18 Little Dollops of Wisdom for 18-Year Old Waksy

Dear Waksy-of-the-past,

So it’s me (you? us?), except of the present. I’d like to think that somewhere in an alternate universe, where the technology is sophisticated enough to include time travel, this actually reaches you. It might help. Or it might not, considering the fact that as a teenager, you don’t really give a damn about what other people say, even yourself.

Anyway, I thought I’d list a few pieces of advice that I figured might help you grow up. Yes, I know. I said list. It helps me get organized, okay? You’ll get into writing lists yourself sooner than you think. Okay. Here we go.

  1. People are not black and white. They are shades of grey, they are nuanced and complicated, the idea of bad and good has been overtaken and overridden by time. Everybody is fucked up. This, however, doesn’t give you the excuse of being an unbearable asshole.
  2. Everything that matters takes time. I really need you to hear this, because I know that you don’t have an ounce of patience in you, but you will learn to exercise patience, slowly but surely (pun unintended). When I say time, I mean years. Your relationships, your career…they take considerable time and effort.
  3. Fear means that it’s worth it. What you fear is not failure. It is success. Failure is expected, so failing, in that sense, is easier to deal with. Success, however…that is unfamiliar territory.
  4. Everyone is going to have an opinion about everything you are, whether they voice it or not. How you look, what you do…do your own thing. Do what makes you happy. Be open to feedback, though. You just have to learn to know the difference between constructive criticism and someone that is actively (or passively) trying to bring you down.
  5. You cannot control everything. Most things are out of your control, so allow things to flow no matter how devastating they are. They are a necessary part of life. Trust me.
  6. On that same tangent, if something sucks and you CAN control it, please do. Cut off toxic people from your life. Start exercising. Write and publish that fucking book.
  7. Suffering is a necessary part of the human experience. You cannot run away from it. Face it head on. It is scary and painful and there will be days you won’t get out of bed because of it, but you will become all the better for it.
  8. People ain’t shit.
  9. I know that people say that failures are just learning experiences, but look for the lessons in your successes as well.
  10. If you don’t create art for a living you will be dead by 30. I’m dead serious (pun intended).
  11. You are allowed to feel whatever you are feeling and to express that to the best of your ability, as long as you are not intentionally (or even unintentionally) abusing or hurting anyone, and being malicious about it.
  12. Nobody is going to save you from yourself except you. You are your own hero. You write your own story, forge your own path. That man is not going to rescue you from the business of loving yourself. Remember that, Waksy.
  13. You think you know what love is, you don’t. Not even close. All that you are experiencing now are hormones. People are imperfect, and so is how they interact with each other. More often than not, you understand what love really is once the fireworks have died down and the “new love” excitement has settled down.
  14. No one owes you a goddamn thing in this life. The world owes you nothing. Spare yourself some agony and accept and acknowledge that.
  15. You will know people’s true colours, really, truly, honestly, when things begin to go wrong. You never know who you surround yourself with, who you are, until things get thick.
  16. Soooo…heads up. You have anxiety. That’s why your thoughts scream at you sometimes. Research on meditation, look for classical music, and ASMR.
  17. Religion is a human construct. Do your own spiritual homework.
  18. We are all going to die, sooner or later (thank goodness). Live your life like you’re going to die the next moment, because you really could.

That’s all, folks! I wish you all the best in this crazy rollercoaster called life.

With love, freedom, laughter,

Present Waksy

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