31 Things I Want My Teenager To Know
1. There will be times when you feel your loneliness will swallow you. Don’t beat off, you’ll feel worse after.
2. There will be nights when the rest of the human race will feel like an illusion. Sometimes nobody will want to hang out with you.
3. It might hurt. It’ll hurt.
4. You must not pay much mind to those first three maxims. They are feelings and they too will pass. Toughen up.
5. You will question everything. This is a good thing. Don’t be a dick about it.
6. There might not be answers. There aren’t.
7. Never, ever, ever forget yourself. Or anyone else.
8. Love as much as you can no matter how difficult. The world needs it.
9. Exercise, more often than not, is the solution. You lazy bum.
10. With anything, there will always be people better than you. Don’t fret. Use this as a challenge to be better.
11. With anything, there will always be people worse than you, remain humble, people are too varied to be treated lightly. Don’t be an asshole.
12. Some of things that feel like they matter most will turn out not to matter at all. Most of them.
13. When you find your passion, cling to it. Sometimes this will make you look foolish. Fuck what other people think if you are doing what you love.
14. Sometimes you will be foolish. Learn to recognize those times, learn to admit, accept, and adapt. You fool.
15. Do not be too hard on yourself. Or anyone else.
16. Do not be too easy on yourself.
17. Do not take things too seriously. Seriously, lighten up.
18. We are all going through this — all of us, everyone, all of this, everything — together. Never forget that. This is important.
19. Music, more often than not, is the answer. Music! Love it, it’ll get you laid.
20. You should dance as often as you can whether or not you are good at it. But maybe not around new people.
21. There will be minds you will never change. Accept this. Oh well.
22. Many people will appear crazy to you. Be fastidious with who you dismiss. Remember, you will appear crazy to many people. We’re all crazy, kiddo.
23. I do not have any more answers than anyone else. I’m going to pretend I do.
24. When in doubt, ask your Mother. She doesn’t know anything either.
25. Be as kind as you can be. Be kinder.
26. Forgiveness is perhaps the greatest virtue. At the very least it’ll make your life more pleasant.
27. Learn as many languages as you can. Meet as many people as you can. You don’t have to be friends with all of them.
28. It is unlikely you will regret time spent reading. Don’t forget to live.
29. Money is important but not that important. Money is freedom.
30. It is okay to feel things strongly. I promise.
31. Make the most of all of it. You are very lucky to be here. You were a mistake.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”