Most of my life is behind me. I’m not being morbid, just accurate. Unless I’m somehow going to live to be one-hundred-forty years old, this is a true statement.
So, for you young whippersnappers out there, I have a few words of advice for you:
1. Go to
school. Get an education. Do it while you’re still young and unencumbered. Find
a way to pay for it. An education is the key to a good life; but it doesn’t
have to be college. Learn a trade. Not everybody is cut out to be a CEO.
2. Learn to handle your money properly. Do it the old-fashioned way. Save some of it. Balance your bank account regularly. Don’t buy things you don’t have the money for. Avoid credit cards like the plague. They will suck you under and you’ll never get out. Excluding a house and a car, most likely. If you have enough money to pay cash for those, you probably don’t need my help.
3. Treat your body with respect. That means eating right, exercising regularly, and for God’s sake, stop putting crap in your body that’s only going to addict you! If you smoke, stop it! If you drink too much, stop it! If you spend your life doing drugs, stop it!
4. Remember that the car you’re driving is a lethal weapon. Treat it with respect. Don’t speed, or text while you’re driving, or do any of those other foolish things you know you hadn’t ought to do. “Just once,” can lead to a lifetime of regret.
5. Treat everyone with kindness. You have no idea what sort of pain another person is going through, so be gentle with everyone you meet. Be helpful whenever you can. You never know when you might need a helping hand yourself someday.
6. Animals are to be respected and cherished. Dogs, cats, mice, whatever creature God puts in your path needs to be nurtured and loved and treated kindly and with respect.
7. You’re only young once. Dance on the beach, wear funny hats, sit around a campfire and share ghost stories, and at least once in your life, go out and howl at the moon.
8. Read. Read everything you can get your hands on, whether it be by eReader or your phone or a good old-fashioned book, read. Read things that challenge you, make you think, make you wonder at the universe. But also read things that make you laugh, or make you cry, or just let you dip your toe into another world, or another time. Surround yourself with other readers, and you’ll never run out of things to talk about.
9. Be careful. Not everyone you meet is a nice guy. At the same time, don’t be afraid to trust. Yes, I know. It’s a fine line. Listen to your guts, they won’t lie to you.
10. And finally, love! Love extravagantly, boldly, without condemnation or judgement. Love is truly what makes the world go around. Right now, we live in a broken world and a divided country. And I’m convinced that only love will fix it. Love your family, your friends, your pets, the homeless dude in the park, the prisoner locked up behind bars, the immigrant at your doorstep, the person who is not like you in the slightest, those of every race, color, religion, or sexual orientation. Love!