Advice From An Old Person
By A Friend • February 25, 2019
My advice, do whatever you can while you're young, it really does get harder as you get older, and there comes a point in your life when you stop looking forward at the possibilities of what you could be, and start looking forward at the inevitability of what will be. Nobody lives forever.
Reach far, take chances, risk a lot, but always have a backup plan. You might think that nothing can harm you, but reaching for dreams that you have no chance of attaining can harm you, you can end up depressed, stuck in a rut because you can't make any progress forward, etc. It's important to reach, but also to have a plan that can actually work, idle dreams are dangerous. Things that are going to happen happen step by step, in manageable steps, they don't happen by magic, so break big goals down into steps and if you get stuck on a step for any period of time, it's time to re-evaluate what's going on and figure something else out - either to adapt and overcome, or make a realistic appraisal of the situation and decide what to do.
People say never give up on your dreams, but that's unrealistic. Sometimes you outgrow your dreams, or achieve enough of them that you lose motivation to achieve the rest because the reward isn't enough for the effort, etc, so it's important to be steadfast and dogged enough to push until you reach that point, then to re-evaluate and make sure you actually want to continue on, and either recommit to your dreams, alter your plans, or be honest with yourself and choose to go in a different direction. Blind allegiance and steadfast determination can put you into a situation of fighting for things you don't really want anymore. There's a middle ground that you want to shoot for where you don't stay the party longer than is right for you, but you also aren't a flake who gives up at the first sign of trouble.
Re-evaluate all the time, every year, every month, even ever week to make sure you still want what you think you want, and that you are still making progress.
The most important skill is finding your way when all hope is lost. It's easy to wander in darkness without a way forward, to become depressed and despondent when your dreams don't come true, or as likely .. when your dreams DO come true and they weren't everything that you had hoped. The ability to give up, in tears, crying on your bed because you have no idea what to do, throwing your hands in the air and asking the Universe for guidance is a vastly under rated skill. Sometimes the only way to find a way forward is to admit defeat, to surrender yourself to the fact that you're just a person and that you don't know wtf is going on most of the time, and cry a lot until you feel better and find new direction.
Be honest with yourself about your motivations - are you really doing something for yourself to become a better, more capable person, to improve your situation, etc, or are you trying to impress someone ? Be careful about seeking the approval and the admiration of others, ultimately that kind of success is illusory.
Try to build a strong foundation that will always serve you well. It's great to want to be a super-hero, but it's often even more satisfying to be debt free with some money in the bank, in a situation where you are safe and don't have to worry or look over your shoulder all the time. Sometimes it's important just to get your feet on solid ground, wash your clothes, eat some healthy food, take a shower, and clean up a little instead of flying off into the heavens to achieve some great end.
Treat yourself at least as good as you treat other people.
Too many people eschew the value of money as the root of all evil, but money is a kind of accounting system that we use to trade with one another, it's a way for one person to do something for another, collect a reward, and then use that reward to get something from another. There is no harm in it, it is the love of money that is the danger. It takes a lot of money to retire, and you are not doing society or anyone else any favors by "not caring about money" to the point where you become a burden to your children and others. If you really want to help people, live below your means, don't use money to boost your ego by trying to impress others, and build a strong financial foundation that puts you in a safe space where you can truly help others. Don't accept philosophies of envy.
The best advice I can give is to be as objective as you can about your actual value and try not to indulge over-much in self-delusion. SOME delusion is necessary, "fake it until you make it", but somewhere in the back of your mind it's important to have a realistic accounting of your actual situation, and feedback from friends and family can definitely help here, humility is important. Staying away from social media stardom and the curating of your various facades can definitely help keep you grounded. Learn the fundamentals, the basics, and build on those, one solid foundation block on top of another, foundations on stone not sand, sand castles inevitably get washed out to sea. In times of darkness and loss it is this foundation that will be your bedrock, it is this foundation that will let you say to yourself, with honestly "I haven't lost everything", and if you are like most people you will be in this place more than once in your life and you will need something solid to fall back on.
The modern world is filled with bull**it, bull**it piled on top of bull**it, on top of bull**it, so much bull**it that it is hard to steer clear of it, but it is all there to deceive and enslave. The only source of guidance to see your way clear of it is to close your eyes and surrender yourself to the goals that truly inspire you, especially the necessary ones. Service to others is important, but it is important that it come from a place of charity and giving on your part, not as an edict and forced sacrifice, you are no good to anyone if you allow yourself to be deceived, be taken advantage of, and destroyed. The stronger you are, the greater your ability to resist and to help others resist and thrive. The way to separate these delusion from reality is through effort and trials, the fastest runner is the one who can literally win the race, the rest is comic books and fantasy.
Stripped of everything, what are you ? And what can you do today to become something better tomorrow ? You are, at this moment, perfectly what you are - that may be a person who has little education, that may be a person who is not loved or cared for, that may be a person who has no home, who has no money, you may be a person who has no hope. You are perfectly that, and the Universe and its rules are also perfect, when you drop a stone, it falls. When you push against a wall, it does not move. When you throw a glass against stone, it will break. Look down at your hands, right now, and see that in this moment that you may not be able to do everything, or even anything, but you can definitely do something. And given you are perfectly what you are, and the Universe allows your actions to change your situation ... you can become perfectly something else tomorrow. Someone who has a little more money, who is a little more educated, who has a new friend, who has a little more hope. Even the smallest change is important .. don't despise the day of small things.
That's all I can think to say at the moment except that I love you.
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