Graduation Advice To Myself

I was sitting in front of my computer trying to decide what I am going to write on today. I have a bunch of topics lined up that I really want to talk about. So I was going back and forth planning to write either about boundaries or my user manual. When I couldn’t make up my mind, I checked my email (yeah, I am a sucker for distraction) and found that a friend had mailed me. She is currently writing a keynote speech for a graduation ceremony and asked me a question:

“If you could briefly go back in time (without fucking up the space-time continuum of course), what would you tell your 18-year old self?”

Oh yeah, that’s easy. You know… Well… So… You should… Dagnabit! Not so easy after all. What I remember most about my own graduation were all the speeches and advice. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t remember a word that I was told 19 years ago. But I remember very vividly how bored about it all I was.

A surreal feeling of being high and low at the same time washes over me. It feels like being squished and stretched at the same time. As suddenly as the feeling started, it subsides.

I would start with a “Gibbs Head Slap”. Just to make sure I haveGibbs_head_slap_by_eib29 my own
attention. And then I would tell my younger self:

  1. Pay attention and listen to what great people say to you. It might not make sense in the moment but it will someday. I have had many, many instances where something popped back into my mind that people told me 5 or 10 years prior. And suddenly it made sense. And following what they told me made me a better version of myself. By the way, me talking to you constitutes as “a great person is saying something to you.”
  2. Always strive to be the best possible version of yourself. It doesn’t matter what you own, who your friends are and what you look like. What matters is using your time to become the best you there is.
  3. Be happy. Happiness is a decision and a mindset. You don’t have to get X or make Y money to be happy. We all get stuck in the idea of: I I just have X, then I will be happy. It’s bullshit, won’t work and makes you ultimately unhappy because you are holding out on being happy.
  4. Life is about the relationships we build. Keep building and maintaining them. Not out of calculation or duty or whatever other sense, but out of knowing that these relationships and make life worth living. And I am talking about any relationship in any form here, romantic, friendship, platonic, business partnership, coworker-ship, one-night-stand-ship.
  5. Put as much energy into building relationships as you put into getting laid! Read the pick up book if you have to, read twice as many books on relationships. Try online dating if you want to and meet some hot women. Then go out and meet twice as many people because they are awesome.
  6. And finally: Stop seeking approval (particularly from women), stop trying to be liked, reclaim your masculinity and show up, vulnerably, as who you really are. This is one of those things that will not make sense to you until later. But basically you are a wimp that tries to please everybody and shows up for no one. All your ideas what it means to be a man are off and you actually have no clue. And nothing get’s in your way more than that. Find men’s groups and figure it out. ASAP.

And then my younger self would stare at me blankly and say: “Huh?………….” And then I would probably Gibbs slap him again. Just because. And because I know he needs some more slaps over his lifetime. Might as well start now.

A surreal feeling of being high and low at the same time washes over me. It feels like being squished and stretched at the same time. As suddenly as the feeling started, it subsides.

Too soon! There was something I wanted to tell myself about my first marriage. It started with “DON’T DO IT” but I can’t remember what I wanted to say after that.

Ah, the effects of time travel.


What would you tell your own younger self? What would have helped you along the way? Or maybe what will get in his or her way?


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