A Letter to My 14-Year-Old Self

Hey,

Congrats on being the smartest kid in 8th grade – you’ll be second best from here on out. In 12 years your life is going to be so different. On the bright side, you have a cool job making good money. You live near Charlotte, believe it or not, and you play a lot of softball – really, almost too much. And guess what? You’ve published two books. Crazy right? Especially considering how much you don’t actually like reading. Granted, there are maybe 3 people outside of your family that cares, but still. It’s an accomplishment.

However, not everything is so great. I want to give you some warnings so that you can set yourself up for the best life possible.

For starters, change high schools.

Seriously. Get out while you can. Mom and Dad probably won’t send you to a public school, but anywhere will be better than where you are now. Trust me. You can get scholarships, and maybe even college credits so that you can graduate college in 5 years (you’re going to get your master’s). If you spend the next 4 years where you are now, you’re going to grow up weird. You’re going to be uncomfortable around a lot of things and you’re going to be so different from everyone else that you’re going to stand out a lot – and I know how much you hate standing out in the crowd.

Granted, going to a different Christian school may not help a lot, but at least there you won’t nearly get suspended over MySpace (it happens, trust me) and you won’t get constantly berated for being a terrible person. But I know how hard it is for you to make friends and interact with people, and unfortunately that doesn’t get better. In 12 years you’re still going to be shy, quiet, and awkward. Sorry. I also know how stubborn you are so if you choose to stay in the same school, please, please, please for the love of God heed these warnings.

  • Go back to playing baseball.

I know you got burned out by it because the people around you were mean and didn’t really accept you, but you’re also kind of a weird, chubby pansy, so it’s a little bit you’re fault. However, if you start back playing in your freshman year rather than your sophomore year, you might be able to get good enough to really impress the scouts. Look into playing Junior Legion, too. Yes you’re going to be playing with a bunch of public school kids that you’ll probably have nothing in common with, but you need to extend your network of friends because by the time you graduate high school, you’ll only really talk to 1 person that you graduate with.

That being said, don’t overexert yourself. Yes, most of your teammates are going to suck, but don’t try to carry the team on your own. In your junior year, you’re going to tear the UCL in your elbow – Tommy John stuff – and no one is going to pay for surgery and you’ll never be the same. Just play ball and enjoy the game because the time will run out if you don’t.

  • Get in the gym.

Right now all your baby fat just burned off and you’re as skinny as you will ever be (and in all honesty you’re still a bit frumpy). I’ve been exercising for 5 years and I’m still not as fit and thin as you are right now. So get started now. Create good habits now. You don’t have to cut out all the food you love, but you don’t need to eat chips and drink a billion sodas every week. You have all afternoon to yourself because you’re awesome enough to get your homework done at school, so go to the gym. Mom and Dad will probably get you a membership so you can go every day after school.

I know how timid you are, but trust me, there’s hardly anyone at the gym at 3pm on a weekday. And those that are don’t care about what you’re doing. Just start lifting weights and working out for about 45 minutes every day. It will make a world of difference. You’ll feel better. Your mood will be better. You’ll look better (and we both know we need all the help we can get there). Please trust me on this.

  • Avoid relationships.

Yes, some high school sweethearts get married, but you won’t. Don’t even try. In fact, in 12 years you’re going to be the only straight guy (Yep!) out of your graduating class who isn’t married or on the track to get married – even most of the girls are already married by now. And I know you want to, but you’re going to put a lot of emotion, time, and money into it and it’s going to destroy your life. If you don’t listen to anything else I say, please listen to this. Wait until you go to college. Do college things. Meet college people. It will be better. Literally everything you think about the real world based on what you will be taught in high school is wrong.

Instead, spend time hanging out with your friends or going to the gym or practicing music. Whatever you do, please understand that the notion of being in a relationship at this point in your life is overrated. I’ve spent the last 5 years trying to fix the mistakes you made. Yes, you messed up that much.

Oh, by the way, you now own like, 10 pairs of shoes. And you wear all of them. I don’t know what happened there.

Also, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re bald. It isn’t because of anything you did – it’s just genetics. Sorry. But at least your beard is cool.

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