Advice to a young me
Have you ever wished you could give a younger version of yourself some good advice? When you reach my age (72), you begin to reflect more deeply about where you came from, how you got here and how you want to spend your remaining years. They say that hindsight is 20/20. So, what advice would I give a younger version of me (and others)? Here are things – some serious and some not so serious – that I would tell my younger self. I’ll start with the not-so-serious.
Watch that 1950s film “The Frogmen” several times. It’s going to play a decisive role in your life and help you tremendously in the future.
You’re going to break your arm twice before you reach 10. Learn from it and take better care of your body. If you don’t, you’re going to break lots of bones and have numerous operations.
Don’t explore “altered states” before attending university lectures. You’ll make better grades. Better to revisit this phenomenon later in life. You’ll enjoy it more.
Don’t stop competitive swimming because girls think swimming is for nerds. Believe it or not, you’ll set several city records in the butterfly and freestyle events. And if you do stop, you’ll lose a university scholarship.
Don’t wear Speedos when your hormones are raging. It’s tough to hide your thoughts when you’re checking out cute girls while standing on the starting blocks. Focus on the race instead. In fact, don’t wear Speedos at all.
Enjoy your hair while you have it. It will soon go the way of the dinosaurs.
Don’t smash a bottle over the head of that Spanish guy trying to rob you at the Running of The Bulls in Pamplona. You’ll spend the night in jail.
Take that typing course you thought was for nerds. You’re going to need it when computers are invented.
Your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are a lot smarter than you think. Talk to them more and learn about history and life. They will be gone one day, and you’ll realize you had so many questions for them.
Stop procrastinating so much. You’re going to have to do it at some point anyway. Just get on with it. Make yourself do the things you don’t want to do.
Start doing positive affirmations every day. They work!
Don’t trust that people will stop at Stop Signs. A woman driving herself to the hospital to have a baby is going to smash right into you and roll your car several times.
Join the Navy right out of high school instead of spending a term at university stumbling around and wasting your parents’ hard-earned money.
Don’t take that dare to have a lit flare in one hand and detcord (explosive) in the other. It will work out OK the first time but find another way to get your thrills.
Choose the people you hang out with carefully. They will affect you more than you realize.
Believe that fortune-teller who tells you in your early 20s that you will end up in a climate with lots of snow where people spoke a Nordic language even though you thought you’d never leave warm and sunny Florida!
Pay attention in English class. You’re going to write a book one day and you can’t write or spell for crap right now. Study more international relations and political science. Believe it or not, you’re going to be a diplomat. And now for the more serious.
There are no shortcuts in life
There are no hacks, magic wands, silver bullets or bags of pixie dust. Everything requires discipline and hard work – blood, sweat and tears. Practice, practice and practice more. Don’t cut corners. Put in the early mornings and the late nights. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Somebody somewhere is paying for it. You don’t gotta like it. You just gotta do it!
Trust your gut feeling
Don’t be afraid to take risks and trust your gut feeling. You’re going to let several opportunities slip out of your grasp because you thought too long before acting. I wrote about some of these in “Forty Tools for Life.” https://www.amazon.com/Forty-Tools-Life-Rick-Roche/dp/1976582261
Be a warrior every day
Make it your default mode. Give everything you do everything you’ve got. Don’t hold back! Embrace the chaos and run toward the fight. Attack everything relentlessly. Confront your demons and fears. Life isn’t fair. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. No pity parties please. Just deal with it! That’s the reality. The sun won’t shine every day. Some days, you’ll face the shadow – the darkness. Fight it. “The darkness can only win if you let it.”
It’s all about choice
You get to decide. You get to choose. Success, happiness, wellness, fitness and health. No one will accomplish any of these things for you. You must CHOOSE to accomplish them. You have the power to do it, and it’s never too late. Just decide to do it! Don’t second-guess yourself.
Don’t be afraid to love someone and don’t be scared to be alone
When you’re alone, make the most of it. Explore your strengths and weaknesses. Find out what you want and don’t want. You won’t always be alone, of course. And when you have a partner, give them all your love. “It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all!”
Don’t take yourself so seriously
Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Take your ego out of the fight. You’re not as interesting as you think. Bullets don’t bounce off your chest. You don’t know shit right now even though you think you do. Stop worrying so much. Everyone feels like they’re spinning their wheels at some point. Things will work out for you. Life is tough, but it’s easier if you learn to laugh at it.
“You are what you believe you are”
If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? You can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t be afraid to “put it all out there.” Never give up. Stay in the fight. Struggle, kick and claw your way over, under or through obstacles. Life is great. Get after it! The world is yours! Go get it. So, there you have it! Now get out there and grab life by the “short and curlies.” What advice would you give younger versions of yourselves?