly no cause for alarm.
That I would be faced with a number of handsome and respectful (or at the very least, respectful) potential suitors and/or love interests, instead of a series of dates and boyfriends that varied between “mildly weird with the potential for good stories,” to “heartbreakingly misguided,” to “outright alarming.”
That life would involve many, many, many more sunset vistas and clouds soaring over hills and many fewer hours spent sitting in rush-hour traffic and many fewer days spent living in apartment buildings with views of dumpsters.
That being published would require nothing more than a knack for writing, the money for many sets of stamps, and the patience to continue sending out work; instead of requiring an MFA in writing, at least one good family connection to a famous editor, and the promise of a firstborn child or the blood of a sacrificial lamb.
Lindsey Palka holds a Master's degree in Canadian history, focusing on the First World War, youth, and family history in the Atlantic provinces. She reads, reviews, and trashes young adult historical novels from the '80s, '90s, and 2000s on her blog, Young Adult Historical Vault.