Tips to My 20-Something Self

  1. Don’t kiss a girl who isn’t excited to see you.
  2. Talk to your father more. He’s shy.
  3. Your talent isn’t found in the bottom of a bottle. Talent is work.
  4. Being the life of the party often means being the embarrassing story other people tell the next day.
  5. Motivation comes from starting, not the other way around.
  6. You don’t really need two orders of fries.
  7. Berating women doesn’t make you witty or funny.
  8. Just 30 minutes of sunlight a day is a world of difference.
  9. Sit still and pay attention once in a while.
  10. It’s okay to express your feminine side.

I was a confused young man; heck, I still am most of the time. Nobody ever told me any of these things, I had to figure them out for myself. Maybe that’s the best way to learn something? They seem more poignant this way.

21 thoughts on “Tips to My 20-Something Self

  1. I love this and as a 60 something self may I add, when you find someone you want to date more than once, commit to dating them for four seasons. A person can fool you for a few months but by the end of a year, who they are, is who they are. By then you will know if it’s a ‘go forward’ or ‘let it go’ relationship. Thanks for sharing your top 20 tips!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. 👍 to all but #1. I’m sorry to break this to you, but even if you looked like Brad Pitt circa his “Fight Club” days, a woman isn’t always going to be excited to see you. We aren’t Stepford Wives. We have feelings … and bad days … and tragic events … and boyfriends who say stupid things. This reminded me of a “Sex and the City” episode that ended with the main character saying she wants a guy who always gives her butterflies. *rolls eyes* That’s Hollywood. And that’s why Hollywood marriages fail so often and so quickly.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, no I don’t mean ALWAYS… just that when I was a drunk I’d dated a lot of women out of convenience and neither of us were really into each other. So, “don’t kiss a girl who isn’t excited to see you” could instead be don’t kiss a girl who was never excited to see you. lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see. Been there, done that [from one of my posts]:

        Mark McCormick and I went Christmas shopping in December, took occasional breaks together the following year, and talked about ’80s music as we worked, but I continued to feel shy around him, and he remained stilted around me, so when a coworker in the mattress department dialed my extension to invite me to a manager’s Halloween party, I said yes.

        Of course, Mark McCormick attended the party, too, making me feel terrible every time I caught him watching my date, who’d dressed in red horns, and me. But faced with the decision of dating someone who made me anxious, dying alone, or pursuing a relationship with the devil, I chose to keep going out with the 27-year-old mattress salesman I’d conversed with during his stint in the young men’s department. At the time, with his thus-far-useless journalism degree, disheveled hair, partly untucked dress shirt, rolled-to-the-elbows sleeves, Camel habit, and dark sense of humor, he’d seemed like the tortured-artist type.

        He turned out to be an alcoholic.

        For a while, dating him was fun because I was underage and never got carded at bars he’d frequented before we met. Then, he started passing out in restaurants and stumbling into the store drunk during my evening shifts because he’d seen me chatting with Mark McCormick earlier in the day. The fun officially ended when he began romanticizing the movie “Leaving Las Vegas,” and the caretaker part of my personality donned a cape and decided to save him from drinking himself to death a la Nicolas Cage’s character.

        Once nagging him to stop drinking backfired because he ordered O’Doul’s and made so many faces and sarcastic remarks that I told him to get a real damn beer and shut up, I tried to distract him from liquor cravings by making out with him in darkened parking lots of hospitals, doctor’s offices, and parks, where every police officer in Lorain County saw me in various states of undress because I still lived with my parents, my boyfriend lived with his widowed mother, and neither of us could afford a hotel room until New Year’s Eve, when he sprang for a Radisson reservation to take my virginity.

        Like the you-could-do-a-lot-better episode of “Seinfeld,” my interest in saving him waned after one cop knocked on my window with his flashlight and asked, “Do you wanna be with this guy?” It was his way of asking if I was being raped, but I started to ask myself the same question. The alcoholic’s erections were an instant return on investment of time and effort since I wasn’t attracted to two-thirds of his face, including the semicircular nicotine stain shading the bottom of his two front teeth like a child’s drawing of sunset, but even for a people-pleasing, self-sacrificing ESFJ, it’s hard to rescue someone you resent.

        Throughout our relationship, he’d continued to drink, embarrass me in public, and call me by his sole ex-girlfriend’s name. He also complimented my intelligence and encouraged me to go to college but turned every conversation into a game of chess that segued into an argument. Coworkers constantly asked, “Are you two fighting again?”

        Worse, I knew I’d never be able to pursue a writing career as long as we were together because although he likened his writing to Hunter S. Thompson’s, he’d failed as a reporter at “The Morning Journal” he called “The Urinal.”

        I accepted his spontaneous proposal as I drove us around downtown Cleveland beneath fireworks our second New Year’s Eve together because I was 20 and naïve enough to think he would change, because I knew I’d need to move out soon and wouldn’t be able to afford rent on my $6.20 per hour salary, and because it would’ve been an even longer drive back to Amherst if I hadn’t.

        I demoted him from fiance to boyfriend in title only after he saw me talking to Mark McCormick at a coworker’s Super Bowl party, got drunk, stormed out, and tossed the leather jacket I’d bought him out his car window on his way home. The look on his face—and potential drama at Macy’s, where I now wrapped gifts, prepared the bank deposit, and enjoyed my job—prevented me from severing ties because previous attempts had provoked slurred, suicidal-sounding phone calls. I had enough to worry about with violence escalating at home, so it was just easier to endure an occasional date even though the baritone voice that initially attracted me to him had turned into a mosquito-esque drone.

        To cope during particularly exasperating evenings, I took a cue from him and drank to the verge of alcohol poisoning. This provided an escape hatch once my head hit the table, but after he deliberately scalded my scalp beneath his mother’s bathtub faucet before rinsing Long Island iced tea vomit from my hair, I cut the waist-length locks he loved up to my ears, buzzed the back, dyed the new ‘do red, and began dating the former coworker who’d tagged along on dates for months to carry him to the car and drive us home.

        I hoped that since Boyfriend A was so smart, he’d catch on to Boyfriend B and bow out. I never imagined it would take eight months of refusing to hold his hand and a move to a one-bedroom apartment with the new beau. Then again, I didn’t realize I was exchanging one set of problems for another, that I would do so time and time again for the next 20 years, or that an eventual relationship with Mark McCormick would precipitate a 36-hour stay in a psych ward.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very well written, you have a good way of wording things that makes it really easy to read. Sometimes I wonder how many women tell similar stories about me! I fortunately don’t have any nicotine stains but I have done PLENTY of embarrassing things in public with ex-girlfriends.


  4. As a twenty something year old I definitely get where you’re coming from- your twenties are crazy and most people have no idea what they’re doing or what to do but at least you’ve grown from that.

    Liked by 1 person

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