They say it’s important to reflect on your birthday; to ponder what you’ve learned during your latest orbit around the sun and to contemplate how you can make the next year of life better.
Well, I don’t know who the hell “they” are, or why they’re telling me that I should do anything on my birthday other than eat ice cream, play video games, and drink whiskey. But fuck looking back, I’m looking forward. (To the steak I’m going to eat and the sex I’ll be having with my wife.)
Pfft, who am I kidding, of course I’m going to look back. I’m an introspective kinda guy. And it’s fun to imagine traveling through time to deliver messages to younger versions of Robbie Farlow.
So if I could travel through a wormhole and deliver some life lessons to the younger, dumber, and far less attractive version(s) of myself, what life lessons would I attempt to upload and save in my adolescent cranium?
Originally, this article started as a letter to my younger self. But that quickly (d)evolved into a listicle. Because,
a) people like lists. And,
b) the future is on mobile and I’m trying to crush that game early on.
So since it’s my 31st birthday, and I’m doing what “they” suggest, which is really an excuse for me to attempt to leave a mark on the world should I cease to live in 2017 and humanity is denied witnessing another four or five decades of my wisdom, here are the 61 Life Lessons I Would Deliver to Younger Versions of Me (And Wisdom You’ll Find Useful as Well).
61 Life Lessons I Would Deliver to Younger Versions of Me (And Wisdom You’ll Find Useful as Well)
1. Never mix Budweiser and Mountain Dew. I know, at the time it sounds like a good idea because 1) Bud tastes like moldy cat piss and, 2) you’re 17 and think that Mt. Dew will blunt the taste of the beer (and it will), but you’ll hate yourself in the morning.
2. You’re never going to stop being an emo kid. So fuck the haters. Turn that shit up and scream your heart out.
3. Henry Rollins was right: “Half of life is fucking up, the other half is dealing with it”. And you’re probably gonna fuck up and then have to deal with it more often than not. But that’s life.
5. Life is like a buffet: try everything you can and find what works for you
6. You have time. Barring an unfortunate accident like getting hit by a truck or some other unforeseen act of God, you have time to achieve things in life. Stop wishing for it to happen when you’re 25. It could. (It won’t because I’m 31 and writing this to you) But stop getting upset that you’re not famous, rich, or living the good life when you’ve never lived outside of the same state you were born in.
7. You can want a lot of things. But if you don’t understand why you want them, what good are they?
8. Flying isn’t that terrifying. Unless your first flight is on the same model of plane that crashed at 2 am in Buffalo, NY while you were up playing video games instead of sleeping because you were nervous about flying for the first time. (gulp).
10. Buy less stuff. Buy more experiences.
11. People aren’t inherently evil. 99.9% of people will do what’s right. But they’ll do what they feel is right. We’re selfish and will protect our own interests before we think of others.
12. You can’t change the world—or even love other people—until you change or love yourself.
13. Be more aggressive in your decisions. Just make a choice and go. If you fuck up, fine. Apology later and make it better.
14. If you’re not willing to make sacrifices, you can’t complain about how the world isn’t changing; because it’s you that refuses to change.
15. Everything is about sex. And a majority of our issues in life revolve around feeling like we’re not good enough to continue the species. And that’s why rejection sucks.
16. You’re not as cool as you think you are.
17. Read more books.
18. Acting isn’t about what you’re doing as a character, it’s about how that character reacts to what others do to him. And that’s what life is as well: a reaction to others (or nature). You can’t control what other people do, but you can control how you react. So, will you choose actions that make the world better, or worse?
19. Chill. The. Fuck. Out. Take (some)things a little bit less serious. Stress is a silent killer. Learn to deal with it now before it kills you in your 40s or 50s.
20. The sweat of your brow doesn’t have to mean manual labor. Work is what you find passion and meaning in. And I’m sure, even if your grandfather had no idea what you were doing, he’d be proud of you. And he’d feel proud of the “work” you put in.
21. You’re actually pretty cool and should stop telling yourself you’re some lame loser who sucks at life. Because the more you say that shit, the more you believe it, and then it becomes a self-fulling prophecy.
22. South Carolina sucks. Avoid it at all costs.
23. You’ll search the world for the one thing your hometown has that no other can match: the best goddamn queso on Earth.
24. Sometimes your biggest mistakes turn into your biggest blessings.
26. Your heroes aren’t infallible or indestructible. They may even let you down from time to time. They’re human, forgive them and move on.
27. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is a much better album than you thought when it was first released.
28. Time is the one resource you can’t regain. Stop trying to do things the hard way because you think you’ll learn more from it—be better, be more efficient, and stop wasting time on useless shit.
29. Astrology is bullshit. But you’ll notice some weird things about being a Gemini. Specifically, that you’ll often find yourself in this weird ebb and flow where one minute you’re the gregarious center of attention and the next you’re the lonely wallflower in the corner. At 31, I still haven’t figured it out. But just be prepared for it.
31. Don’t feel bad for letting go of connections that could hold you back, even if they’re family. Blood may be thicker than water. But you can drown in both.
32. “Your success is predicated on the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have.” – Tim Ferriss
33. Also, you may eventually look like AC Slater, physically. But you’re always going to be Screech.
And a side note on that: you’ll never be Gaston. You are Lafou. I mean, I’m not saying you can’t play Gaston. You can do anything. But you’re a ginger. People look at you and see a goof ball not Gaston. (Then again, fuck those haters who say you can’t be Gaston. You be the best goddamned Gaston ever. But add some more muscle, that always helps.)
34. Patience, Robbie. Fucking learn to be patient.
35. There are a few select, awesome, people who are still trying to make fetch happen. (It hasn’t happened in 2017. But it might. Never give up.)
36. Okay, you won’t really get this for a long time but, tip more than $2. People have to make a living off of that shit. And speak to them like a human being, maybe they’ll give better service because you greeted them with a smile and a joke and not eyes that scream, “Oh gee, I’m glad I’m not you and got knocked up at 16 and had a kid in high school.” Be a better human being fuck face.
37. Some day Robbie, you’ll find people who love comic books, video games, Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, and who dance around like idiots when Madonna’s Ray of Light comes on. So yeah, you’re not the only one. And you’re not strange. Fuck being “normal.”
39. A tailor-made suit will increase confidence by 1,000x. (And it makes your ass look amazing.)
40. Not every girl who looks at you, or in your direction, is eye fucking you. It is possible that she looked at something else; actually, it’s likely she wasn’t looking at you. But just in case, you should probably go to the gym and rep out countless sets of bicep curls and bench presses just in case.
41. I know that hypocrisy is the one thing you can’t stand. But you need to accept that everyone is a hypocrite. Not only will it make life easier for you, but you’ll forgive people more often because you realize that, at our core, we’re all selfish beings.
42. Words without action are just another wasted exhale.
43. Changing your body, truly changing how it looks via strength training, will be the one key you realize that has given you the confidence to start a podcast and business, the humility to know you can always improve no matter the task, and you’ll discover it was the catalyst for taking charge of your life.
44. Southerners did a lot of fucked up shit. But don’t be ashamed of where you’re from. Be a better version of what you think a Southerner should be.
45. Know this: once you start fighting your demons, they will punch back ten times as hard. And you’re gonna be fighting them the rest of your life. It don’t get easier kid. Sure, it, and you, get better, but it ain’t no cakewalk.
46. Robbie, I hate to tell you this, and really I feel like I should just let you keep thinking what you’re thinking. But; no one will really gives a rats ass that you have a six pack.
47. Your dad made a lot of mistakes. Get over it. He’s a human being. And if you keep striving to be the perfect version of him that you were told he could never be, you’re going to drive yourself into madness and end up doing some of the same shit. Then guess what? That goddamn guilt and shame will consume you and you’ll never escape. You’ll wind up in a darkness that would make dark matter shudder.
48. Put nothing past anyone. Everyone is capable of acts you’d never imagine—even you.
49. No matter what anyone tells you, it’s absolutely okay to workout because you want to look better naked.
50. 95% of the time, the problems people have with you, aren’t about you, it’s about them.
51. Don’t prove yourself, or your self-worth, to others—prove it to you.
52. Love is messy; it’s painful; it’s magical; it’s stressful; it’s fair; it’s unfair. It is nothing like what the hopeless romantic inside of you thinks “real love” looks like—it’s not a goddamn movie.
53. Fight for things that have great purpose. Fight for what matters for the betterment of mankind. Fight because you want to leave the world a better place than when you came into it.
55. You’ll always feel restless. Be prepared to never be able to turn your brain off. But that may be the price you pay for greatness.
57. Maybe it’s because you were conceived while your parents were on acid (which really explains so much about you), but you’ll find yourself drawn to psychedelics and crazy instrumental guitar riffs that make you feel like you’re riding the winds of the universe. Enjoy that stuff.
58. You have an addictive personality. So, you’re gonna have to keep an eye on things and make sure they don’t consume you.
59. Talk less. Listen more.
60. Kid, look. I wish I could tell you that at 31 I’ve got it all figured. That you’re in a good place in life. And in some ways, you are. But there is no “I’ve got it all figured out.”
61. Two people will tell you in different chapters of your life that they do not teach (or coach) mediocre people. Listen to them. Because if you rest on your laurels, you’ll half-ass everything. Fuck mediocrity.