A man doesn’t have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.
And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn’t learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.
I got up in the night and went to the end of the hall. Over the door in large letters it said, “This is the next life. Please come in.” I opened the door. Across the room a bearded man in a pale-green suit turned to me and said, “Better get ready, we’re taking the long way.” “Now I’ll wake up,” I thought, but I was wrong. We began our journey over golden tundra and patches of ice. Then there was nothing for miles around, and all I could hear was my heart pumping and pumping so hard I thought I
would die all over again.
You poor sap. I know you won’t believe any of this, but you should. How can I get it through your thick, acne-pocked skull? All the stupid things you are so worried about really aren’t very important at all. In fact, they are the opposite of important. What if I told you that all the “winners” around you right now were actually the losers? Well, I just did tell you that, but you still don’t believe me because I’m an adult and 16 year olds can never trust adults.
What if I tried to explain it this way: That feeling you’ve never been able to put a name on — it feels something like, let’s say, a bone-crushing insecurity and cluelessness about your place in the world — just forget about it! That’s right. You can forget about it and go about your days — confident with the knowledge that it’s all going to work out just fine. Because as you get older, you will figure stuff out. A lot of stuff. And that bone-crushing feeling will slowly dissipate. I’m sorry. I can’t remember if you knew what the word “dissipate” meant when you were 16. You will feel it less and less as time goes on. That’s what I meant to say.
And all those “winners” who appear at the top of their games and lives are indeed, just that: at their peaks! It’s all downhill for those idiots from here. Ha! Come on, let’s have a laugh. At their expense! It’s okay. You’ve earned it!
While YOU get to do the opposite: Things will just get better and better for you. And here’s the best part: It turns out that girls like geeky smart guys much more than dumb sports guys. For many reasons. You’ll see. So relax, man. Just relax. And I can even pass along this shocking piece of information: You will enjoy your life in your 40s! You heard me. It’s gonna be great!
Now, I’m not saying it’s not going to come with some serious bumps in the road along the way, but don’t worry. Those bumps are the very thing that will make you a better person along the way and make you appreciate yourself and the world around you more and more. So you can stop worrying about the mean kids around you and stop putting any energy into being mean yourself. Ignore all that crap and enjoy the nice things in your life. Now how ‘bout a smile? No? Well, you ARE 16. I get it. But I can tell you’re smiling just a little on the inside.