NASHVILLE, June 14, 2014– Every now and then I like to share my thoughts. I know, it’s not news, and you didn’t ask. This isn’t one of those “bait and click” articles. To try and keep it genuine, I’m using real names and real life experiences. In my opinion, painting inspiration for teenagers in a cliche five word catch-phrased meme doesn’t actually drive a point home. So, if you’ll excuse me, I think having a platform is a gift, and it should be used as such.
I’m probably not telling anyone that is aged millennial or older anything you don’t already know, but this isn’t for you.
This is for the freaks and geeks making out underneath the football bleachers while the Friday night lights illuminate their smiles. This is for all you dreamers- you future leaders. It’s for the 14-year-old still living in all of us. Are you guys even on Facebook anymore? I guess we’ll find out.
If I could travel back tens years ago and find myself in the halls of Greenbrier High School to deliver twelve lessons, these would be those lessons:
- 1.) The ugly girls you pick on in 10th grade English will be competing to become Miss Tennessee after you graduate college. Yeah, they’re beauty queens now. Oh, and the junior prom queen you swooned over in the hallways after English class is actually pregnant. She won’t finish the semester. One of those nerds you make fun of just signed a $250k/yr. contract with Google at age 26. By the way, the kid with Trisomy-21 syndrome that you and your friends pick on will pass away before you all graduate. You will always remember the time he made you smile on the bus. On the day you find out he passed away, you will beg for God’s forgiveness in tears. In fact, more than 20 people you went to high school with have died since then. The point? Choose your words and friends carefully.
- 2.) You’ll get in trouble for vandalism today. Dad will sit you on the porch for ‘a talk’, and you’ll write a letter promising him that you will behave more appropriately. He’ll go on to tell you, “Son, I gave up everything to come to this country so that whenever I had kids their futures would only be limited by their dreams. One day, you could become the president.” You won’t believe him, but ten years later you’ll be invited to give a major speech on the steps of the South Carolina State House in front of hundreds of people. In fact, you’ll travel the country giving similar speeches all before you’re 25th birthday. Dad will then show you the letter you wrote to him ten years ago. He still has it? Of course. Mom and dad are definitely right- always…
- 3.) …Well, almost always. You’re parents are not perfect, and that’s okay. Even heroes need a day off. And even though they are today’s villain for not letting you go to Kaitlyn George’s Halloween party (she happens to be your girl-next-door crush), you will grow to speak of them as heroes. Even if it takes a decade.
- 4.) Oh, look… You got in trouble again. So much for that letter to dad. This time you upset mom and dad so much that they will not talk to you for a week. Seriously… They will ignore you for the entire week. In fact, every time mom happens to cross your path in the hallway, she will begin to cry in disappointment. Making your parents cry is one of the most heart-wrenching experiences you will ever face. When your actions have reduced your heroes to tears, you finally learn what it feels like to be a villain, and it will break your heart.
- 5.) Kaitlyn George who? She was so two years ago. Now you’re with your first love- Claudia. After you two break-up, ending a four year relationship, you both will have grown into a totally different people. It will break your heart (God, will it ever heal!?!). You will spend two weeks on the couch. Mom will call you a pitiful slob. Then, six years later, yet again, you are a totally different person. You look back and cherish the lessons you learned from your relationship with Claudia and laugh about being paralyzed on the couch. PS… Your heart will go on. Just ask Rose Dawson.
- 6.) Despite what anyone tells you, you are not too young to start. Start what? Start a business– writing, singing, speaking, creating, believing, campaigning, learning, investing… Just start. If you don’t, someone else will.
- 7.) Quit talking about about yourself. Talk about the other guy. Lift him up. While you’re at it, humble yourself. You arrogant punk.
- 8.) You will make life altering mistakes. It’s okay. You’ll soon find out that everyone else will too.
- 9.) Do not hide from those mistakes. If you do, people will use them against you. Instead, embrace them by marketing them to your advantage.
- 10.) Nana will try to teach you to play the piano. Do it. Not just to learn the piano, but for the time and memories with one of your greatest fans. In ten years, you’ll regret that you didn’t. Not just for the time and memories but also because chicks dig piano players.
- 11.) You don’t ‘have to’ go to college. Although beneficial, opting out is no deal-breaker. You’ll spend $100,000 to study at Belmont University. However, while doing something completely unrelated to your chosen major, you will end up making more money than you could in your field of study before you graduate. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to practice your craft, become an educated individual and take big, although calculated, risks. Vision, drive and dedication are the keys to success. Not a piece of paper.
- 12.) You’ll abandon religion because you think you’re too smart for God. You’re not too smart for God. God is too smart for you. When you are ready, he will prove this to you inside of a Walmart at 2:00 AM. Why Walmart? Because this is God’s country. Also known as, the South.
- Bonus.) Just as I never listened to lessons from mom and dad, you probably won’t listen to any of this. That’s completely fine. Trial and error will show you the way. Just keep in mind, I’m not old enough to be your mom or dad, but I am old enough to tell you this… In ten years, when you find yourself laughing for any given reason, you’ll notice you sound just like your mom or dad, and then it will hit you like a ton of bricks: “My God, they were right.” Just giving you a heads up.