Unsolicited Advice to My Teenage Self

Dear younger, more idiotic, teenage me:

Teen Jeff
Me at 13.

There are a few things I want to tell you about yourself and your future. Hopefully, they'll save you some pain.

But before that, here are a few quick updates from the future:

First of all, the Internet wasn't just a fad. It's still around. Crazy that people stare at screens all day for work and then go home to do the exact same thing for fun, huh? Well, you're the only one who thinks so.

Second, no flying cars yet. Yeah, I know. I'm bummed about that, too.

Lastly, you got married, had a kid, and did a bunch of other grown-up stuff. The crazy part? It wasn't that bad. Which is what this whole letter is about. So let's jump in, shall we?

Here's my advice to you, teen Jeff:

  1. “Chasing girls” is a misnomer. The paradox is that you often find the one you're looking for when you stop looking.
  2. Keep playing guitar and creating art. You won't regret it.
  3. You will find yourself most contented when you think about yourself the least.
  4. Travel sooner.
  5. Not all commitments are bad. Make some.
  6. The habits you form in the next few years will stick with you, in some form or another, for the rest of your life.
  7. Don't spread yourself too thin.
  8. Just pick a college already.
  9. Learn more about business. It's not as evil as you might think.
  10. Get into shape sooner, not for what other people think but for your own confidence.
  11. You don't have God completely figured out.
  12. Read for fun, even when you don't have time.
  13. Restlessness is a season, not a lifestyle. Be ready to let it go.
  14. Stop being afraid of what other people think and trying to win their approval. Everyone you're scared of right now doesn't amount to much.
  15. Write. For yourself. For others. Just write. (And don't ever settle for your first draft of anything.) There's a reason words come to you in the middle of the night.
  16. Buy some stock in Apple. Seriously. You'll thank me later.


The older, still idiotic You

Note: My friend, Emily, had this great idea to write a letter to her teenage self to celebrate the launch of her new book, Graceful. If you'd like to join, find out more here.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Share in the comments.