My Advice for 15-Year-Old Guys

There’s a popular trend on social media right now, “What would you tell yourself at 15 if you could?” Most of that is too specific for me to share publicly, but I would give this advice to any 15-year-old guy right now:

  1. Tell Someone if You’re Being Bullied — Tell someone if a parent, guardian, teacher, peer, or anyone else is bullying you. Tell them until they listen. Tell them what’s going on. Write it down. Share it. Scream it. Let the world know. Do not suffer in silence. If you do this now, you won’t be abused in the future.
  2. Don’t Waste Your Time on Phonies — Your true friends will be there for you. Don’t waste your time on the phonies. If you do this now, you won’t waste your time on phonies in the future.
  3. Learn How to Make Music — Learn how to play an instrument. It doesn’t have to be a rock instrument; any instrument that speaks to you, learn how to play it. Learn how to read music. Learn how the Circle of Fifths works. Learn how to make harmonics on your instrument and explore those. Learn how to improvise. If you do this now, you’ll be able to learn new musical instruments in the future.
  4. Learn How to Program a Computer — Pick a language like Python or C++. Learn how to write your programs in it. Even if your programs are silly, simple little things like RPG character stat creators, learn how to write code that achieves an end. If you do this now, you’ll be able to learn new computer languages in the future.
  5. Workout Now — Go the gym or get some weights and workout at home. If you do this now, building the habit of staying fit won’t be so difficult in the future.
  6. Learn and Master Seven Magic Tricks — Learn and master seven non-gaff magic tricks (i.e. tricks that don’t use a “gimmick” like a fake coin or a two-sided card). Do this now and you will learn how to see through illusions and people won’t be able to easily fool you in the future.
  7. Learn How to Draw — Even if you’re not good at it, work on drawing. Learn how to draw the outlines of things and then work your way in (that’s how artists do it: from the edges to the insides). Do this now and you’ll be able to make diagrams that will help communicate complex ideas in the future.
  8. Read Books — Get in the habit of reading actual books. Read anything you want now. Read for pleasure. Don’t use a phone or a tablet but get an actual book. Talk to your librarian and ask her (or him) how to treat a book when you have one. Do this now and you’ll have actual knowledge and depth of thought later. Also, reading books won’t be a chore for you later in life.
  9. Learn How to Cook — Learn how to cook. Don’t just heat up a can of Beanie-Weenies, but actually learn how to cook. Learn how to bake, boil, broil, sauté, and fry things. Start small, start slow, and work your way up. Do this now and you’ll be able to cook elaborate meals for yourself and your potential life partner in the future.
  10. Learn How to Write — Learn how to write coherent sentences that form coherent paragraphs that form intelligent arguments. Work on your writing by keeping a journal. Write for pleasure. Write about your life. Do this now and writing won’t be a problem later in life when you have to generate a report for your boss or file a form.

Shriek into the Void...

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