Aug 26, 2020, 06:28AM

Advice to Myself at Age 10

You long-haired moss lump.

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You’re going to spend a lot of your life being full of shit about things you think you care about: your body, your talents, what you want to do with your time. This self-deception is a tiresome way to live. The results for day-to-day living are poor, and your feelings tend to snag and bunch up and stay that in a mess until they’ve got you permanently off-balance.

More bad news: Everything you hear about maturity is correct. Specialness isn’t guaranteed; neither is excitement. Life is a series of problems, all of them dropping down on your head. The pleasures in life come by the way, in amongst the problems, and most often they require effort. Of course, people who say things like this are people who haven’t done all that well at life; they haven’t learned the truths and compensate by repeating them to young victims. But edit out the clowns’ pompous tones and look at what’s left, the residue. That residue is truth. Don’t hate that stuff. Look it over.

But you’re stuck. You’re clumsy and confused. Neurological terms say why, but the adjectives say what you are. Clumsy and confused, non-stop. You can’t do the things kids do and you’re terrified someone’s going to notice. Faking it is all that’s left, and you flop at that. Yet you keep trying and you always will. That’s because you’ll keep being afraid.

Being scared has some other costs. You’ll spend your life lying in bed or sitting in college libraries and reading magazines. It’ll be boring. You’ll barely experience the things people build their lives on. Love, children, career accomplishment—these things will take place in the distance. Up close there’ll be you and your back pain and a book you’re not particularly interested in.

Process these thoughts and maybe you’ll recognize you have to get out of bed. Tomorrow comes, all right? One day of lying there is followed by another, and your body starts to hurt. It’s hurting now. What you’re doing can’t go on without pain and frustration. Make the decision or your days will always feel this way. You’ll feel like you’re stuck under circumstances and that your life is a matter of twitching, wiggling, and flailing.

The neighborhood kids can’t be everywhere. Get out of bed. There’s a steep hill covered with forest. It’s 50 feet from the back of your house. Run the 50 feet. Go through the neighbors’ yard even if the dog barks. Hit that slope and do something with your body. Nobody’s there to say you suck. Sit under some trees and read your book and maybe write something. You’re still hiding, but not in a hole. You’re living those corners of your life available to you. Back in your room you’re just disabling yourself. Don’t throw yourself away.


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