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Sunday, June 19, 2016

25 Things; A Note to My 17 Year Old Self.

Dear Glenn,

My how the years have gone.  To be honest, as long as a quarter century seems, seventeen seems like much longer ago than a simple two and a half decades.  In that time, you went from a geek to well, good-looking geek, and from an unsure and late-blooming adolescent to a Naval Academy graduate, submariner, Stanford lawyer and the owner of a great law firm – oh and you’re also living in Las Vegas.  Yes, seriously.  But here’s the thing: it wasn’t easy.  In fact, it was nearly unbearable.  You and I both know that despite our hard candy shell, we can get pretty worked up about stuff – and boy, did we.  Now, I’m not so naïve to think that it all would have ended up the same had it not been difficult.  After all, we know that it takes iron to make steel – but, I’ve also spent a lot of days looking back and wishing we had done a few things differently. 

Interestingly, for the past seven years, we’ve been writing down the lessons we’ve learned; mostly as catharsis (by the way, our vocabulary has gotten fantastic), and a little bit of laughing to keep from crying, but also as a way of communicating, connecting and entertaining the precious few people you’ve gotten close with.  But, this is a new tradition, a letter looking 25 years back, to you, because as good as things got, and a few regrets as we have, I’d love for you to know a few things:

1.     Start writing earlier.  Turns out you do have something to say, and people are really going to love it.
2.     Stop writing poetry.  Immediately.  It’s awful, and you’d rather people find a picture of you naked (at this age) than any poems you wrote.
3.     You’re an atheist, and you’ve known it (already) for more than five years.  It’s ok, be brave and tell people.  Waiting twenty more years to stop “fake praying” isn’t being kind or considerate, it’s being cowardly.
4.     No one hates you.  No one even dislikes you as much as you think.  Being popular is overrated – be awesome, it lasts much longer.
5.     Stop dancing in private (i.e. the basement) – and get to the dance floor.  You’re going to be great at it, and just because one kid shoved you at a school dance doesn’t mean you don’t belong out there.  That kid amounted, literally, to nothing.  You’ve won more dance contests and danced with more pretty girls than you’ll ever be able to count. 
6.     You’ll forgive almost every bully from Centaurus.  Except James Richmond – because fuck that guy. 
7.     While we’re at it, go take a swing at James.  He’s not as tough as he seems, and believe me, he won’t be expecting it. 
8.     Go back to soccer.  You’ll regret not getting a Varsity letter, even if it took you all four years.
9.     Join the Math Club earlier.  Who cares if it’s lame?  Math is going to save your life.  Trust me.
10.  Brush and floss.  You’re going to invest in braces (because Mom & Dad couldn’t afford them), and it’s going to be great, but root canals and crown suck.
11.  Stop fighting with your mom.  No, it doesn’t get any better with the two of you, but it’s not worth fighting over.  You’re going to skip her funeral. 
12.  Be nicer to your little sister.  She’ll be the only real family you have.  She turns out to be your biggest fan and the only person you can count on when everything else goes to hell.
13.  Also, stop creeping on her friends (you’ve got no shot) and ask for advice on what to wear, how to cut your hair and how to dance.  She’s way ahead of you on all of these.
14.  Ask someone to the prom.  No, Jennifer Rizzuto isn’t even a possibility, and you’re not going to go with a cheerleader.  But, there are plenty of girls who would love to be your date, and you’ll always regret skipping it. 
15.  Charles is a better guy than you can possibly imagine.  Stay closer to him – he’s got more figured out than you think.  (Yes, his family is exactly as awesome as they seem)
16.  Stop praying to be “average” – we both know that wouldn’t make you happy.  Keep dreaming big; it all comes around.      
17.  Try out for football.  You won’t make the team, and you’ll get destroyed, but once you get into shape (and trust me, we do) you’ll wish you put the pads on, at least once.
18.  Apologize to Katey; you were being an ass.  She stays beautiful (25 years and counting) and brilliant; and you like her more than you want to admit.  Ask her out, already.
19.  Kiss Hope at Math Day.
20.  Don’t tutor cheerleaders with math homework – you’re right, they are using you. 
21.  Hug your dad more.  Turns out he was right about almost everything, and when he says he’s proud of you, he means it.
22.  You will never have better spaghetti than you have at The Blue Parrot.  Ever.
23.  Don’t run for Student Council.  You get killed, it’s embarrassing and you’ll have another shot at law school (which you’ll win).
24.  Stop looking for a place to “fit in” – we never find one, and that’s exactly how it should be.
25.  Your life is tremendous, so stop thinking about ending it.  You’ll get close a few more times, but you’ll always have someone close to you remind you that people love and care for you and that despite the setbacks, you’re going to do great things.

That’s it for now, young man.  It’s going to be a big year, so get back to work – and when you think about driving Terry to Taco Bell to pick up a quick snack during lunch, maybe skip that trip.


                                                                                    42-year-old Glenn

PS – Tell your dad to invest in Apple stock.       


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