Advice to the Past

There’s a thread over at Slashdot asking what advice you would give to your 12 year-old self?

Aside from the usual “Buy Amazon stock, dump it in 2000” stuff, there’s a lot of thoughtful comments.

Without restricting myself to advice to a 12 year old me, and assuming that I wouldn’t entirely change my present situation (e.g., I’d still have met and married Leandra), here’s some advice I’ve give to my past self, in no particular order:

    For junior high and high school

  • Play sports.
  • The sooner you stand up to the bully, the sooner he’ll leave you alone. You won’t even need to actually fight him. It will take you until your senior year to learn this. Later you’ll live down the street from him, which will be weird. And he’ll work at the place next to where you work. By then, he’ll be a normal guy with a wife and baby, a job, a mortgage, etc.
  • Get physically fit. Establish a healthy lifestyle. I’ll appreciate it!
  • Don’t worry about being popular. In a few short years, the social structures in public school will be irrelevant. People in college and the so-called “real world” are not like kids in junior high and high school.
  • Your hair will look much better if you cut it short. Also lose the dorky glasses for smaller ones.
  • Take ag, not choir. And don’t be on the yearbook staff.
  • Read a lot. Not just sci-fi / fantasy. Read serious works, particularly history, politics, philosophy, and economics. Also read the sci-fi/fantasy, because you won’t have enough time to do so later.
  • For college

  • Major in computer science, not computer engineering. The electrical engineering parts of the cpe major will eat your lunch, and you’ll never use it anyway.
  • Don’t waste time on the internet and computer. Avoid MUDding and chatting and games. Go outside, or read, or whatever.
  • Tim, Chad, and Matt were right about many things. Listen to them.
  • Establish a daily prayer and Bible study time. It’ll be hard to start one when you’re 28.
  • Go to church on Sundays. I know you’re tired. Do it anyway.
  • Get involved in more extracurricular things.
  • Don’t go home every weekend. Once a month, tops.
  • Try to get an internship at an actual computer-related company instead of working at the movie theater.
  • Figure out a way to take a really long backpacking trip or something like that. You won’t have the opportunity later.
  • Don’t fight too hard to break from your parents. It will come very naturally – and MUCH less painfully – when you graduate and get married.
  • For early adulthood

  • Do not buy a TV. You’ll realize later that they are serious time-wasters, but once you have one it will be tough to get rid of it. You won’t have managed to by the time you’re 28.
  • Start saving and paying off debts early. Scrimp and save every penny.
  • It’s not worth your wife working for two years.  She’ll hate it, and she won’t get paid enough to justify it. Plus you’ll spend all the money she earns eating out because she’ll be too tired to cook supper!
  • Start having kids earlier. They are a joy.
  • God can take care of your siblings without your help. They’ll get through it.
  • Family is much more important than most anything else. Establish your independence from your parents and family, but keep them close.
  • Your position / reputation at church and at work are meaningless. Almost everyone at work is going to get laid off (except you, don’t worry), so there won’t even be any more team lead or architect positions. As for church, you’ll wind up leaving that church when it splits, then leaving the new church, and going to a brand new one with good doctrine and practices. Don’t wear yourself out fighting over stuff that’s not going to last and isn’t ultimately important anyway.
  • Stand up for what’s right and true. The stereotype of mean conservatives and kindly moderates/liberals is false. It will take you a while to learn this, and when you do you’ll feel better about the fact that you’re a conservative.
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One Response to Advice to the Past

  1. John Frazier says:

    Great bunch of advice. I wish I would have had this advice.

    John

    How are you doing?

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