Ten Bits of New Year Advice to the Youngsters in My Life
Because I don’t have my own kids, and because people with kids seem long on helicoptering and short on practical life navigation—I thought I’d mark my return by showing my softer side, and sharing a bit of sagacity for the New Year. As I write this, I picture my nephews and niece sitting at my knee; I am giving them this advice face-to-face and they, naturally, are absorbed by every word. It’s almost like I am a cell phone screen. Yet because this site is for people north of 40, I will have to trust that these tips will indirectly flow to the target demographic. Here goes:
- Hang out with your family. Life happens fast and before you know it, half your family has kicked the bucket. I am glad that I got to enjoy my grandparents’ company frequently. I still miss them.
- Don’t give people unnecessary shit. Life is hard. Don’t bully, harass, or get up in someone’s grill for no good reason. Be secure enough to let things go. That being said…
- Don’t take unnecessary shit. Becoming an adult is mostly about establishing healthy boundaries with family, friends, and coworkers. Being clear about what behaviors you will and will not accept is a path toward mental health and good relationships.
- Don’t run up credit card debt. Being in debt sucks. It’s a trap that can take you years to escape. Live within your means as much as possible, be wary of “good deals,” and don’t open more than 2 credit card accounts. Being debt-free allows you to live life to an extraordinary degree of freedom.
- Gravitate toward the unknown. Try new things, say “yes” more often, be open to experience. Take risks. Curiosity can be your greatest trait.
- Travel. Learn about the world, about people, about cultures. Don’t let the current 2016 election clown show or IS infect your spirit. The world is fascinating and beautiful and breathtaking. You should see it. Before we destroy the whole thing.
- Cultivate a community. Be rich in people. Develop good relationships with friends and family, throw parties, introduce people to each other, do favors for people.
- Read everything and anything. Preferably books. Printed books. Reading is the key to learning and growing.
- Appreciate your own mind and being in your skin. You will go through many stages in life and go through many situations in which you will feel like an oddball. Like you are swimming upstream. Appreciate yourself for your weirdness and your flaws; don’t hate yourself for them. There is no progress without difference.
- Figure out how to love somebody. It ain’t easy, it ain’t for the young, and it ain’t for the weak. It may take a lifetime to figure it out.
But then again, what the fuck do I know? I am a childless renter.