Our local alternative paper has a few cartoons featuring advice for 18-year-olds. I figure the time peg is sort of back-to-schoolish — college classes at most schools around here start Monday. Lots of us are writers here in this warm, loving space that is my blog that nobody but my friends reads, so we’ve seen several iterations of this story. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s maudlin. Sometimes it’s weirdly commercial. Now that I’m an old fart, I have come to like it — the comforting seasons of publishing for the masses.
Well, it’s far too late for me, and even my kids are over 18. But here’s my advice. Not that anyone asked.
Don’t be afraid.
Don’t hurt anyone on purpose.
Don’t smoke and stay the fuck away from heroin.
But most of all, don’t be afraid — especially of the flip advice that people you don’t know give you. Stupid tattoo? You are still worthy of love. Stupid haircut? Still worthy of love. Appalling taste in music? Totally lovable. Abortion? Love. Failed a class? Come here, let me hug you! $50,000 in credit card debt with only beer and cheeseburgers to show for it? Oh, honey, we’ll figure it out — let me rub your head.
Seriously, 18-year-olds — don’t be afraid. It’s not like we don’t all know that the world is terrifying. It’s just that fear doesn’t help you cope. And we love you. We really do, and we always always always will.