[Other] Write your past self a letter.

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I get kind of nostalgic when I am bored and have too much time to think. At those times I sometimes let my thoughts wander to the "If I knew then" area of reminiscing. So for once I decided to actually sit down and put on paper (so to speak) things I wish I had told myself when I was 18.

Feel free to join in or speculate on what kind of crap happened to prompt some of this.

Spoilered for length.

Dear David,

I am you at age 33. I am here to tell you life is not as bad as you think it is. There will be ups and downs but over all things will be somewhat better. I am violating causality and giving you hints on how to progress in the future. I doubt our life is significant enough to be considered a fixed point in time so perhaps we will be able, working together, to create that better world. One that I have no place in but perhaps you will find a greater measure of satisfaction in.

Firstly, that oh-so-mysterious activity that your hormonal teenage mind wanders off too when you watch Troi and Crusher on Star Trek...is not what life is all about. Don't let the pursuit of that lead you to poor choices. It isn't all that wonderful anyway.

Secondly, David is your slave name. Bear is your name. It is different and endearing to the people who will really come to matter in your life by the time you reach my chronal frame of reference.

Thirdly, realize you won't have your grandparents forever. Have Grandma teach you to cook while you can, Mom can almost but not quite match it. Your last week of high-school go in to Grandpa's workshop every day and have him put you to work. Do this without complaint. It will not prevent the inevitable but perhaps it will give you one more day. Trust me, one more day would mean the world to you at this point.

Now those are the big three Bear, you are going by Bear at this point right? Beyond here is some more general advice. To say more risks watering down what you have to do, growing up.

First, don't be arrogant. Learn to be humble. The sooner you learn this lesson the happier your life becomes.

Don't make up stories about your life to impress people. It doesn't make you seem hip or cool, it makes you seem lame. Once you start being honest about how sheltered your life has been and how unwise to the ways of the world you are you suddenly find out who is and is not worth being around. Believe it or not your naivety isn't much of a curse, you are a pretty good judge of character.

Work your ass off for Ron. He is a dick and a half but he gives your first real job and cuts you way more slack than you think. Earn that trust.

Invest in a small company called "Google".

Redheads are nothing but trouble.

Blondes too.

Avoid women on heavy psychiatric meds.

He thinks you are gay and in to him. That is why he invites you to that club with the cool techno music. Handle it better than you did.

Your beer of choice is Smithwicks. I just saved you 15 years of beer tasting.

You like Absinthe, Spiced Rum, and Liqueurs. Avoid tequila. Seriously, fuck tequila.

Cats bring you joy.

Don't hang out with the "sandbox" group. They don't mesh with your roleplaying style and you eventually start acting like a dick.

When people wrong you don't just claim the moral high ground, take it. It took you too long to learn the difference.

Don't marry her.

Don't plan to enjoy Christmas again. Ever.

At least by the time you catch up to my local time frame you will have not lost touch with anyone who matters. Don't angst over the ones you have lost touch with. People come and go. It's life.

Stop drinking sodas. Otherwise in 2012 a doctor will tell you things you don't want to hear.

Visit the zoo more often. It is great exercise and you never tired of looking at the bears and the cats.

Take up miniature painting while your eyes are still good. It puts you in a zen state.

Read Batman, Green Lantern, and Deadpool. You will not regret this.

When he offers to sell you that Jericho for $300 take him up on the offer. You will feel stupid later for not.

Trust the crazy man in the blue box.

Your favorite music is by Rob Zombie, AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Lorena McKennit. I just saved you years of figuring out what music you like.

Manic pixie dream girls are a waste of your time.

That is about the best advice I can give you Bear. If a higher power wills it and the currents of space and time flow properly, maybe it will find it's way to you. Perhaps in this vast multiverse we have created a branching timeline where things got better faster. Who knows. Anything is possible.

Be righteous young Bear.

-Old Bear
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Dear Past Bhamv,

Please put down that bacon sandwich and stop ruining my health.

Future Bhamv
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It is not well written, but basically I don't have much to say to myself but to try my best to deal with feeling depressed and alone.
Dear Younger Bones, or as you are called at the moment, Leaf the Dark Ninja of Love. The man you aspire to be, this character you have built called Leaf, This man of power and justice, a righteous soldier of some sort. This man is a good baseline, but remember that being cool is overrated, don't fall in love and don't be fooled by its allure. You will achieve your goals despite the crushing feeling that your death lies just ahead every day. You will become better than Leaf, you will become Bones, the real you, the you worth being, some advice on growing up, The one year stint with that long distance relationship is going to haunt you, BELIEVE ME I KNOW! The man you become who is me, when everything falls away is a broken neurotic mess. That is to say when all your so called friends show their true colors and put their daggers in your back and laugh as you lay on the ground bleeding out, try not to let it define your existence like it has for me. People are assholes and are transient in how they perceive you so don't become attached. You are alone, I hope this changes for both of us, but right now it seems you were not wrong to feel like you do not belong in this world, I wish I had good news, but even now 10 years later I still feel like I shouldn't be here...pretty sure now that we are afflicted with the family curse of mental illness and these feelings are a product of that, really sorry. The current nickname is a joke that took on a life of its own, You will think its dumb but roll with it, the people that call you by your true name who are not mom and dad will not be the kind of people you want to be friends with. Try to always keep moving forward and trying new things, I want you to be defined by the things you learn and try, not the people you hang out with, they are almost all jerks. The only real advice I have for you is that being an outcast everywhere you go is not going away, try to embrace that you are unique and that you will never be classifiable. Have as much fun as you can and just keep plugging away at your school and work. You are awesome and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, people will be hardest on you because they will expect the most of you this is a good thing but don't let what others say to you eat at you. This fact has taken me years to come to terms with, even now I feel depressed, but I know it is just a feeling. I believe in you, seriously, you are a good kid and while you took awhile to get going its okay, just do your best.
Dear 18 year old Charlie Don't Surf,

Go to the doctor for that cyst before you're off your parents' insurance.

Also, don't vote libertarian, you fucking shmuck.
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A very simple one:

Don't date that crazy bitch, she's going to get pregnant on purpose and ruin your chances at a solid future. Finish high school and go to college. Get a career before having kids. Tell your sister that her idea is going to ruin her life for a very long time and should instead wait just a little bit longer.
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Dear Past Wasabi -

Just don't. Seriously. You're better than that and you know it.
That casino job? Get out of there! Run, don't walk. There is a reason why your shoulders reach your ears every night when you walk into the building.
Go back to college. Study what you WANT, not what you think is practical or more useful. You need to do what you love, not what you think is going to mean a better job.
Keep writing. Even if you never sell a novel it is something you enjoy.
When your best male friend says he misses you, and you hear in his voice that it is more than that, tell him how you feel, too. Being aloof will make you lose him completely and you'll sound desperate when you tell him how much you love him while attempting to salvage what's left of the friendship.
Lastly, hug your grandmother more because she's right -- you will miss her one day.


Staff member
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Dear Dave,

Remember all those times Dad took you to work with him and tried to teach you shit? I know it's hard and a little boring and you don't see that much use in it, but shut the fuck up and listen to the guy. You'll forever regret it if you don't.

You will have a choice right out of high school to either go to college or the Marine Corps. I honestly can't tell you which I would do if I could do it all again. I chose the Marines and although I regret not going to school, I learned some valuable things. I eventually did get my degrees, but now am burdened with massive student loan debt. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

Don't let Nick come anywhere near your car. He sells it and pockets the money. Dick.

Brush your fucking teeth better. It's the one thing about myself I wish I could easily change.

I've never drank or smoked and haven't regretted it. When all the "cool" kids in high school are doing this, remember that most of them have never left the state. I've been around the world.

Patti's gonna break your heart. That's okay because it leads you to where I am today. Some lessons have to be painful to be effective.

John turns out to be a dick. But stay friend with him as he introduces you to Don, who becomes a friend for life.

Apple, Google, Yahoo. These names don't mean much right now, but buy stock in them when you get the chance. As much as possible.

Open that business you have the idea for. The one about being able to test computer games. It'll be big for about 10 years and then the business model will flop. Make it big and sell it.

There is no God. You realize that. I know right now you are religious, but you get better.
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Dear MindApprentice,

I know you're lonely sometimes and you have big aspirations. You might not turn the world on its head but stay the course. You're doing just fine.

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Dear Gared,

Stop smoking now while it's easy - you've already made friends with the other smokers and they're not going to snub you just because you quit. And for cryin' out loud, save some damn money once in a while. We're sick of being broke.


Staff member
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Dear Dark Scorpion -

Stop calling yourself Dark Scorpion, it sounds emo and asinine, no matter what your BBS friends say. Your name is now Gas Bandit. Forget about the cute chick in English class, it doesn't work out and totally isn't worth it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself about what happened to Mom - it was her fault, not yours. There's a company coming soon called "Google." Make sure you get in on the ground floor. If you can't, buy ALL THE GOLD YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON. Between the time of you reading this and the time I'm writing this, it goes up in value almost 1000%.

Now, the good news - keep on going with the computer thing, you're on the right track.
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Dear LittlerSin,

It seems horrible to say but Mom is going to die, you'll be sad and you'll come out stronger and perhaps a little bit more mature then some of your friends. Dad is going to get in with an awful woman. She'll hurt you. Don't be afraid to call the cops and tell people when it happens. It doesn't make you weak and Dad will still love you...he's human and the means he needs some help as well.

Gerry will be the friend you need but cut it off before 10th grade. He changes and starts getting vindictive to a nigh psychopathic extent. You probably won't be surprised to find out that he is gay so quit the crush bull shit right now.

Go to art school, no matter what Dad says. You will regret not going, Dad will regret not being more supportive.

That said, not going results in you getting hitched and having a baby. The kid is awesome. You'll love him and feel guilty when you think of "what could have been" and write letters to yourself. Deal with it.

Oh yeh, buy into the January 2008 lottery with your usual numbers. You will regret it forever when you don't.

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Dear 17-year-old IronBrig4,

When a girl asks if you're going with to prom with anybody, she's trying to get you to ask her. Don't be a moron.

You will be spending your undergrad years just two blocks away from a gym. Use it. It took me years to burn off the fat you're about to put on.

When you start college, you'll be living with people who seriously want to be your friend. There will also be some girls who are interested in you. Don't spend your freshman year playing on your computer. Nobody cares about your kill ratio in Delta Force.

You will have the occasional falling-out with people. Life is like that sometimes. Whatever you do, don't go the extra step and say something that you know will hurt them. You might win the argument. Maybe they deserve it. You might even feel good afterwards. Eventually, however, the adrenaline will wear off and you'll feel pretty bad.

Get some comfortable hiking boots and make sure your passport's up to date. You're going to travel a lot.
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To: jwhouk@execpc.com (1994)
From: jwhouk@halforums.com (2012)

A few things:
  1. Seriously - start watching what you eat and start walking/exercising more. It ain't gonna help if you don't when you get to my age. As much as it'll make you feel better that you got to 45 intact, don't take it for granted.
  2. Pay better attention to your wife. She's gonna stick with you through all your screw-ups, but you need to put more in without expecting what you are.
  3. Do NOT go to that IRC server. You will end up regretting it. See #2 as to why.
  4. TALK to your grandfather about his mother. No, not Grandma Elizabeth - his REAL mom. And ask him, "What's all this about trunks?"
  5. Get the #### out of Johnson Cottage. The place is going to be basically uninhabitable by 2012 - and not because it's been bombed or anything.
  6. Don't get out of Wales, though. You won't regret it, trust me.
  7. Get over it with your stepmom. She means everything to your dad.
  8. You're going to attend a major league All-Star Game in Milwaukee. There's gonna be a guy walking around, asking for votes to become county executive. Watch out for him. By the time you're my age, you'd be tempted to punch him square in the face.
  9. STOP USING THE DAMN CREDIT CARDS. You will regret it when your car does a repeat of what happened to your Hornet.
  10. There's an open field you drive past every day/night you go to work, there on highway DE. It will be important to you one day.
  11. Go wander over to your great Aunt Helen's place in Oconomowoc. TALK to her about her mother and that little farmhouse on School Section Lake. (Look up where School Section Lake is, if you have to.)
  12. Civil Air Patrol isn't really worth your time anymore. Take that time to spend it with your wife.
  13. Tell that idiot who was your best man that he needs to get his butt back to college and start saving money instead of spending it, because he won't always have his parents around to bail him out. And remind him to brush his #### teeth. Oh, and beware of Scottish hunchback women with dogs.
  14. Remember that trip to Nashville this summer? You saw that big hole in the ground downtown? Remember that place. You will come to love it, even though the reason why will stomp your heart on occasion. That idiot who owns Rainfair is going to be one reason why.
  15. Take more pictures of your family members, especially the older ones. And get over any issues you have with your aunt's family. They're your FAMILY.
  16. Next time you and the wife want to go camping, try this little state park up North in Lincoln County, called Council Grounds. File the place away in your memory banks.
  17. Tell your nieces and nephew that you love them all - no matter what. Especially Brit. And Adam.
  18. Don't bother with the stock market. You'd be better off going to Vegas. And I wouldn't suggest going to Vegas - unless it was to meet family.
  19. Seriously - STOP IT with the credit cards.
  20. Oh, and don't put political bumper stickers on your car.


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Dear Little Leslie,

You and I both know that it doesn't matter what I write here. You're going to do whatever you damn well please. Just try and be nicer to dad. He works hard, and home is the only place he can act like himself... even if "himself" is a bit annoying. He's just picking on you because he loves you--and he wants you to pick back instead of getting mad. You always take stuff too seriously. OH, and stop crying every afternoon about that one horrible girl. She never amounts to anything. Keep writing--even when it sounds stupid.

-Big Leslie
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1) Get in shape. Stay in shape. You have a god given natural talent with the potential to make you insanely filthy rich, but to cultivate it you're gonna need to put in some work. Run your laps. Run your foul lines. Run. There are a LOT fewer guys that look like Jose Canseco than Orel Hershiser. Oh, and on that note: if you DO make it, stay away from these things called steroids.
2) No, she doesn't
3) Don't do the summer camp thing in the Berkshires. It's not what your hoping for, & you'll have a miserable time.
4) Yes, she does
5) Don't waste your time on Kim, you'll keep yourself so pre-occupied trying to get out of the friend-zone, you'll completely miss out on #4
6) Don't do that summer school thing. You only end up making it worse.
7) Stay in school & finish. I know it will become tedious & a grind, but it will open up so many other options.
8) Apple, Google, Amazon.com. Get in early.
9) DON'T waste all your money in '89-'92 on baseball & football cards. No matter HOW shiny or "limited edition" they seem. The bottom will completely drop out of the collectible card market in a few years. If you must buy in some, remember some of the following - Ken Griffey Jr., Emmit Smith, Troy Aikman, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter.
10) Likewise, there will be a card game that comes out in 1993 called Magic: the Gathering. Find this early, the window will be small. Remember these cards names: Black Lotus, Mox, Time Walk, Ancestral Recall, Timetwister. Arabian Nights & Legends series will be valuable as well.
11) Be more confident in yourself. 95% of the time you are the smartest motherfucker in the room.

Keep in mind that some of these are conditional. If you do #1, then most of #2 - #6 won't matter.


Staff member
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Dear High School Bryan:

Your life goes pretty awesomely, I have to say. You, that is to say, we, are truly blessed with high luck stats in this world, so appreciate all of it.
That being said, here are a few things to look out for:

- Your Sonic the Hedgehog comics disappear one day, and no-one knows what happened to them. KEEP A TIGHT LOCK ON THAT SHIT. The storage building is not safe, that's where they were. Keep that storage tub in your room.

- You know how you think you can wear your contacts in overnight and it's okay because someone somewhere told you it was fine? Yeah, it isn't, you completely mess up your eyes, dog. But it's okay, because you look rockin' in glasses.

- You are currently trying to decide your stance on facial hair. You will not have decided in 8 years.

- Record everything you watch now, on VHS or DVR when that comes around, because you will nostalgia SO HARD for it later. You're going to want to have entire days recorded to watch.

- You're gonna find a weird looking mole on your shoulder. It's actually NOT malignant! Leave that shit alone, you got a nasty-ass scar now because you were responsible and went to the doctor.

- You're going to find a really awesome 1969 coin from Bermuda in a Sonic Drive-In parking lot, and it will blow your mind. Don't put it in your wallet, because it falls out at a Subway and you never find it again.

- Have you already ziplined into the spring yet? Because don't do that. It was out of your comfort zone anyway and you busted your eardrum for your efforts. It will make all future aquatic endeavors very problematic for you.

- You may be wondering if you do anything really dumb or bad while inebriated. Not yet, soldier, godspeed.

- I never got that future letter you sent me. I think the website service failed or something. But no, I never got with Kat. She's still cute though.

- And since I don't remember reading this, you probably never got this letter either. Time-travelling mail is difficult, huh.

That's all I can think of. Your life goes surprisingly well. But seriously, appreciate everything you've got. I think you did, but just in case.
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Dear High School Mickee,
Punch your brother in the gut. Trust me, I've talked to future Eddie and even he agrees past Eddie was a jerk. Also publish your damn comic all-ready so you don't feel insanely depressed that you haven't published it yet.
Love, Yourself.
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18-year-old Dave,

1. Yes, she left. Yes, it hurts like hell. But please, GET OVER IT! And for the love of God, don't EVER try to rekindle a romance with her! Trust me!

2. Take school more seriously and DON'T go to DeVry! You will be a terrible programmer, do something else! Preferably something more practical.

3. That numbness you're gonna get after helping Uncle Pep move when you're 25: GO TO DOCTOR'S HOSPITAL RIGHT AWAY! Not Emmanuel, because they will have NO clue what it is!

4. Cheer the fuck up! Everything is not as bad you think it is, the weight of the world is not on YOUR shoulders, and Mom and Dad love you no matter what so stop worrying about disappointing them!

5. Please start trying to get healthier NOW! It's going to help us in the long run and will be a lot easier than trying to do it later after you already are having issues.

You will be loved, you are not alone, and you can succeed. Have a little faith, okay?

- Older Dave
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Hey Jeff,
Yeah, don't change anything. It's because of those choices that I/We are who I/We are today.
She's still hot, you're still married to her. Enjoy the crap out of your child, she's pretty cool too.
Have fun, because you do even without money,
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Dear self,

Don't be polite on that flight last winter. Make that revolting guy move or be removed from the plane. You didn't realize it at the time but the injury to your arm was serious.
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Dear WillG circa 1988

Forget about what your family thought was a good career choice and academic move for you. Forget that they told you that you were not good enough at the things that fuelled your passion. Go out, work hard, explore the things that give you self pride and pleasure, and most of all, give your self the space to fuck things up a bit. You might have been told that a white collar is what you are destined for, but you will find that your abilities and determination means you can get your hands dirty, know your shit, and still make money in life, without stress killing you.

Oh, and explore the world, whatever it takes. Just for the hell of it. You will probably go hungry a few times doing so, but that is going to happen anyway in the path you will follow. Oh, and make sure you do not put on a veneer for the ladies, one day when you've snagged them, and return to your old habits (thanks to circumstance), you'll make them miserable.

Forget about Ecclesiastes, you'll find more wisdom from those who have weathered the storm, or a crowd of movie sheep who chant "Bar, Ram, Ewe, to thine own self be true".
Older, uglier, wiser Will
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