Thursday, March 24, 2011


Poor Forms, inspired, writes a devastatingly beautiful post riffing off of another devastatingly beautiful post by Sugar. I figure riffing off of the riff would be a good way to get this small and humble piece of the internet started, so here is some advice from myself on March 24, 2011 to myself on March 24, 2000 (when I was 22 years old). I wonder whether I'd listen to me.

Here goes:

The sooner you drop the Manichean worldview that you have right now, the better. Everybody gets treated poorly in this world (and most get treated way more poorly than you have been treated). There's nothing special about you in that regard. It's unhealthy because you're about to waste several years being trapped and static because of your attitude.

Next year, you're going to get a cushy office job that allows you to use your talents as a writer and reader. You're going to think that you don't really have to finish that bachelor's degree. This new job will not last. Finish your bachelor's degree now while you're working at the grocery store and when your hours are more flexible. Trust me on this one.

Hang out with your friends and enjoy your time with them to the fullest. People are going to move (including you). People are going to get married and have children. People are going to pursue their ambitions and goals and take on responsibilities. You won't be able to see everybody as much. Tell your friends how much you care about them.

Get over your fear of failure. It's self-destructive.

Organize a Midwest tour for the Baysayboos.

Show more caring and kindness to your parents and siblings. You're going to need them in a big way some ten years from now.

Quit smoking now. The longer you keep smoking, the more you will feel inextricably hooked to nicotine.

Spend more time listening and less time talking when you go out on a date with a woman whom you like.

Spend more time listening and less time talking when you hang out with your friends.

There are rewards to hard work. The rewards very rarely are what you had envisioned, and even more rarely are readily apparent to others. Don't let that stop you from working hard and applying yourself to something about which you care. Status and accolades are often empty signifiers.

Write this advice down in a letter, and ask someone to mail it to you on March 24, 2011. Most of this advice still will be relevant.