Thursday, December 27, 2012

To the Chump Who Cut Classes in the Library

Hi Sixteen Year-old Me,

I'm writing this eight years into (an alternate) future, so listen up and listen well. You're in your third year of high school, which would probably mean you have two more years of awkwardness to take on. I say probably, because you know how our unique school system works. Scary, yes?

Naturally, my first instinct (like everyone else) would be to give you a bunch of lotto numbers or notes on things to invest on, because isn't that why time machines are for? Actually, maybe that's why the universe is making it so hard to build the damn things, but I digress. Then again, I'd really rather have you mess a bunch things up - after all, resilience makes for better people or something.

First things first - I'm writing this from an alternate timeline. You will face a few critical choices in a few months, but the outcome will be entirely up to you. I'm pretty sure you already have a small inkling about this but unless you somehow learn how to play any musical instrument, most of the things you've set your eyes on for the next few years would pretty much be shattered.

I know you have every right to be angry, but don't sweat too much about it - things will work out for the best. Sure, mom and dad will give you a lot of crap about it (and they have very good reason to) but they'll eventually come into terms with it. If there's one thing that has been constant in your life, it's that things always sort themselves out, no matter how inescapable they seem sometimes.

I'm sure you're wondering if I'll drop any hints, so I'll hand over a few. Don't say I didn't warn you.

You're playing quite a bit of M:TG now, but let me tell you one thing - stop at the end of the Mirrodin block. You won't be playing much after that, especially since you'll be getting that sweet ProsBloom deck in a few months. I know it's sort of hard to fathom how that can happen, so let me tell you - it gets sold because the owner needed prom money, gets sold again because the next owner needs the cash for MMO purchases and you snag it for cheap because the next owner gets addicted to MMOs as well. Trust me on this, it will be one of your first good investments. Trading cards could go a long way - that's a quote from one of your future favorite graphic novels. Hint: it's a romance - I know, right?

Speaking of MMOs, do not play any of them, ever. That's a lot of wasted money. You'll recoup some of it, but not the time you've heavily invested on it. Instead read more, go out a lot more and blow stuff up. I'm only half serious about that last one.

Also, you'll eventually learn to appreciate this but learn to roll with the punches that life throws at you. There are a lot of (non-illegal, non-asshat) things you swore you'd never do because they're sappy or whatever, but the universe will make you do them anyway - and you'll have fun doing them. Well, sort of.

Anyhow, here's a few things I would like you to look forward to. I won't post spoilers, but I think this will save you a lot of overthinking.

A year from now, make sure you have something that could record videos. You'll the the sickest lightning show ever (while atop a frickin' mountain). Get that stuff on tape.

Don't bother working so much for your thesis, at least until you really have something concrete. You'll need the sleep because things will become very hectic during your couple of years in college. The answer will literally come to you in a dream, although this will make you realize that the course you took isn't something you'd want to do for a living. Oh, and also, don't miss out on any extracurricular activities. It's just that you'll be needing every single point - it turns out not everyone is gifted with empathy (no matter how ridiculously valid your reasons are).

You'll be back on that mountain I mentioned above in five years' time. Take photos - lots of photos. I don't know when I'd get a chance to get back there (or if I even will), so take advantage of the opportunity.

You'll meet the weirdest bunch of people on your first job. Don't be too quick to judge people - some are way more interesting (and fucked up, in a good way) than you initially think. You already know this too - there are folks who are too smart they seem messed up at first sight. Make sure you befriend them, because you will need friends who look at the world much differently than you do. Listen to the advice they give. It will sound counterproductive from time to time but if retrospect could be trusted, their words will check out just fine.

Bring a hoodie each time you head out in the first half of 2012.

Also, make sure that you have a half-decent camera by mid-April 2012. For some reason, you'll end up in the middle of nowhere and you'll see one of the most poetic things in your life - a starless, pitch black sky with Venus and Mars close together under a full moon. That's not even a metaphor, you will literally see this and not capturing it in a photo would be a real shame.

Ditch all plans on 29th June 2012. You will gain absolutely nothing from that day. Actually, a better idea is to change venues - I should have thought of that sooner.

On 22nd September 2012, indulge in a little self-entitlement. Oh, and make sure that you look back. This sounds a little vague, but you'll understand it when it happens. Just know that if you do look back, you'll be diverging from my timeline, so good luck with that.

That's about it, really. It will be awesome, I promise you. Heck, I promise that to myself every time.

Stay humble, stay curious and for fuck's sake, stay hungry.

Your Older-But-None-the-Wiser  Self


  1. You have such vague advice to your sixteen year old self! HAHAHA but intriguing nonetheless.

    1. Blame the book I'm currently reading. Besides, it won't be fun if everything's spoiled.

      I'll put up a review next week.