More Interviews

Julian, 56
2147 San Pablo Ave
You never knew what was possible, you never knew what was possible. If you had just taken chances, it wouldn’t have mattered if it had worked or not. You just never knew.

I figured that out a few years back. I went to Berkeley, I never thought I’d get into Berkeley. I did a film. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this thing called The Secret. A lot of you think it’s hocus pocus. But I think affirmations are important. And I think if you can see it and believe it and you act like it’s actually happening, these things come true. I’m proof. You can’t just sit there and not do anything, but the fact that you put it out there and then you look for those signs and you’re constantly grabbing for it. It finds its way. I would say you never knew what was possible, if you had just known. I tell kids that all the time.

Stephen, 23
2082 San Pablo Ave
(At 80 years old) I ended up in a good place because I followed my passions. And I grew in my own way and in my own time. I didn’t ever feel like I needed to act my age or pull it together. I feel like that’s what I would say if I were 80. Just kind of reinforce a sense of wisdom and maturity, but also saying, “never lose that youthful vigor and that love for life and expressing yourself.” I play music. I make all sorts of electronic music. Some sort of dance music with some friends. I also do noise and more avant garde pieces. It’s what feeds my soul.

Dionte, 21
2082 San Pablo Ave
A wiser self would tell me take life a day at a time, pay attention, think before I do something. Love everybody that’s around me, no matter if they did me wrong, just keep loving.

Bailey, 19
2000 San Pablo
I think she would say I’m doing good. And that I’m gonna make it. She’s a calmer me, so she’d probably say, stop partying, stop doing bad things. But at the same time, you’re doing good because you’ve got your priorities straight. School first, party on the weekends.”

Caroline, 71
2000 San Pablo
Do maintenance on yourself like you would take care of a car. Just keep your gutters empty and save problems in the future by taking care of yourself when you’re young. Just normal kinds of things that people don’t think about with regards to their body. They think about taking care of their house or their car. Things like good diet, exercise, enjoying some hobbies, and friends, and keeping in touch with people and connecting with people, things that are important to your heart, things that really matter to you, pursue them! Pursue them with vigor and don’t let other people tell you that’s a dumb idea. Sometimes when you don’t have the energy to do something, you can still do little things that make a big difference to someone else or to something that’s important to you. Think about it, if you can’t do it this way any more, you can still do something. Keep involved with things that you really care about, even when you’re feeling kind of miserable.

On Tuesdays, I usually go up to the Senior Center for the singing in the mornings, then I have lunch, then I go to Russian class, then I go to the community garden in Ohlone Park. But I hurt my back last week, so I’m on a slightly subdued schedule today. I’m trying to get there for lunch, the Russian teacher is in the rehabilitation center, so I’m not gonna do Russian. But after lunch, with any luck, I’ll get to the garden. And on the way home, I’m gonna mail a couple of packages and buy my cat some cat food.

Michael, 36
1955 San Pablo
I think it would all just be (about the) benefits of health and living. I couldn’t imagine any real advice that would be like, to invest in hovercars. It would probably be to eat better and to take better care of yourself. The best piece of advice I got (was when) I asked an older gentleman once, what thing would you change? He said, I would just do more. Maybe that would be it too. Practical things, whatever it is. Just do more of it.

Diane, 29
2403 San Pablo
That’s a good one, I feel that’s gonna take some time. This is like, anticipating my future? (pause) Maybe something about putting happiness first.

Jose, 35
2403 San Pablo
Do it, go for it.

James, 35
2600 San Pablo
There’s nothing that you’re gonna find out. It’s just a matter of doing what you already know you’re supposed to be doing. Yeah, just do it.  I mean, I see myself when I think of myself when I’m 80. I think, you know, I don’t know what I’m gonna think for sure. But when I think of myself now, I think the way that I will look back on my life will be about whether or not I’ve  lived my ideals and whether or not I’ve been the kind of person that I thought I should be – who I really wanted to be. And I’m sure when I’m actually 80, it’ll be something totally different.

Danielle, 21
2600 San Pablo
I would say that my future self would encourage me to be very forgiving during transitional periods of my life, because they will be plentiful. And that I should not tie myself down when I’m really young because I have all the time in the world to do that.. and to explore.

Rachel, 24
2600 San Pablo
I think one thing that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that it becomes easier and easier to be yourself with each passing year. So, I don’t know, I think my 80-year old self would say something along those lines… like fuck the haters. Just be you.

Hope, 22
2600 San Pablo
When I’m most gentle with myself I’m able to remember that everything is impermanent. That’s so easy to say when nothing is going wrong, but when you’re in a time of angst or distress. (it’s hard to remember). So I can only imagine with more longevity in my life, I would have learned that lesson enough times to say that everything is going to be impermanent. You’ll get through it.

Keith, 24
2618 San Pablo
Oh man.. what I should do before I’m 80? You should try to not get stressed out so much. Maybe he’ll say that, I don’t know. That sounds like a good thing.

Bella, 21
2720 San Pablo
She says, Bella, you have to stop trying to please everybody. You have to trust that you know what you need, that you are your best guide and that you really don’t need to worry what other people think. If you’re doing your best, that’s what you can do. Find your standard and hold on to it.

Simeon, 20
2800 San Pablo
You’re the shit. My 80 year-old self would tell me, Oh yeah, you’re the shit and you’re gonna be the shit when you get this old. I’m gonna check the mirror when I turn 80.

In reality though, I probably wouldn’t ask myself anything. Because I mean, I don’t really want to know that far ahead. Cause I’d rather wait till I get there, and then I’ll be the one on the other side. You know, just finding it all out. Cause you never know. I like that question.

Mecca, 20
2800 San Pablo
I’d probably just want to know if I became a doctor or not. Or like, if it was worth going to medical school or if I should have just became a midwife. Yeah, probably that it didn’t matter. Um yeah, I don’t know. I stress out a lot about education. That’s what I would want to know. If I were my age and I met my 80 year old self, (I’d want to know if I should be) an OBGYN or midwife.

Should I maybe spend more time with my friends or like my mom now than I do because I’m too busy focusing on like other stuff that I  think is going to be more important for my career version  of myself or whatever? And maybe it turns out to not be that important or whatever. Or maybe it becomes really important? I don’t know. So yeah like on one hand, you have to be really successful so then you can take care of everybody. On the other hand, well maybe they rather have your time and presence?

Lars, 44
2709 San Pablo

I’d be telling myself harsh things. Experience a lot but take it in moderation. Don’t do excessive things. Don’t waste your youth. Focus, focus on what you want to do and hold steady. Don’t falter. I feel so sad right now…(laughs). No, no, no I’m happy for my experiences. It’s just — I lost a lot of time there.

I know, yeah, so past stuff. Right. Not what already happened, right.

Go out and meet people, don’t be afraid of the experiences that you’re gonna have because isolation is not fun. Live your life. In a good way and keep on focusing on what you want to do. Don’t falter, just go head first. Because previously I was just in a near death accident a year ago. That changed my life. It sounds so cliché but I have no more patience for arguing, no more patience for people whining, not even my nephews and they’re like 10 years old. When they start whining, I ignore them. I say don’t whine around me, grow up. You really have to face the facts. Pay attention, pay attention to life. Life is precious. I hate sounding cliché but life is really precious. There is so much to do out there. Don’t be afraid of new experiences. Take them in moderation, unless it’s something you want to follow. I think that’s what I’d really, that’s the basis of what I’d say. I mean I can’t know my future, as to how I’m going to act. Quit being anti-social, get out there and do things. Don’t be afraid of life. My dad is 91. I have a long-living gene somewhere in there. Because of all the fish they eat. Omegas, omegas 8s, omega 5s, omega 3s.

Kelly, 25
6334 San Pablo
Not to sweat the small stuff. To make the most of your time. And not let yourself be distracted by internet, BuzzFeed, and Facebook and all those things that don’t matter and to focus on spending time with people and doing things you love.

Jesse, 25
2995 San Pablo
I’d probably say, stay healthy and live up to eighty. Healthy, positive stuff. Currently at this age, it’s YOLO. You only live once, so whatever goes. Just go with the flow.

Hector, 26
2995 San Pablo
I’d probably say life’s too short. Spend as much time as you can with your loved ones. Positive, healthy stuff.

6328 San Pablo
I have nothing really positive to say, it’s really crazy. First I wanted to say that I doubt I’ll be alive when I’m 80. And that I cannot even fathom what it’s gonna be like when I’m 80 because I don’t have any money. And so trying to envision where I’m living or what I’m doing. I can’t even imagine with you. How sad is that? It’s kind of a crazy statement.

I guess I think she would say, you work too hard and you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. I think (that) is what she’d say to me. I think I’m gonna look back and really put into perspective what matters and what doesn’t matter and why you’re so hard on yourself. I’m so stressed out. I’m so incredibly stressed out. I can only imagine I’ll get cancer.

I feel like she might be stressed out, which makes me sad. It makes me sad to think that I’m stressing out so much now about things that don’t exactly matter that it could make her stressed out when she’s 80, right?

It’s really tough having a small business. It’s so stressful. I’ve been in business for seven years. So yeah, I don’t know. But I think, because of that, if I should still be in business because I’m so stressed out? What would I do if I didn’t do a business? Yeah, that’s the news on San Pablo here today, crazy, right?

Maybe she’ll be different in two weeks. I’m writing a book. It’s definitely taking some years off my life. Maybe when it’s done, there will be an opening. And then maybe things will get easier. I don’t really know. It’s just been really horrible, really hard for a year.

It was a huge decision when we moved onto San Pablo. I love my building which is why we’re here. It’s such a weird street and it’s so transitory. I was nervous about what kind of people might come in, there are just so many different types of people, with so many different programs. And really there haven’t been any issues, and it’s very interesting. I can and can’t believe that one day I’m gonna look back and be like, I had a business on San Pablo.

Karen, 51
6328 San Pablo
She would say don’t be so scared. I think as a mother, it makes you more vulnerable, your children are out there in the world and you can’t control what happens to them. They’re just out there. That’s where I am at my age right now, maybe someone with a toddler would have a different take on it. For myself and my children, how their vulnerability affects my everyday life is interesting.

Nancy, 71
3073 San Pablo
Enjoy everything.

Jerome, 54
6501 San Pablo
I would think the older person would say, do you see what I was trying to tell you? The wisdom, knowledge? When we are young we are sometimes dumb. So if I do step out of my younger life into my older life, I would tell me being young, I told you this, you should have done this. You probably would’ve been a little more advanced if you had just listened to what I said. And as the older one telling me, I would say, you were right.

And I would have said I seen what you had said but I just didn’t listen. Sometimes we’re young, being young and naive, that’s true. But the older people always seem to know the way. The older people, they’ve been here before so it’s sometimes best to listen but we don’t. Then when things get bad or too late, then the older person will say, I told you so.

JC, 57
6501 San Pablo
I have cancer and the more I’ve looked at how cancer can come about, I think the older person might have said, why didn’t you listen to your father and live your life a little bit differently. Because what I know at 57 is that the things you do early in life do affect us later in life. And I think I may have partied just a little too much. So I would be apologizing to the older person for having to deal with some of the illness that I have because I have arthritis. I just found out that a lot of stuff that’s more advanced because of the cancer and because of the treatment. And I can imagine at 80, what I’m gonna be like. And so I’m gonna be apologizing for one thing. And then I’m gonna agree that yeah, perhaps you should pay more attention to what you do to your body because it is the temple, what we do and put inside of us. I’m even finding out that a lot of my cancer is related to what I did when I was younger. Take care of the temple.

Anonymous guy running to catch the bus
2995 San Pablo
To kick off my shoes and relax my feet.

Andrew, 30
2995 San Pablo
To relax and enjoy things a lot more.

Brien, 42
3018 San Pablo
Do I recognize myself? Of course I’ve grown tremendously wise. Keep working at it. That’s what he says, that sums up every aspect of my life. Keep working at it. I’m short and pithy at 80, but I’m not now. In my old age, I’ve learned concision, clarity, the wisdom of brevity unlike my 40…29 year old self. No, I’m 42.

Laurie, 24
6604 San Pablo
I think my 80 year-old self would say to do what you want to do in your life because it’s short and to be happy with what you’re doing. I feel like you always in life, in our economy, no matter what, even if you’re doing what you wanna do, you have to do things that you don’t necessarily want to do because you have to make money. So if I could just do what I want to do and not worry about money, I’d probably just paint all day. I mean, I learn a lot by running a business and we make stuff all day long. So I like it. It’s good. It’s not like I’m doing something I totally don’t want to be doing. I want to be doing this. It’s not easy, but it’s getting better. And we’ve been here about a year. At first we both had other jobs, now we’re here full-time. It’s nice. We get to work together all day. Our studios are here too, so on our lunch break we get to go and do whatever we want in our studios. If it’s slow, we can go in there. We usually get here early. I think it’s good to be challenged in that way because then you have to work a little bit harder and really make time for what you wanna do.

Jon Jon, 35
6604 San Pablo
I’d probably say something like sit back and enjoy the ride. There will be good and bad, and you’ll probably learn a lot more from the bad than you will from the good because it’s more natural. But all in all, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Larita, 29
6400 San Pablo
At 80, I would know a lot more than what I know today. Way more. I just wanna live life. A good life. I know I’m gonna have health problems but not too many that it would take away my independence. I want to be able to do stuff myself when I turn 80. I’d just be happy to be 80, I wouldn’t even say nothing. When I’m 80, I’m just gonna be happy to still be alive. I’m not even gonna think about what I could and what I couldn’t have done better. You know what I’m saying? I just wanna live life. I’m gonna have no regrets cause you get over there with regrets and you got time before you turn 80 to fix the problem.

Daphne, 24
3045 San Pablo
Keep going. Just keep going. It’s simple, not over-complicated. Being a person is hard. Getting older is the bravest thing anyone can do I think.”

Kyoko, 29
3006 San Pablo Ave
Interesting question. I was reading a book by Oe Kenzaburo. He’s a Japanese writer, he also imagined, when he was young, he always imagined the conversation between him being young and old. For me, I have no idea! I’m sorry, I have no idea. You know, I always feel like I’m not the type of person giving advice. I can just kind of observe and tell something. Maybe even me being old, like 80 years old, I might say, yeah I can see you’re going through this and you have this, good and bad, but overall I don’t think I’m gonna say anything negative. I don’t think she’d even say, oh you should have done this, you should have that. I don’t think I’m gonna say that. I’ll say something kind of boring, but I’ll say appreciate what you have and treat everyone nice kind of stuff. Nothing dramatic.

Alison, 52
6501 San Pablo
Do what you love, and do not let things stress you out as much. Just to follow your heart. Keep things around that you love. Find the right space and sit back into it.

Erica, 27
3006 San Pablo Ave
She tells me have fun.

Richard, 55
3006 San Pablo Ave
I would have probably chosen a different career path. First of all, I hope to live to be 80. I’m pretty confident at where I’m in my life. I have two sons, 34 and 36. They both graduated Cal Berkeley. I used my retirement to put them through school. And I’ve been married 40 years to my high school sweetheart, still married. So there’s not too much I’d change on that end, but on my career end I probably would have chose a different profession.

Well, my mom died at 53 years old so I’ve been on my own since age 16. And then I went to college and then I went to San Francisco Community College, but I never finished. But if I had to tell myself something at 80, I would have finished school. But I had my kids early, I had to sacrifice that to raise them because I was the sole provider. But if I had done anything different and I think back at 80 years old, I would have finished my school before I had my kids. But other than that, I have no complaints. I got two kids, UC Berkeley, I’ve been married 40 years.

I wish there was a book on how to live life before you live it. You know, instead of just bumping your head as you go. And you know we do that, I mean (there have been) plenty of bad decisions, mistakes that I’ve learned and grown from. But if I could have those years back, most definitely that would be a plus. I would just be double where I’m at now. But there’s no book on how to live life. You just have to ad-lib as you go. Your mother or your father can’t teach you. You get out there and you’re just roughnecking, you know. Other than that, I really have no complaints. The world is wonderful.

The one thing I like about Berkeley is the diversity. When I graduated, I did my school in Berkeley. I can remember when the segregation was going on, and they brought the caucasians down from the hills, down to the hood. And they sent us up there. Our slogan was, “to integrate, in 68.” And Martin Luther King and Kennedy were assassinated, and I didn’t even know who King was. It was like, man I didn’t know we had a King in America. But we didn’t get those type of teachings back then. It was all American history. You didn’t have African American history, just American history. Berkeley, I think, was the first school district to introduce African American history in the school system. So I got to learn, I was really ignorant to who the King was. I was an early age, maybe 5 years old. I stayed in Berkeley because of that, the diversity of the people. It was something that appealed to me, and I’m still here.

I had my first kid when I was 19 years old. I haven’t really had a chance to learn who I was, I just (went) right into parenthood. So at 80 years old, I would definitely have waited a little longer. But I can’t say that now, because me and my kids now, we’re like best friends. We got out, San Francisco, Embarcadero, whatever, watch a ballgame, have a beer, talk about school or how their lives changed. I can’t say I would change that. I just happened not to be a deadbeat dad and provided for my family. I enjoyed watching them grow up. I wouldn’t change my life for anything. I just wish I had different parents or grandparents. Mom and dad gone, all my grandparents gone, aunts and uncles gone. It’s just me and my kids and my wife,