I am going to deviate from the world of writing today because all of my rant thoughts have sort of been able to camp put together under a giant umbrella of “things I wish other people knew.” But since I try to put myself in other people’s shoes and see things from their point of view before going off on them, it made me realize a lot of nice people do bad or stupid things out of ignorance.

 

So today I want to talk about things I think will help people to know in this day and age. Some could be called life hacks, some are tips, and some are hypotheses. Still, if everyone knew the following things, I think they’d have a happier life.

 

To start, some

CHILDHOOD ADVICE (ages birth-11ish):

 

Everyone is full of shit, and all often so are your teachers. Learn to question them, but do it respectfully. Authority should be questioned, but never overtly pissed off.

 

On that note, go ahead and get in trouble. No one gives a sodding shit about “your permanent record” from school after you’re admitted to college.

 

Kids are mean, kids tease. You’ll want to be your own person, but it takes time to develop. So in grade school, try to dress and act like other kids. Be nice. Keep secrets. Gossip carefully. Be helpful, but not a doormat. Once they like you then, you’ll be okay later as you grow and realize what assholes they are.

 

Most of what is in textbooks is a lie. Not on purpose: the people ghost writing textbooks are recent grads with English degrees. The name of the “author” is 100% meaningless, and English majors are not the best at researching things like science and math. Hit the library whenever you can and ask librarians for recommendations on the best stuff. Be nice, return books on time, and they’ll be nice to you.

 

Be nice to your siblings. They are the only people you’re likely to know from cradle to grave, and if you ever become famous they have mountains of blackmail material on you.

 

ADOLESCENCE ADVICE (ages 11ish-16ish):

 

Now is the time to ask yourself who you want to be, not who you are. You’re not nearly there, but what do you want life to look like when you finish college (or high school if not going to college)? Do you have lots of friends? Then start paying attention to fashion, technology, and trends. Do you have a few close friends, no huge social circle? Start reading and find a hobby smaller intimate groups enjoy. Are you a corporate type, with lots of money? Then start making grades a top priority. Are you an artist? Then start learning, on your own time, about your art and its history.

 

By now you’ve discovered porn. Great, enjoy. But while you’re on the Internet, try to look up what real sex is. Porn is as far from real sex as an action film is from reality. And for god’s sakes, don’t do anything with another person! It will not end well, just be happy masturbating for the time being. Sex will come soon and it’s better and worse than you think

 

You want to rebel against your parents. Before you do, go watch some Leave it to Beaver. BE Eddie Haskell. Be the kid the other parents trust, yet the one who gets their kids into the wildest stuff. Life is better this way, and practice a double life now. It will come in handy in life.

 

TEENAGE PRE-COLLEGE ADVICE (16-18):

 

Go on youtube and watch as many car crash compilation videos as you can. If you want to know why you need to learn how to drive correctly, and what the most common (and deadly) mistakes are, this is the fastest way to learn.

 

There’s a system to writing papers. Come up with a thesis. Write 4-8 sentences that prove the major points of the thesis. Each one begins a new paragraph and write 3 sentences supporting each (make one a quote or reference). Now copy and paste the topic sentences and put them in order in the intro paragraph. Reword each slightly. Make a summary sentence of the points (not the thesis). Copy and paste and make it the exit paragraph. Switch the thesis and summary statements. Now reword them all slightly. Gets an A every time. Confused? Here is how it looks:

 

 

This is the summary statement I have come up with. This is the first point which supports it. This is the second point supporting the summary. This is the third sentence of support for my summary. This is the fourth and last, and most specific point in summary support. This is my thesis, the assumption I am about to prove.

 

This first point supports my thesis. This sentence explains in the point in greater detail. Quote/reference sentence. This sentence summarizes this point and transitions to the next.

 

The second point supporting my summary is here. This sentence explains in the point in greater detail. Quote/reference sentence. This sentence summarizes this point and transitions to the next.

 

This third point supporting for my summary is here. This sentence explains in the point in greater detail. Quote/reference sentence. This sentence summarizes this point and transitions to the next.

 

This last specific point ties my summary and support together.  This sentence explains in the point in greater detail. Quote/reference sentence. This sentence summarizes this point and transitions to the next.

 

This is my thesis, which I just proves. This is the first supporting point restated. This is the summary’s second point reworded. This is the third summary support statement to be reworded. This is the summary from the beginning reworded and made to feel like a conclusion.

 

 

Try to get as many after school activities as you can if you plan to go to college. If you don’t, get a part time job and start saving up. Try to work retail, and not fast food. Retail leads to higher job possibilities than fast food and will give you skills you can use better in other jobs.

 

If you insist on drinking, learn to do it responsibly. Keep it to just a couple beers, learn to nurse. Never get drunk around people you don’t know. Never get drunk around anyone you wouldn’t trust to help you move. Don’t binge drink. Drink as much water as you do alcohol. Do not ever drive drunk, have a designated driver.

 

Now is the time when you’ll probably have sex. Go slow. Use a condom every time. Girls, get on birth control AND use a condom. Do not try to imitate porn. Hell, go read Masters & Johnson or another respected sex manual. And do not ever have sex with anyone who doesn’t want you as much or more than you want them.

 

Look at scholarships. Apply for any and all, go nuts. Every little bit helps and trust me, you do NOT want to take a student loan.

 

When you graduate high school you do not need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life but you must know: are you a dreamer or doer? A dreamer knows what they want to do and it’s usually a grand goal or calling. A doer has no career plans but knows the quality of life they desire. Dreamers, come up with a plan that is realistic to reach your goal and have a concrete backup goal (aka a college degree and/or full time job). Doers, find out what kind of money it takes to afford the life you want, find out what careers pay that, and major in college accordingly. Doers must go to college, dreamers don’t have to (but it is a good idea if done right).

 

YOUNGEST ADULT ADVICE (18-22):

 

If you don’t go to college try to pick a path and get a basic book. Accounting? Read From the Lemonade Stand and try to get a job in retail helping the bookkeeper, for example. Try to live with your parents if you can, or a roommate if not, live as cheap as possible and save.

 

Also, if you are not attending college, register at a community college. Don’t sign up for classes. Therefore you owe no money, but you have access to their libraries and other amenities. Use this resource to learn skills you can use to advance your career.

 

No one at this age needs a credit card. College students, get an on-campus or part time job for money if you’re going full time and need help covering things. Others, no credit cards now!

 

The cheapest way through college is to go to a junior/community college. In almost every state a 2 year degree from here of core classes gives you a degree that will transfer to any in-state state 4 year school. Get a full time job and go to school part time, take 3 years to get your 2 year degree. Live at home and save, save, save, pay tuition as you go. Then transfer to a state school, get another full time job and again take 3 years, use your current salary and savings to pay for tuition as you go. In six years you’ll have a degree, 6 years of work experience, and no debt.

 

Drink responsibly. Fuck responsibly. Now drugs happen. DO THEM. Do them on weekends, on break. Do not let them interfere with school or work. Do not do them with anyone you don’t know, or anyone you wouldn’t trust to help you move. Do them now, because you won’t do them later, and everyone should try them once.

 

You may wonder if you’re bi. Simple test: picture a member of the same sex masturbating. Now picture a member of the opposite sex masturbating. If both arouse you, you’re bi. If only the same sex does, you’re gay. If only the opposite sex does, you’re straight. If neither do, major in mechanical engineering or physics, you’re a natural.

 

Don’t overload on porn or romance novels. It will fuck you up. Use it sparingly, try to masturbate using fantasies. Your partner(s) will thank you. And don’t ever tell your partner you use porn. Male or female, they’ll be offended no matter what they say.

 

Read How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Make it your bible. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance , Tao of Pooh, or anything Marx wrote will only help you with some people. Carnegie will help you with all.

 

Make sure you cultivate friends from all genders and be as diverse as you can. Now is the time to learn people are the same underneath and bigotry is a waste of time.

 

Now is also the time to learn not to be emotionally attached to things. Back your data up, get fire insurance, but never be afraid to sell something or throw it out if you have to. Things have no value, people do. Never forget that.

 

YOUNG ADULT ADVICE (ages 22-29):

 

Get a Fingerhut account or a similar retailer credit account (make sure, like Fingerhut it is reported to credit agencies) at age 22. Buy gifts for holidays and birthdays on it, and then pay it off in full the next month. It’s time to start building credit, wisely. Get furniture off Craigslist and use your savings to buy a used car. Cheap out now where you can and keep saving. If you don’t want to be in debt, do this!

 

Date all you want, but do not even consider marriage until you’re 26. I’d wait ‘til 30, but kids will be kids. Try not to live with a lover before 25, no matter how cheap it seems. Once you have a full time job under your belt, get your own apartment and learn to live alone. This is very important, you have to learn to really like yourself or you will never be happy.

 

Acquire 3 hobbies. 1 that can make you money, 1 that can get you friends, and 1 that is just for you. Find things that make you happy and aren’t too expensive or difficult.

 

Start walking, every day. Pay attention to what you eat, knock off fast food and limit processed food. Be aware the healthier you are the better your life will be. Fact of life.

 

Try to be groomed but not a slave to fashion. Fashion changes, but good grooming never does.

 

Wear earplugs at concerts. Just do this.

 

Don’t be afraid to travel to new places, meet new people, try new things. The ability/interest to do this rapidly drops at 30.

 

At 23 it’s time to get a credit card. Use it only for dinners out, movies, dates. Pay the balance in full before the due date every month. Pay rent and bills on time, all this is going to matter soon. Stay on top of that car, don’t buy a new one. Ever.

 

Don’t bother voting. It doesn’t matter. The world is bankers and corporations and they have a game. Get educated and learn to play it. All the credit card stuff is leading to this.

 

Get a 401k at work. Save 10% of your salary for retirement in it. Save 4% for emergencies in a savings account, and save whatever you can over that for fun expenses like vacations, tattoos, or designer pets, whatever. Never let your savings get below what you need for 6 months of living, and never ever touch that 401k before retirement.

 

If you didn’t go to college, by now you should have a good entry level job. Consider night school. Community college, for certifications, or just city college type informational classes. It’s gonna come in handy. You need to pad your resume with more than experience so chase certifications, classes, and awards whenever possible.

 

If you must have a new car, absolutely have to, lease one around 28. Don’t be a schmuck and pay for something that halves in value when you drive off the lot. Pay for it monthly fixed, and keep up on it. That major impacts your credit, so let’s make it a good thing.

 

Also by 28 learn to trade stocks. Go slow. It’s not math nor a science, no matter what they say. Learn to pay attention to things. For example, women’s fashions with longer hems and shorter heels indicate a pessimistic society and a bear market. Short skirts and higher heels mean a bear.

 

If you get married, do it cheap. Divorce is a 50/50 shot at best so don’t break the bank. Tell caterers etc that you’re pricing a family reunion, the price is automatically lower. Don’t say the word “wedding” or they gouge you.

 

Do not buy a condo. No one but the extremely wealthy should buy a condo. Rent, rent, rent!

 

Don’t marry anyone with debt or a credit score under 650. Sure, love is love, but if you love a deadbeat make sure they get the debt paid off before you marry. And don’t use your money to do it, just trust me. Remember all future credit decisions are based on both your information, so why make you’re sparkling if theirs is shit?

 

If you mess up and go into debt, don’t panic. Do not EVER go to a payday loan or auto title loan place. DO NOT. Go immediately to a debt councilor (most large cities have a free service) and follow their advice to the letter. They will guide you out, but you have to follow their advice.

 

ADULT ADVICE (30-50):

 

Married? Great. Not married? Great. Don’t go by anyone’s schedule but your own. Want to live forever with just your cats or dogs or lizards? Rock on, and enjoy having the whole bed to yourself and not owing you time to anyone but your boss and pet’s feeding/bathroom schedule. If you’re married, enjoy having more regular sex than your single friends but don’t force them to get married just so you can have double dates.

 

So you want to buy a house. Okay, if you’re sure. Go talk to a credit councilor or financial advisor first see if you can do it. Follow his/her advice to the letter and only buy what you can afford. Remember to bump up your emergency savings to cover 6 months of mortgage and the new, more expensive utilities.

 

Get to know your neighbors. You social circle is shrinking, fight it off. Share some of your hobbies with them!

 

Fight fair with your significant other. Never call them names or belittle them. If you start doing this, go back and read Dale Carnegie, asshole, you forgot too much.

 

If you’re going to have an affair, and 80% of people do, DO NOT LET YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER KNOW. It’s a bad idea, but if you must, do it with someone they do not know that is not a coworker of yours, and meet 20+ miles from your home. Use protection, doubly so (spermicidal condoms, birth control for her, and fun fact: those spermicidal inserts also work well as lube). Communicate with disposable emails, disposable cell phones, and keep it brief. Remember confessing it is usually to alleviate your guilt, not help your partner, so don’t do it unless you’re caught red handed. And if you’re caught, end it, commit to your significant others’ conditions for forgiveness.

 

If an affair is not brief and you find you love two people, go with the second or neither. The second because if you really loved the first there’d be no second. Neither because really, only an asshole does this, and you don’t deserve either one of them.

 

All right, you might decide to breed. Do yourself a favor: before you do go back to the credit councilor or financial advisor. Kids are expensive and you shouldn’t have one unless you’re emotionally and financially prepared.

 

Divorce happens. Keep in touch with friends during marriage and if divorce happens have a divorce party. Go nuts for a little while with casual sex, then ease back into dating. Don’t let it get you down. And if you have kids, don’t delay divorce for them. It doesn’t make anyone happy, least of all them. But if you have kids, remember they come before your good time.

 

Keep saving for retirement. If you ever are unemployed, treat finding a new job as a part time job. Get unemployment, go one food stamps if you have to. No shame. Use your emergency fund sparingly and never dip into your 401k. Never spend more on credit cards than you can pay off the following month. And that hobby you have that can make money? It’ll come in real handy now.

 

If you have kids, try to raise them with these same principles.

 

Talk to your parents about their  plans for when they pass. Have they made funeral arrangements? Do they have a will and a living will? Do they have any debt? Make sure your siblings are on the same page. About the only two things that can split siblings forever is stealing a lover or fighting over an inheritance.

 

 

Since I’m at 34 at time of writing this, I can’t go on much more, as I’m still learning.  But the more I notice the world on a slow slide to hell, these seem to be some of the most major issues. I’d love to rant about more, but these are just the areas I know I’m not just condemning a situation but offering to help.

 

This does really apply to Americans. For non-Americans this might help you to understand why America is in such piss-poor shape.

 

And of course, I might add, read. Always read. Never stop reading.  Even if you desire to be a bimbo fashinista or a frat bro, read in private where your friends can’t see. Reading is how you stay alive, keep your mind exercised, and learn the truth. It is a sacred duty as a human to yourself and the world around you. SO READ!