Twenty years later it is easy to look back on your life and have a lot of perspective. Things make sense now that I never thought would, my outlook on life in general has changed so many times and overall, I’ve had a very blessed 37 years. But when I was 17 I had real pain and anxiety and fears about what my life would become. If I could write a letter to myself at 17, judging by how my life has turned out I wouldn’t, but if I did this is what I would like to tell that young man.
Hey buddy! This is your future self 20 years from now and I just wanted to reach out and talk about life. It’s funny cause when I was your age I assumed I knew everything I needed to know in life, yet here I am 20 years later and the only thing I have learned is that I don’t really know anything at all.
Before I dive into some deeper issues let’s just start with this; it is never going to get better than right now as a sports fan. The Indians are in the World Series again and the Jazz are in the NBA finals. BYU has beaten Utah 14 of the last 17 games and it is a good time to be a Cougar fan. That guy Ty Detmer you have a poster of on your wall, he is a great guy and you guys are going to go pheasant hunting one day. My suggestion to you, start distancing yourself from sports now, they are going to bring you a lot of heartache and in the end they just don’t matter!
Of all the advice I can tell you so that you don’t forget, this is the most important; everyone you see is going through things that you can’t even imagine. Be nicer to everyone! A few of these classmates you think are jerks are fighting a daily battle not to take their own lives, some of them win some of them don’t. No matter what else comes from your life, the number one thing you want people to be able to say about you is, “That guy loved me.”
The beauty of life is found in the mess. I want you to write this down and remember it. When your parents get divorced, know that everyone turns out fine. When that girl breaks your heart and you wonder if you’ve blown your chance at love; you haven’t. You are going to wonder a lot in your 20’s if your best years are behind you, lol.. (You’ll understand what that means eventually) but trust me kid, they are not.
Your parents aren’t perfect. They did a damn good job pretending to know what they were doing but most the time they were winging it and trying to do their best with the information that they had. Go visit your mom more. Go visit your dad more. Make the tough phone calls and share with them your life. You are going to be afraid to open up to your family about your struggles and fears because you think it will make you look weak, but we are all in this thing together and they will love you that much more.
Your siblings can be little sons of bitches at times but over the next 20 years they and their kids will bring you more happiness and joy then any one person deserves in 3 lifetimes. Just do what you are planning and that all works out really well.
Take the risks, hire the mentors, stay away from anyone that asks you for more than $10,000 and don’t loan anyone money! There are a lot of people that are going to try and get their hands on your money and some will if you let them. Be smart, save a lot but don’t be cheap! You will bring more amazing people into your life by not being cheap than anything else. Throw parties, entertain, pick up tabs, give to charity, and look for opportunities always to serve.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. You do this at times and most of the pain you will experience over the next 20 years is self-inflicted because of a belief system that says what your life is supposed to look like. I got news kid, you are not like everyone else. You are wired differently and in that lies all of your greatness. Don’t ever settle and don’t expect your life to be normal. You know those nightmares you have about being in a boring job and coming home to a quiet boring house, yeah that’s not going to happen so quit fearing it.
One thing I’d love to encourage you to do is to start meeting people that are nothing like you. You do this great in your 30’s but start now. Go to random places, be versatile, travel alone and sit with strangers in restaurants and bars. Yes, I said bars. I still don’t think you should drink until you hit your 30’s but quit being such a judgmental prick to those that do. Nothing in this life is black and white, it is all grey. Quit worrying so much about right and wrong and start looking at what people’s intents and motives are. The best thing you can learn from me now that I wish I knew 15 years ago or even 4-5 years ago is; quit worrying WHAT people are doing and focus 100% on HOW. This will create a beautiful life for you.
Good luck kid! I’d suggest strongly the real estate route and stay away from MLM’s, energy drinks, and business partners from The Netherlands. Oh, and quit spending so much damn money on dates. The girls act way too entitled and you are coming from a weak position. Just be a gentleman, buy them dinner, and go find a nice place to chat. Most of them are interested if just sitting and talking turns out to be a great night. Listen to your heart more and your hormones less. Last thing, always knock when you open a roommates door, that will save him and his girlfriend some serious embarrassment. You are in for a hell of a 20 year run, enjoy!