Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Future of Us

The Future of Us is an awesome book and a fun-filled trip down memory lane for anyone who grew up in the 90s. I was intrigued by the concept of this young adult book – two high school students in 1996 stumble upon their Facebook pages from 2011. Do they like what they see? How does what they’re doing in 1996 affect their future selves? Plus, it was co-written by Jay Asher, who wrote Thirteen Reasons Why, so I didn’t think it would be just a silly gimmick book.

I’m so glad I gave it a chance, because this book was fun! It’s narrated by both Emma and Josh, and I enjoyed seeing both of their perspectives. Emma isn’t pleased with her future self, so she starts trying to change things. How will that affect Josh though, who is happy with his future life? How can you live in the present when you’re seeing how everything you do affects your future? Both characters are extremely likeable but not without flaws, and I got sucked right into the story. I could totally be Emma. I WAS Emma. Minus the whole seeing my future self on Facebook thing. :) And the running. I hate running. But the boy crazy part, the dating the wrong guy part, the ignoring the nice guy part, the dating guys and casually dumping them because you’re scared of commitment part, yeah, that was me. I’m afraid a lot of people will get annoyed with Emma when they read this, but I totally identified her and unfortunately understood why she was doing what she was doing.

But the best thing about this novel is that it totally transported me straight back to 1996. Oasis. The Dave Matthews Band. Dookie. Ellen was in the closet. There was no gay marriage – anywhere. Discman. VCRs. Seinfeld. Not being able to watch something else while recording something. This book is loaded with mid-90s references. It made me so nostalgic! (Although very happy about the invention of DVRs.)

And of course, the whole premise is nostalgic. Emma finds Facebook the first time she loads up her new AOL CD-ROM – which takes 97 minutes to download – and it’s magically already on her favorites. The description of that first time getting online was spot on. It was so crazy! Now we can watch movies instantly online on our TV or our phones! It’s insane how much the world has changed just during my lifetime. I can’t imagine where we’ll be in another 30 years.

After finishing the novel, I couldn’t help wondering what my 15-year-old self would make of my Facebook page. What would she think about my life? Would she be happy about it or want to change it?

I think she’d be happy I’m married to an attractive guy I met in college, although she’d be confused as to why we have a picture of us in Pittsburgh as our profile photos. She’d be glad I’m working in PR, which is kind of funny since I’ve gone back and forth over that so many times but I think in ninth grade was when I first learned about PR and thought it would be a fun career. She’d be glad I work at a company on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for list, but would probably disappointed I don’t work at any agency. (Which is also funny, since I did work at an agency and wasn’t a fan.) She might be surprised I didn’t go to OU or out of state for college but would be happy about OBU.

She’d be glad that I’m still friends with a bunch of my friends from then, although I’d be sad to see Suzanne, Hunter, and Amber ALL live out of state! (Which does in fact suck.) I’d be confused that I don’t know most of the people in my photos and commenting on my posts, but would hopefully be happy because that means I’ve made lots of new friends over the years while keeping the old ones.

Young me would be horrified at all the baby pictures. Just like old me. :) And she’d be down right shocked over some of the people who married each other! Micah and Amber? Amanda and Ashley? Breanne and Jason? My brain would have exploded, which is funny, since most of those couples have been together a loooooong time now. And they all have kids. She would be very, very happy that I don’t have kids, although probably surprised. At that age I assumed my maternal instinct would kick in at some point and I’d change my mind. Clearly not!

She’d be thrilled I spent my 30th birthday in London! She might be surprised that I didn’t also throw a massive party because I loved throwing parties back then. There are certain people she’d be surprised at how much weight they’ve lost or gained over the years, or how they look exactly the same or completely different. She’d probably be surprised to see recent photos of me at Bridget’s house, since I tried hard to hate her in ninth grade because she was gorgeous and all the guys I liked liked her! :) But she’s just too dang nice not to like! Funnily enough, I’m Facebook friends with the two guys who came to mind (and did ‘date’ that year, I guess I wasn’t too concerned about coming in second!) and they’re both married, which I’m sure would have disappointed me then even though I certainly didn’t expect to marry either one of them!

It was a fun little exercise. It made me very appreciative of my life. If you had asked me before I thought about it, I would have said my 15-year-old self would probably be appalled at my life, but in thinking about it more I’m exactly where I thought I would be.

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