Thursday, August 11, 2011

Notes to My Younger Self

Year One: Stop crying.

Year Two: You can't read. You're an idiot. This is normal for your age. But stop crying.

Year Three: All those things you like? Keep liking them. But could you get your parents to buy a second one of all of them, and put them in a box in the attic? Because that stuff will pay for college in twenty years.

Year Six: Crying in a department store didn't get you your way, did it? Jesus Christ.

Year Eight: It's convenient this is your favorite number. Have you put much thought into it? In a year, your favorite will be behind you. Let this soul-crushing revelation open your eyes to the terrors of temporal existence. Eight is going to leave you.

Year Nine: The children around you were born idiots. They didn't even know how to shit properly for years. Please, for all that is holy, ignore what they like and dislike. They are all still idiots. Whenever you hesitate over something, ask yourself, "Do I dislike this thing, or do I want the approval of people who dislike it?" The second answer is always wrong until it starts interfering with getting a job. You don't have to get a job for a long time.

Year Eleven: Do not read until after you're diagnosed with asthma. Okay. Ready? Ready? Good. Asthma is actually not fatal. All that crying? The adults thought you were an idiot because you are. Also, you grow up into a huge douchebag who enjoys his own errors. You've got a lot of amusement ahead of you.

Year Thirteen: Whatever you do, don't go to the doctor or hospital in November.

Year Fourteen: You did. It wasn't in your control. You actually didn't want to go, and that's going to stick in a fetid irrational part of your brain for the rest of your malpracticed life. You've got a lot of suffering ahead of you. Real suffering, not this trivia you've overreacted to so far. I want you to know it's entirely worth it. If I told you why, that'd ruin living. But I will advise to lighten up as soon as possible.

Year Fifteen: So that guy who wrote to you from the future last year seems like a lying asshole, right? Well he's not much of a liar. He is, however, someone you would absolutely hate. Horror of Horrors, he's convinced God isn't out to get you. He's way too cheery, helpful, almost shameless in the things he'll admit. Cartoons you won't tell your brother you watch? He goes to conventions about them.

Year Seventeen: You've got a lot on your hands. No bombs for you. Just, if you could read G.K. Chesterton and Shirley Jackson now, you'll be smarter.

Year Nineteen: Please leave your dorm room more often.

Year Twenty-One: Worst Valentine's Day ever, right? Wait, has that happened yet? Uh. Yeah, no, Lauren's great. She doesn't... wait, I'll be back in a year.

Year Twenty-Two: Did I screw up the time/space thing there? I don't know what I'm doing here. How about you write your past self? I'm kind of busy catching up on the novels we were always postponing.

Year Twenty-Three: Write more novels, you lazy tool.


  1. Sigh...if we could all have a self-mentor from the future to guide us. Think of the angst that would be avoided. Years eight and nine really worked for me.

  2. A while back, there was a hashtag game on Twitter called #tweetyour17yoself. That was the best one ever, IMO.

  3. My younger self wouldn't listen to me, unfortunately. I did an exercise once where I wrote a letter to myself, which was then mailed a few months later. When I got the letter, I read it and thought, "Pfft... what a load of crap."

  4. Yeah, hindsight is great. I'm pretty sure younger me wouldn't listen- she was kind of a brat.

    This was hilarious. It's great to know we've evolved.


  5. Started tearing up around Year Fifteen. This is so honest, both matter-of-fact and strangely sweet. Maybe I should try it...

  6. Thank you John! You are the best!!!!

    It is funny and I really like the format. LOL And hospital visits when you are 13 really suck. (worse than at other ages, I think.)

  7. Very enjoyable.
    Sadly, I think my younger self would have told my older self that I was just an old fuck and to go get lost at Walgreens.

  8. My younger self would be disgusted at what I've become. LOL

    Funny and touching John!

  9. Thanks John, this was fun and funny! I sorta think that if I did write my younger self a letter, it would be along those lines. :D

  10. Year Nine: A lesson everyone should learn. (And its inverse. "Do I really *like* this?" Of course, if everyone learned that lesson, the entire entertainment industry would crumble...)

  11. Loved this!
    I sure wish I could write my younger self a letter to guide me through, but would probably not take my own advice...

  12. I know I said this on Twitter, but this was fantastic.

  13. What insight this provides! Very courageous, John. :)


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