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Advice You Would Give to Your 12 Year-Old Self? 1642

Posted by Cliff
from the hindsight-is-20/20-but-you-already-knew-that dept.
urbazewski asks: "If you could send a message back to your nerdy unpopular 12 year old self, what would you say? I've been asking this one for several years, and the replies sound suspiciously like the lame advice I got from adults at that age ('just be yourself, dear'). The most creative answer was from an American-born Buddhist monk, who didn't think his 12 year old self would listen to a message along the lines of 'Hey, what you're doing is kind of making things suck for me right now' --- he would send a message to himself by adding extra lyrics to a song he really liked when he was in junior high school. I got the best replies from a large class at UC Santa Cruz. The modal answer was 'Buy Microsoft.' About 7% of the class said 'Enjoy yourself in high school because college is really hard.' Another 7% said "Study harder in high school because college is really hard.' (The best variant on that theme: 'Try to figure out what "studying" is'). In the hindsight-is-20/20 dept. there was a girl who said 'Do not date the following people...' and then listed six names and a guy who said 'You know how you're thinking about trying to drive your dad's car? Don't!.' My personal favorite: 'You're a dork now, but don't worry, you'll be cool when you're in college.'"
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Advice You Would Give to Your 12 Year-Old Self?

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  • hrm.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by kaoticus (138373) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:50PM (#5354141)
    Drugs are bad...mmmkay
  • advice (Score:5, Funny)

    by threedays (16600) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:51PM (#5354159)
    register slashdot.org
    • Re:advice (Score:5, Funny)

      by Illserve (56215) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:14PM (#5354596)
      What, for a $100 buyout?

      Cocacola.com would get you millions.

      nike.com

      reebok.com

      Disney.com

      just run down the Fortune 500 list back in 1991 and squat like a pro. Remember to put a "fan page" on each of them so the courts can't yank it.

      "This si my coca Cola page! I LOVE COKE!
      Herei s a pic of me drnking coke!!"

    • by sdjunky (586961) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:20PM (#5354671)
      I would tell myself to not register slashdot.org as doing so would mean there is no slashdot to ask this question and thus I couldn't have made the initial change thus causing a paradox.

      Oh... and stay away from the airport ( especially the guy with the blonde wig and sunglasses )

    • no no.. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Wakkow (52585) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:30PM (#5354802) Homepage
      goatse.cx .. Please young version of me, register that domain and save me from having an image imprinted on my mind forever.
    • by gosand (234100) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:35PM (#5354854)
      register slashdot.org

      To which 12yr old me would say:
      What the hell does register mean, and what is slashdot.org?

      33yroldme: It is a website
      12yroldme: What the hell is a website?
      33yroldme: You know the internet.
      12yroldme: What the hell is the internet?
      33yroldme: A bunch of computers hooked up together to share information.
      12yroldme: What the hell is a computer?
      33yroldme: You know, a personal computer.
      12yroldme: No, I have no idea what you are talking about.
      33yroldme: It is a screen, like a TV, and you can do all kinds of things on it, like playing games.
      12yroldme: Oh, in your house, like an Atari?
      33yroldme: Yeah, sort of, but they are all over the world too.
      12yroldme: Oh, you mean in the arcade like a Pac-Man machine? And that new game, Pole Position? That game is cool. It is so realistic! Or Joust, that game is fun because two people can play at once. I have only played it a couple of times because it is brand new. There is always a line for it.
      33yroldme: Dude, nevermind. Have fun.

      • by Cruciform (42896) on Friday February 21, 2003 @05:41PM (#5356183) Homepage
        12yroldme: What the hell is the internet?
        30yearoldme: It's kind of like a giant BBS, with unlimited porn.
        12yearoldme: Mind if I take notes?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:52PM (#5354170)
    "You know what, just forget it, you won't listen to anything i say anyway..."
  • by nanojath (265940) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:52PM (#5354177) Homepage Journal
    Kill Yourself Now.


    Yeah, that's right, kill yourself, you heard me.


    I want to find out if a fundamental paradox really causes the universe to end! I mean, suicide is not my bag, but if I had the chance to take all of you with me...

    • by Blue Stone (582566) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:30PM (#5354803) Homepage Journal
      Nah, the universe is fractal in nature, every choice branching off into multiple realities, ad infinitum.
      The you at age 12 would still exist, as one single event of a miltiple of you before you contacted yourself, none of which would be contacted.
      If you did take your own advice (and...would you? I mean I'd tell myself to go fuck myself, personally) then, the you after the point just before you contacted yourself would be wiped out, quite possibly, but the you before you were contacted would still exist, and without the you from the future of that line in time, to pass the fututre message, you wouldn't do it.
      In other words, you'd wipe out everything in one possible universe from the point of contact if you did commit suicide, but not before it, and it would still continue from the point where your message fails to appear as if nothing had happened, which of course is true unless you make the same decisions exactly as you did the first time round from that point onward, in that timeline, leading to you contacting yourself in the past, which is not guaranteed not least of which because of a universal cognisance of the event which took place leaving a dissonance in it's wake, spreading backward and outward, so that at least at some point you'd not comply, realising the stupidity of your behaviour and eventually boring yourself/ves of the repetition of the fundementally self-destructive non-beneficial act and get on with doing something more positive instead, tike putting the telly on or something.

      Possibly.
  • by Anik315 (585913) <anik@alphaco r . n et> on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:52PM (#5354178)
    Train your left hand for next year.
  • Easy! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot&monkelectric,com> on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:52PM (#5354179)
    Don't let Christy Wilson go :)
  • by Znonymous Coward (615009) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:52PM (#5354185) Journal
    Never turn down a chance to get laid.

    Oh, and buy Cisco stock in 1998 and sell it in Jan 2000.

    Period.

  • Hi.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:53PM (#5354187) Homepage Journal

    "Self, in 4 years you're going to meet a really nice girl at a party. This time guy some fucking condoms!"
  • Slashdot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gabeman-o (325552) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:53PM (#5354188)
    never visit slashdot.org... hardest addiction to break
  • easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by pizza_milkshake (580452) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:53PM (#5354194)
    don't waste your time reading slashdot; do something useful instead.
  • My favorite (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arvindn (542080) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:53PM (#5354195) Homepage Journal
    Mark Twain's quote [brainyquote.com]:
    I've never let my school interfere with my education.
  • get laid (Score:3, Funny)

    by chef_raekwon (411401) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:53PM (#5354197) Homepage
    don't pass up the best years of your life. get laid, over and over and over again. there will be time enough for slashdot/computers/programming when you're older and impotent.

    err, wait, not that this has happened to me....
  • Save! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sdo1 (213835) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:53PM (#5354201) Journal
    Start saving. Now. Put 15-20% of every penny your earn in the bank (or IRA, or other investments). You'll be debt free and have enough to retire on by the time you're 45.

    Sadly, I don't have a time machine, so I'm on the "work until I'm 65" route.

    -S
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:53PM (#5354202)
    if anybody even looks at you crosseyed, stick a knife in them right away, or word will get around that you're a patsy and it will take you a whole lifetime to live it down.
  • by ThousandStars (556222) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:53PM (#5354203) Homepage
    You're dumb, but that shouldn't be too surprising since you're 12. When you get the chance to enter a running start program as a sophomore, do it. With high school comes stupid heartache, and an early exit will save you lots of heartache.

    But, in order to accomplish that, you must ignore your evil best friend, Adam. He will bring you Warcraft II, which will consume an inordinate amount of your time and eventually lead you to Diablo and Starcraft. Which is like heroin to you.

    In summary: Get away from high school and addictive Blizzard products.
  • by flynt (248848) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:54PM (#5354206)
    Never, ever, ever click a goatse.cx link. That image will forever be burned on my retina...shudder....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:54PM (#5354211)
    ... you insensitive clod!
    • by ctimes2 (38940) on Friday February 21, 2003 @04:40PM (#5355564) Homepage
      Then pretend your me for a minute - when that red head in college promises to make you beg if you'll just stay the night, and you say you can't because your math final is at 9 am the next morning and it's your only chance to pass the class... stay the night man! You're going to sleep through your test anyway!

      *sigh* True story.
  • by Wrexs0ul (515885) <mmeier@rackninBLUEe.com minus berry> on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:54PM (#5354215) Homepage
    "Just do it. You know the smart thing to do and say, don't hold back."

    and: "Next Thursdays winning lotto numbers are:..."

    -Matt
    • by btellier (126120) <btellier&gmail,com> on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:54PM (#5355077)
      and: "Next Thursdays winning lotto numbers are:..."

      I read a study recently (I tried googling for it and couldn't find it) that basically tracked lottery winners over a five year period following their wins. It said that when they first recieved their money their overall happiness jumped a great deal, as described here [warwick.ac.uk]. It then tracked their happiness for the remaining five years.

      The interesting part is that almost uniformally every single winner's happiness receded back to what it was before they won. It seems that everyone has a "base happiness" that cannot be altered by material things in the long term. I believe that everyone needs enough money for sustenance and comfort, and after that it's all vanity.
  • by maddogsparky (202296) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:54PM (#5354216)
    Follow your dreams early in life...they are easier to achieve when you start earlier.

  • this one's easy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by liquidsin (398151) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:54PM (#5354225) Homepage
    Dear 12 year old me,

    Someday your mom is gonna want to "get rid of some of your old junk" by which she means baseball cards, your first gen Transformers, and probably those really nice old school metal Tonka trucks. Do NOT let her!

    Thanks,

    your 24 year old self
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:55PM (#5354227) Homepage
    Considering that I can't really remember much about being 12, even though I'm only 18 now, I'd probably tell myself to go do something interesting.

    Oh, and I'd probably tell myself to go on that bike ride with katie, she might be a bit wierd but she's also damn hot, and that kind of thing doesn't happen as often as TV makes you think it will.

  • Parents (Score:5, Funny)

    by citking (551907) <jay&citking,net> on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:55PM (#5354229) Homepage
    Dear Self: You know all those things that you're hiding from your parents (report cards, alcohol, drugs, women) so they won't find out? Well, they already know. Have a good day!
    • Re:Parents (Score:5, Insightful)

      by unicron (20286) <unicron AT thcnet DOT net> on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:30PM (#5354808) Homepage
      That kind of falls into what what I would tell myself:

      "This is going to scare the shit out of you, and you'll probably think I'm the devil himself for telling you this, but EVERYTHING your parents ever tell you to do or not do is dead on the money. Your problems are not completely unique, and your parents have been there and know the easiest way out. ALWAYS take their advice. You've gotta make your own mistakes, but you can avoid the truly bibilical fuck ups if you just listen to your folks."

      I can still remember the day this thought occured to me. I think I shuddered, fell out of my car, and went trembling into the fetal position.
      • Re:Parents (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TFloore (27278) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:52PM (#5355049)
        While I agree with this advice in many cases, there is one little annoyance with the advice:

        Until the thought occurs to you independently, you won't believe it anyway.

        It's wonderful to be one of those people that learns from other people mistakes, rather than taking the time to make them all yourself... but some things you seem to have to just figure out on your own.

        My advice would generally be more "do things" rather than "avoid things". Oh, and don't worry about looking stupid and feeling self-conscious, do it anyway. :)
  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:55PM (#5354235)
    1. Get in shape - I started lifting weights too late in life and ended up hurting myself.

    2. Invest in Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Cisco - 100 bucks in each company

    3. Learn spanish

    4. When you have that desire to drive 120 mph out on Highway 212 - don't, there might be a South Dakota Highway Patrolman there in the dark

    5. Take more math classes

    6. Take more automotive, welding and shop classes

    7. Work to get out of high school in 3 years.

    8. Girls come and go, don't get to wound up in a 17 year old chick

    9. Don't buy a bunch of tapes or CDs now, Napster will come along someday

  • Easy enough... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aiken_d (127097) <brooks&tangentry,com> on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:55PM (#5354236) Homepage
    "Skip the computers -- play some football or something. And start chasing the girls *now*."

    -b
  • that girl (Score:5, Funny)

    by milktoastman (572643) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:56PM (#5354243)
    Not to my 12 yr old self, but to my 17 yr old self I'd say: "you know that slutty girl who is trying to get on you but who you keep turning down because you think she might have something...well, she does in the future, but not now, so get it while the gettin's good!

    In all honesty, that's what I'd say. Rather shallow, I know.

  • Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScannerBoy (174488) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:56PM (#5354244) Homepage
    Hakunamatata....It doesn't matter, it's in the past.

    I am who I am today because of the trials and tribulations of "growing up." To make any changes to that would result in a completly different person.

    I needed to be a nerd in High School to learn self pride and relaince...I needed to get my heart broken once in college to learn my alcohol tolerances.. After that you pick up your pieces and move on to bigger and better things.

  • Advice.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by j_kenpo (571930) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:56PM (#5354258)
    1: Stay away from the girl up the street, she really is a tramp.

    2: Smoke more pot... or is that less

    3: Dont invest in Enron or Worldcom.

    Seriously, nothing. I didnt make bad choices nor do I regret anything Ive done (except maybe item number 1). Without the life experiences Ive had, I wouldnt be where I am today, which is to say maybe not all that wealthy, but definitly happy. Now if I could give all my knowledge to my 12 year old self it would be a different story...
  • by GreenJeepMan (398443) <josowski&tybio,com> on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:56PM (#5354263) Homepage Journal
    You shouldn't worry about what you could have done differently in the past. If you could send yourself a message and actually change something, there would be a whole new branch of problem and mistakes that you would most likely want to change again, and again... and again.

    If you don't like something about yourself, don't fret over it. Change it starting now.

    • by coyote-san (38515) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:14PM (#5354585)
      The point is usually to give advice to kids today, not to find some crazy professor and hit 88mph in his DeLorean. I didn't get much help from adults when I was a kid (and every year appreciate my scout master more and more), but maybe I can offer a bit to some today.
      • by SnowDog_2112 (23900) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:53PM (#5355072) Homepage
        Well, in that case, here's some advice.

        In another post I said I wouldn't change anything -- and I wouldn't. But these are things I'd give as advice to generic twelve year olds in a similar position to myself at that age -- a nerdy kid who gets picked on because he's poor, weak, nerdy, and in a fanatical religion.

        Become an independent thinker as soon as possible. A good part of your pain comes from the brainwashing of your religious youth. Read _Stranger in a Strange Land_ and _Job: A Comedy of Justice_ before you go to High School. I read them halfway through and they changed my life. Maybe reading them sooner would have prevented some high school pain.

        Don't just give your friendship to anybody who is willing to take it. There is a perceived solidarity among those who are downtrodden, but some of those people are real low-lifes and will try to drag you down. It's not really true that the enemy of your enemy is your friend. Pick your friends carefully -- they have a profound influence on you.

        Don't count on being lucky and not getting caught. There's nothing wrong with breaking some rules, but don't assume because you've never been caught you can't get caught. Don't get stupid. One mistake at the wrong time can change everything.

        Don't confuse your hormones with genuine affection. She's not perfect. She's probably not even perfect for you.

        Life is full of unique opportunities. You might die tomorrow. Take those opportunities when you can. Don't assume you're immortal and will have forever to chase those things down.
  • I'd say... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pVoid (607584) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:56PM (#5354265)
    First off, I'd tell myself to appreciate how worry free life can be when you have no bills to pay. I would tell myself to take advantage of that.

    Then I would say the people who were popular at high school weren't actually investing in a skill... And that it didn't matter if I sucked at something when I was 12, the fact that I would start that early would make me phenomenal by the time I was 18 (I distincly remember thinking I couldn't start playing guitar at 15 because I thought I was too old -- WHATEVER).

    Apart from that, any advice I'd have to give would be useless (regarding work and girls) because I really think I needed to go through all of that shit for myself - in any case, my father already told me what I would say now.

  • Relax a little (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unfortunateson (527551) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:57PM (#5354273) Journal
    Spend some of that money you're saving for college and do Spring Break right when you're a freshman or sophmore. You'll never get another chance.

    Or go to Europe right out of school. Screw that idea of a job right away. They can wait a couple months.
  • by MarvinMouse (323641) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:57PM (#5354278) Homepage Journal
    1. Most importantly, you are not always right, contrary to how you feel about most things. Make sure you research things thoroughly before you start to tell other people what you believe is right. There are many arguments you'll win and lose that you'll look back at and smack yourself for being such a wiseass, especially since you were completely wrong.

    2. Girls are not worth your time. They are fun while you have them but man you regret it when they are gone. Plus, after you have one, you're hooked.

    3. Go to Victoria School of Visual and Performing Arts as soon as you can. You'll be very happy there.

    4. Don't drop piano lessons. You'll regret it when all of your friends are cool pianists and you are just starting again.

    5. Listen to your father, play cards more often with your father, go out and play sports more with your father. When you leave for university, you'll really miss the few good times you did have with him.

    6. Save your money. Don't buy stuff on a whim, make sure you want it first. There are lots of stuff you'll think is cool to own, but later on you'll kick yourself for spending so much on it.

    7. Star Trek is not as cool as you think it is.

    8. Be nice to your sisters, especially Peggy. You may not approve of her ways, but you can learn a lot from her.

    9. Get rid of your damn huge glasses, and get smaller ones or contacts.

    10. Stop watching TV, if need be, just use the computer. Full House isn't that good of a series.

    11. Exercise more, or do more physical activity. It's worth it.

    12. Get involved in the community more. At Vic, get involved in the arts scene more. You'll miss it when you are gone.

    That should be enough I think.

    But most importantly.

    13. Don't fight all the time. You are not right 100% of the time, and it's not worth the stress of the arguments and the loss of friendships when you fight.

    That's about it. Plus, you know the usual. Invest in Microsoft, etc.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:57PM (#5354279) Homepage

    Because all adults will tell you is what they wished _they_ had done.
  • That's easy... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bmooney28 (537716) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:57PM (#5354281) Homepage
    Screw microsoft stock... I'd just tell my 12yr old self who won the major sporting events for the following few years... Money would compound exponentially... Oh.. possibly throw out the idea of patenting anything and everything related to "one click"...
  • by aborchers (471342) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:57PM (#5354287) Homepage Journal
    Given that, at 12, I was entering that period of life where I would do pretty much exactly the opposite of what anyone advised:

    1. Don't take algebra, there's no practical use for that stuff.

    2. Do all the cocaine you can get your hands on. The eighties will be much more fun that way...

    3. Rush out and get laid by the first girl who will do it.

    That's a pretty good start...

  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by citking (551907) <jay&citking,net> on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:57PM (#5354289) Homepage
    Dear Self:

    In the future, you are going to write to your nerdy, unpopular self.

    In the meantime, think of something witty, cuz this sucks!

    Later!

  • by markv242 (622209) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:58PM (#5354292)
    ...because in about 10 years, you're going to be incredibly disappointed.
  • by revision1_1 (69575) on Friday February 21, 2003 @02:59PM (#5354308) Homepage
    ...and don't sweat the breakup so much, because you end up marrying the next one. Everything turns out all right.

    (actually, this is to my 16-year-old self)

  • 12 is too young (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coyote-san (38515) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:00PM (#5354325)
    In many ways 12 is too young - the best advice in the world is worthless if you don't have the ability to do anything about it.

    But a few years later, I have some advice that I would give to my younger self - and that I'm still trying to follow past 40:

    1. it's far better to regret things that you've done than things that you didn't risk. (Okay, maybe this isn't the best advice for a teenager...)

    2. your PE teacher is an idiot, but time spent on physical fitness is not wasted. Get to the gym. Lift weights. Run. You'll get back the time spent today in increased productivity for years to come.
  • My Advice (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dr. Bent (533421) <ben@i[ ]com ['nt.' in gap]> on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:00PM (#5354334) Homepage
    FYI: Inflammable means flammable...
  • Take risks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Flamesplash (469287) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:04PM (#5354418) Homepage Journal
    I've learned that any embaressment incurred in Jr. High and High School don't really matter later on. So take the chance when you are afraid of being embaressed, in the long run you only have something to gain.
  • by digitalhermit (113459) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:05PM (#5354431) Homepage
    1) The nerdy girl in your morning science class is going to be beautiful at 22 when you run into her in college. The hot little girl in your homeroom will be neither.

    2) Don't, don't, don't think it'll be a good idea to use the dog clippers to trim the top of your head. You'll miss and need to make up some excuse that you were checking for 666.

    3) Don't use silicone spray to lubricate the lawnmower. The gases are very flammable and you'll singe your lungs.

    4) Have absolutely no moral dillemma about having fun with your girlfriend's hot little friend. Your girlfriend will dump you a week later for the SWAT sergeant.

    5) Late at night, when everything is dark, do not blindly drink from the 1/2 gallon plastic jug in the back of the fridge. It will *look* like lemonade, but....

    6) Have fun. Have lots of fun. Take lots of classes, even ones you don't need.
  • Hmm.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by FunkSoulBrother (140893) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:06PM (#5354445)
    I really think I'd just tease my 12 year old self who'd be sitting there playing NES, with fantastic tales of the Gamecube and PS2, and then disappear into the night.
  • Tamagotchi (Score:4, Funny)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [erauqssemitelcric]> on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:07PM (#5354472) Homepage Journal
    dear 12 year old self: just let it die [aol.com]
  • by serutan (259622) <.snoopdoug. .at. .geekazon.com.> on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:09PM (#5354510) Homepage
    and introduce him to girls and beer in high school. He'll never get anything done.
  • by LibertineR (591918) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:20PM (#5354676)
    1. Dont be nice to girls, they wont respect you and will sleep with men who are mean to you and tell you all about it, while never giving you any.

    2. Sleep with everything that moves, knowing that as you make more money, the women get prettier. If you dont like the girls who like you, make more money!

    3. STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! STUDY!

    4. Under no circumstances ever consider marriage unless you reach 30 and make less than 150K a year. If you are younger and/or make more, your options for trim are too good to settle for just one chick regardless of what you look like.

    5. Dont buy a Mac.

    6. Just because you will love Java, doesn't mean you can ever do anything productive with it. Stick with C++ and dont be afraid of garbage collection and pointers.

    7. Everyone you think is cool, will be washing your car, turning down your hotel bed, and bringing you meals in 20 years, if you refuse to be like them now.

    8. Those big tits you love so much right now, will be hanging around her navel in 25 years. Learn to like the flat girls.

    9. Once you make decent money, you will forget all that crap about the environment, compassion and helping others, so why waste your time now?

    10. Everyone does it, anyone who says they dont is lying.

  • by tongue (30814) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:21PM (#5354692) Homepage
    Hey, you know all those girls who think they're hot shit right now? in four years, they'll all be skanky sluts who still think they're hot shit--treat them like the skanks they are and they'll be putty in your hands. They'll stay that way until they're about 25. Then you can be nice to girls again.
  • by TheLoneGundam (615596) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:22PM (#5354716) Journal
    "here's how I invented the mechanism to send you a message back in time. It only works for a certain number of years in the past, though. I need you to send this info back to Grandpa, so that he will invent it, our corporation will patent it, and we'll rule the world!"
  • by scotay (195240) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:23PM (#5354719)
    Older people only appear to have their acts together.

    You won't be the first nerd to lose their virginity in their 20's.

    You are not as weird as you think you are.

    You are not as weird as Michael Jackson.
  • by shylock0 (561559) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:33PM (#5354829)
    I was so uncool when I was twelve, if I could go back in time I'd probably beat myself up...
  • Another challenge. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kingpin (40003) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:51PM (#5355044) Homepage

    What do you think you'd like your future self to tell you now?

  • by kfg (145172) on Friday February 21, 2003 @03:53PM (#5355066)
    Well, they're going to college too, on sports "scholarships". Get used to the idea now and when you get there you can skip the disappointment phase and enjoy your freshman year a lot more.

    If you do that you'll discover that college professors ( at least the good ones) aren't authority figures. They're actually *teachers,* and are quite willing to be your friend as well. Even when things get rocky. Find the good ones and cultivate them.

    You aren't really socially inept. You've matured early. This puts you about 20 to 30 years ahead of the curve. When you hit 40 or so people will suddenly think you're "cool" not because of any change in you, but because they've finally caught up. So don't sweat not fitting in with people who are, essentially, still savages.

    KFG
  • by jhines0042 (184217) on Friday February 21, 2003 @04:07PM (#5355229) Journal
    Learn to love who you are.

    If you are comfortable with yourself then you can be comfortable with other people.

    Treat yourself and others with respect.

    If you are comfortable with other people they will realize that you have it together and they will treat you with respect. People pick up easily on how others expect them to act... if you expect people to treat you with respect, chances are they will.

    Those that lose your respect, ignore. Not in the sense that you pretend they don't exist, just don't waste energy dealing with them. You have much better things to do with your time than be mad at other people. It usually doesn't accomplish anything except to raise your blood pressure and give you ulcers and heart attacks.

    Angry people are too focused on what is wrong and miss out on many things that are good. Don't be angry. If you need to work out some agression then get some exercise and think happy thoughts.

    If you make someones day better there is a good chance that they will make somebody elses day better and the world will get better bit by bit. If you go around making other people's days worse then eventually the whole world will be filled with angry people.

    One person can make a difference.
  • by xtermz (234073) on Friday February 21, 2003 @04:08PM (#5355244) Homepage Journal
    ....Because you can ruin them before you even knew what happened. And pester your parents to get you braces now, no matter how much you think they will hurt.

    Also....dont try to be cool. Dont change yourself to impress other people...
  • by Obiwan Kenobi (32807) <evan&misterorange,com> on Friday February 21, 2003 @04:25PM (#5355420) Homepage
    I know its easy to go the "+1 Funny" route here and tell everyone to get ready to jerk off a lot and buy stock in [some company that will explode with profits], but after thinking about this for awhile, I've deduced my advice to a sentence:

    Don't take shit.

    My life from 12-17 generally consisted of me putting up with bullying, putting up with being put down, putting up with people who had no business trying to tell me what to do, and even when they had that right, they did it all the wrong way. A little standing up for yourself goes a long way.

    What would I tell myself? When that bully picks on you, punch him in the face as hard as you can. Go Ender on him--don't stop until they pull you off of him. I guarantee that he'll never try it again, yet this amazing fact eluded me, and I just assumed that no matter what I did, and that included fighting back, that I would be stuck in my little hole of miserableness forever.

    Don't let your boss walk all over you. When I entered the "corporate world," also known as the Full Time Job, my little "Computer Operator" job got me nothing but headaches and more miserableness. Just when I thought I had escaped the clutches of bullies and put downs, here comes Office Politics to screw it all up again. Suddenly my boss would take credit for all my work and leave me hung out to dry when I made a mistake, holding myself up to the whole place as an example of How To Screw Up Rightly. The more I think about it, the more it hurts in the futility of it all.

    Did I ever finally grow some gumption and let it fly? Sure. But it was far too late. The damage had been done, and this fantastic article [paulgraham.com] rang so true my ears are still ringing. I told off my old boss, let the higher ups know what was going on, and moved on to greener pastures. I settled down, found a wonderful wife and now have a gorgeous 8 month old daughter who I value more than my own life. And I'll be sure to let her know, when she turns 12, that life isn't about the microcosm of high school, or the inmates, er, students in it.

    My greatest hope would be that my 12 year old self would be, at the very least, left alone. And that's more than most depressed, repressed teenagers get.
  • by Tim Doran (910) <timmydoran.rogers@com> on Friday February 21, 2003 @04:31PM (#5355471)
    ...watch for a site called 'slashdot' to appear.

    Register immediately. Get ID #001.

    Wait until 2003. Go to a site called 'ebay'. Sell [ebay.com] said slashdot ID. Let your mind boggle that you now have $81.

  • don't be a wimp (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dten (448141) on Friday February 21, 2003 @05:02PM (#5355773)
    1) Everyone has been, and will keep telling you, to turn the other cheek.
    Everyone is full of shit.
    Trust yourself and stand up for yourself--even if it gets you in trouble. Nobody else cares more about your life than they do about their own. Challenge everything, especially those who challenge you.

    2) Don't be afraid to piss people off.
    Not everyone understands the same concepts of right and wrong that you do; not everyone shares your goals or respects your rights to them. If you wait for handouts, you get leftovers; if you wait for respect, you get pity. Trust your heart to tell you what you want, and don't let other people's agendas impede your progress (this includes your family) (see #1).

    3) Everyone is bluffing. Nobody is really as cool or put-together or powerful as you think they are--or at the very least, you are a match for them. Never question your ability to compete.

    4) You should bluff, too. Act like you have a right to what you want, and people will believe you (most people don't realize #3). And if someone tries to call your bluff, never back down. Herein lies the power to do and be whatever you want in life. Try it, it works.

    5) Your parents are lousy role models or I wouldn't have to be telling you these things. You're going to have to go outside of your family to find the inspiration and support you need to be successful in life.
  • by Zerbey (15536) on Friday February 21, 2003 @05:21PM (#5355976) Homepage Journal
    Dear Chris,

    When you turn 19 you will, for some really stupid reason, decide that long hair is cool and looks good on you.

    It doesn't. Your passport photo is an embarassment that you will live with for 10 years.
  • College advice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tgibbs (83782) on Friday February 21, 2003 @06:20PM (#5356642)
    1. Don't take easy courses. You're paying those guys to teach you stuff; don't waste your time and money having them help you learn stuff you could learn easily enough on your own.

    2. In college, don't major in what you think you want to do as a career. Major in something different that is peripherally related to what you think you want to do (and preferably harder, see #1). That way, when you eventually get around to what you really want to do, you'll already know a bunch of stuff that most people in that field don't know, and you'll pick up the stuff that everybody knows easily enough.
  • by CleverNickName (129189) <wil@wilwhea[ ].net ['ton' in gap]> on Friday February 21, 2003 @06:49PM (#5356894) Homepage Journal
    Dear 12 year-old self,

    Your life is about to be forever changed. You don't know it now, but in three years, you're going to be in millions of households world-wide.

    Everywhere you go, people are going to scream at you that they hate you. Listen to this advice, 12 year-old self, because I know that nobody else is going to give it to you: whatever you do,don't listen to them, and let them define your sense of self-worth. It's going to hurt, a lot. You won't understand it, and you'll try really hard to convince them otherwise, but they will not listen . . . because they're just as insecure and confused as you are right now. You're going to want to quit the show, but if you do, you'll be 30 before you stop regretting it. Trust me on this one.

    Stay on that show until it's over, and when you're older, you'll realize that for every person who screamed "I hate you," there is another who was quietly inspired by something you did. It all balances out, kid.

    You are never going to be cool, no matter how hard you try, so save yourself the agony of trying to fit in. You end up marrying a real hottie who loves your inner geek.

    And register wilwheaton.com before someone else picks it up.

    OH! And when you're 22, and you're in a bar in New York, just say, "No, thank you." You'll understand why when the time comes.
  • Way Back (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djmoore (133520) on Friday February 21, 2003 @07:54PM (#5357409) Homepage
    Also buy Compaq and Cisco. No, none of these companies exist yet, but watch for them. And plastics, don't forget plastics; Dow, DuPont, 3M, and Monsanto exist now. Starve if you have to. Re-invest the interest. [Hey, everybody gives this advice because it's good advice.]

    *sigh* Ask Dad.

    We have great parents, by the way. Listen to what they say. Be nice to them. Don't stop hugging them, ever, or you'll forget how.

    You oblivious dork, Dad has a stack of Playboys, somewhere. Find them. One or two off the bottom, now and then, won't be noticed, or at least admitted to. Don't dink around with the National Geographics; go for the gold.

    Anything that seems at all cool now, books, magazines, comics, toys, whatever, buy one to use and one to save. Don't even take the saved one out of the box or wrapper.

    No, the Playboys aren't worth saving. Dispose of them discreetly, or give them back. Unwrinkled, untorn, certainly unstained.

    You're a goof. Goof is good, folks like being entertained, but avoid weird.

    Those cool books in the school library about chemistry magic with all the fireworks recipes? Steal them now. (One at a time, and leave another, similar book from Adam's Used Books on the table so you won't be noticed.) The librarians will throw them out within three years anyway, to keep them out of the hands of budding revolutionaries. Don't make a habit of this, but those three are worth the risk and guilt, and you will use them for good, not evil.

    That stupid idea about using computers for animation? Not stupid.

    But learn to draw first. You actually have a talent for it. Draw at least one picture every day. Start today.

    History is cool.

    Your textbooks are gap-filled, error-ridden and often lie outright; embarrass your teachers.

    Hey, George Washington grew pot! The Constitution is written on hemp paper! Honest! Look it up!

    Never, ever, stand by and let someone else get hazed or belittled.

    Hit bullies back. Hard.

    Learn to shoot.

    Dump the dorky book bag and get a good briefcase.

    Dump the slide rule; it will be utterly obsolete by the time you really need it. No, I swear. See the notes above about collectibles.

    Dump the cheap polyester pants and shirts too. Admit it, you do know what looks good. Nothing to be ashamed of.

    Get a haircut. Carry a comb. Your hair will never be neat, but you can keep it from getting all ratty and tangled.

    Read the top of the mayonaise jar: KEEP COOL BUT DON'T FREEZE. Nevertheless:

    Be bold with girls.

    Know what color her eyes are before you speak to her the first time. Occasionally, drop a hint that shows you are paying attention: a favorite color, a favorite flower, a favorite song. No, don't make them yours. Just be sure she knows you are noticing hers. This will be hard for you, I know. Practice casually, so that you will be ready when you meet HER.

    When you touch her, be certain that when she looks at you, you are staring straight into her eyes. Mean it. Don't flinch.

    These can't be your only tricks. Think of others. And they're not tricks. Once again, mean it.

    Never blame on malice what can be attributed to stupidity.

    Take risks in public, but think them through and practice privately first, if possible. For really risky stuff, have a trusted buddy standing by when you practice.

    When you are the trusted buddy, and things go badly, stick it out, stand by your man, take your lumps along with his.

    Above all, remember: EVERYBODY MAKES MISTAKES. HORRIBLE ONES. They are too wrapped up in their own to worry much about yours. You are free.

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