Our elders are full of wisdom, you just have to listen.
By Jaz McKay
Recently, a young 30 something Facebook friend asked me a question, for whatever reason he sincerely seemed interested in what I had to say. The question was this: “What advice would you give to those who are half your age?” While the question seems simple, the more I thought about it the more complex I realized it was.
Rather than just blow him off, I gave it serious thought and came up with the following 25 bits of sage advice I’d like to impart on my younger readers.
1. Be realistic. People always say, “Make sure you get a job doing what you love!” But that isn’t always true. The right job is the job you love on some days, can barely tolerate most days, and still it pays the bills. Almost nobody has a job they love every day. If you can find a way to earn a living with your hobby that’s great, but be realistic.
2. Years go by in the blink of an eye. Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things, if you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependents, don’t buy stuff. Don’t buy any stuff. See the world even if it’s just within a few hundred miles of your home town. Get in your car, call a travel agent, find a destination and just GO!
I knew a young man in Michigan many years ago who loved reading Hunter S. Thompson. He’d read everything the man had ever written. One day he disappeared. Nobody knew where he was, he just moved away. A few weeks later he called me. He was in Woody Creek, Colorado sitting in a bar talking to Hunter S. Thompson. He wanted to meet him and so, off he went. They ended up becoming friends and he even worked for him at his Owl Farm home doing odd jobs for a while.
3. Never lose your sense of humor, don’t take life so seriously. Even if things seem dark and hopeless, try to laugh at how ridiculous life is. Your sense of humor is the second greatest gift God gave you, the first being life itself.
4. A true friend will come running if you call them at 2am to bail you out of jail; everyone else is just an acquaintance.
5. The most important person in your life is the person who agreed to share their life with you. Cherish them. Treat them like GOLD. Never let them cross the room in front of you that you don’t say, “I love you.” And don’t just say it. Show it.
6. Children grow up way too fast. Make the most of the time you have with them. Put everything on hold from time to time and spend your time throwing a football with your son, playing dress up with your daughter. Show interest in the things that interest them. And remember, you’re not their friend, you’re their parent, set limits and above all else teach them.
7. Nobody ever dies wishing they had worked more Work hard, but don’t prioritize work over family, friends, or even yourself. Remember you’re here to work hard AND to play hard.
8. Eat and exercise like you’re a diabetic heart patient who just had a stroke – so you never actually become one. We have one time on this earth, and you might live a long life, or you might live a short one – who knows? But either way, trust me when I say that you’re going to wish you took better care of yourself in your youth. And learn to cook!
9. If you’re getting overwhelmed by life, just return to the immediate present moment and savor all that is beautiful and comforting in the world around you. Take a drive into the country side. Go to the beach, the mountains, anywhere just go and take a deep breath. Speaking of driving, pay attention. When you pull up to a traffic light don’t be the person fiddling with your belly button when the light changes.
Also by the way, and this is strictly for the guys, nobody is impressed by a Japanese car with a bolt on spoiler and a loud exhaust that sounds more like a sewing machine on meth than a car. If you want a hot rod save your money and get yourself a good old fashioned American mussel car like a 1970 Chevelle SS with a hopped up 427 LS-7 with forged pistons and 1000 horsepower like a real man. Not some pussyfide rat racer.
10. Do stuff. At some point in your youth you must realize you’re no longer preparing for life, but you’re living it. Don’t wake up and realize that you are 60 years old and haven’t done the things you dreamed about. As Roger Waters wrote in the classic Pink Floyd song ‘Time’ “No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.” In fact listen to that song closely, study that song. There is so much wisdom there and he was only 28 years old when he wrote it.
11. Get a dog. Contact a local shelter or a rescue and get a dog. If you’re single that feeling of being welcomed at the door when you come home from work by the cries of joy and tail wags is a fantastic way to end a busy day. Treat your dog as a family member and he’ll be your BEST FRIEND. Girlfriends and boyfriends are going to come and go, but a dog will love you unconditionally, forever.
12. Maybe this one isn’t as profound as the others, but I think it’s important, brush your teeth. Take damn good care of your teeth. Trust me on that one. Floss regularly too, dental problems suck.
13. Study history, all history. As the saying goes, those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.
14. Stuff is just stuff. Don’t hold onto material objects, hold onto time and experiences instead. Travel lite through life. By the way I never took this advice. I’m a collector, NOT a hoarder, a collector. I collect coins, antiques, comic books, toys, you name it and I probably have collected it.
15. The bones and joints you damage today will get their revenge on you at some point. Even if you think they’ve recovered completely. TRUST ME!
16. Read, read, read! Read and absorb as much information as you can. I don’t care if it’s books or internet news articles just read and remember, education isn’t limited to attending school for 12 years. And stay informed with current events and politics.
17. Pay your bills and stay the hell out of debt. If I could have paid myself all the money I’ve paid out in interest over the years, I’d be a rich man. And pay into your pension or 401K just SAVE! I had a chance to buy gold at $250 an ounce back in my twenty’s, but I didn’t because I wasn’t thinking about the future.
18. Jealousy destroys relationships. Trust your significant other, because who else are you supposed to trust? And remember love is not a 50-50 relationship. It’s 100%-100% and you should never stop investing in a relationship, even if your partner seems to not be reciprocating. Even if the relationship fails, at least you’ll know you gave it your all.
19. Speaking of relationships, you have to accept the fact that sometimes they fail, and trust me, you will know when it has. As Woody Allen once said, “I think a Relationship is like a shark, it has to constantly move forward or it dies.” Sometimes you’ll discover you have a dead shark on your hands, when you do, cut it loose and move on.
20. If you have a dream of being or doing something that seems impossible, try for it anyway. It will only become more impossible as you age and become responsible for other people.
21. When you meet someone for the first time, stop and realize that you really know nothing about them. Trust is something that must be earned. Be careful of people until you know them well. Don’t offer too much information about yourself before you can honestly say you trust them.
22. Appreciate the small things and to be present in the moment. It seems today like young people are all about immediate gratification. Instead, why not appreciate every small moment? We don’t get to stay on this crazy/wonderful planet forever and the greatest pleasure can be found in the most mundane of activities. Instead of sending a text, pick up the phone and call someone. Call your mother, have a conversation about nothing in particular. Those are the moments to hold onto.
23. Never think of yourself as a member of any group or minority. Regardless of your race, ethnicity or sexual preference you’re an individual. Don’t marginalize yourself as just another face in the crowd. Don’t forget that the smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. Read and study Ayn Rand. She was the most important and brilliant philosopher of the 20th century.
24. Do your homework. Always question authority and balance what you hear, read or see with common sense and logic and above all else do your own research when formulating your opinions on issues. The main stream media is not your friend and social media is even worse.
25. Whatever you do, the most important advice I can give you is be passionate! Passion is a wonderful emotion. Embrace it, celebrate it, live it. As the very wise Capt. Tony Tarracino once said to me as we sat together drinking margaritas at his bar in Key West, “All you need in life is tremendous passion and a great ego – brains don’t mean shit.”
So, there you go, there’s the advice I’d give to young people today based on the life I’ve led over these 60 some odd years.
You may notice that some of my advice is redundant, and some points may contradict others, I’m allowed, I’m an old guy. Besides you should never take anyone else’s advice as gospel, even mine. You should always ask for advice from someone you respect, then take your situation into consideration and make your own decision.
Essentially, take your own advice would be my advice.
Author: Jaz McKay is a 45 year veteran of Talk Radio, a story teller, a public speaker, an activist, and is the editor and publisher of The Deplorable Patriot website. He lives in Bakersfield, California with his wife and their dog and two cats. He’s been called the Uncommon Voice of the Common Man and is a Super Spreader of the Truth.
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