Advice from the older to the younger
In the spirit of a copy of a copy of a copy, Instapundit linked to a piece from Buzzfeed regarding advice offered by people in their fifties to people in their twenties. I always defer to Mary Schmich's piece from 1997 in the Chicago Tribune (Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young) as the GOAT of advice pieces, but in the spirit of sharing, I'll knock out a few pieces of wisdom my garden of experience has bloomed. In no particular order, save the first one:
- Work like you aren't guaranteed a job and avoid people who avoid working.
- Seriously - work your ass off, no matter how menial the job or poor the pay. Bring to your work the same seriousness you would bring to a jury deciding your fate, because your work ethic is effectively the exact same thing.
- Read Moby Dick, all of it, including the essays on whaling. It's the greatest novel ever written by an American, and its legend exists for a reason. Other snippets from this well-read man: Faulkner or Hemingway, choose at least one. Joyce if you're adventurous, and Catch-22 or Confederacy of Dunces if you are looking for just one novel you can discuss in company. After Catch-22, American Psycho or Infinite Jest is probably the funniest modern American novel you'll ever read. Lolita is beautiful, but it's unlikely you'll try to read it - if you do, get the annotated version. Don't spend too much time reading novels, though.
- Nobody owes you anything. If your parents manage to keep you alive into your mid-teens, you have everything you need to do whatever it is you want with your life. The history of the world is stuffed with stories of young people who did great things.
- Tip as much as you can afford. If you can't afford to tip, don't involve yourself in things that involve services performed by people making minimum wage or less who primarily live off tips.
- Wisdom from a Snob: Learn to enjoy one period of one fine art. If you do this, you'll be surprised at how much you begin to enjoy other fine arts and how little you will continue to enjoy their modern bastardizations.
- Politics, Religion and Sexuality: yours aren't as interesting as you think, and most people have no interest in sharing theirs or hearing about yours.
- Learn: how to tie knots, how to pick locks, how to orient yourself using a watch and the sun, and the Rule of 3s.
- The Empath's Dilemma, solved: Feel bad about beggars but unwilling to feed the habits of drugs and alcohol that often come with them? Carry bottled water with you, and give them away freely for those who beg.
- Finally, and this is theoretical because I do not have children, but if I did - especially a daughter - teach your children how to shoot a handgun and a rifle, and how to drive a stick. They likely will never come in handy, but understanding these skills could mean the difference between life and death.
I'm 43, and that's what I have for now. Well, I have more, but I'm only 43.