If only I knew

This is an unsolicited letter written by my current self to my self at age eighteen. Feel free to share with young adults in your life if you dare.

Dear Younger David:

This is your future self coming back to give you some advice.  Yes, those science fiction movies are true and time travel is totally achievable. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you 7 things that may help you…

You are not as cool as you think you are.  It’s good to be confident, but you are not really God’s gift to the ladies. Skinny leather ties will eventually go out of style. And that hot rod car you drive can actually be pretty loud and annoying.

You are not as dorky as you think you are.  All those times you feel like you don’t fit in, you actually fit in just fine.  It’s alright to be you and not try to live up to someone else’s expectations.  Your best friends will find you accidentally, and stay with you intentionally.

Remember the teachers you like.  They are connecting with you in the way you like to learn. Seek out more mentors like them throughout your life.  Forget the teachers you don’t like, especially the ones who seem like they don’t care about your success.  Their real value is in teaching you what not to do.

All your friends do NOT have a clear plan for their lives. Sometimes, it seems like you are the only one who doesn’t know exactly what you want to do in your career, but trust me… most of your friends are as confused and uncertain as you are.  Go ahead and pursue what feels right.  It’s OK to start humbly at the bottom, as learning the business from the ground up will make you a better leader someday.

Do not fear change.  The biggest changes in your life will lead to some of the biggest leaps in learning and growth.  The pace of change will get faster, not slower, as you get older.  Therefore, your ability to adapt is really your most important skill.

Keep in touch with your friends.  There are people in your life right now who will still be there for you three decades later.  Some of them you will rediscover through a thing called Facebook.  It’s like the Purdue Freshman Registry but searchable on the Inter….oh never mind. Just trust me on this one.

You’ll turn out just fine.  In spite of all the mistakes you make, and all the trials you live through, you end up being a pretty decent human being.  You will love and be loved; you will leave a legacy with your children; and you will never stop chasing the meaning of life. 

One more thing – you will write a letter to your eighteen-year-old self someday.  And it will be pretty solid advice.


Older David

P.S. Apple stock eventually makes a huge comeback, and the Buffalo Bills will lose 4 Super Bowls. Bet accordingly.

Explore posts in the same categories: Motivation

20 Comments on “If only I knew”

  1. Stacey Says:

    Wow – look at that hair! 😀

    Love the blog, David. Love it. Perfect thoughts for the upcoming graduating class as well… perspective shifts. And with age comes wisdom.

    More importantly, what was important then won’t be important now. And what we seem to place importance on now … isn’t actually as important as the stuff we learned as little kids.

    One of my favorite books is Robert Fulgum’s “All I Really Need To Know, I Learned in Kindergarten” seems appropriate…..

    All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.
    These are the things I learned:

    Share everything.
    Play fair.
    Don’t hit people.
    Put things back where you found them.
    Clean up your own mess.
    Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
    Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
    Wash your hands before you eat.
    Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
    Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
    Take a nap every afternoon.
    When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
    Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
    Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
    And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

    Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

    Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

    And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

    • davidgoad Says:

      I listened to this book on audio Stacey. And it really was excellent in its simplicity!!

  2. Jeff Bagby Says:

    Very nicely done!

    ……from three decades ago.

  3. Kristie Says:

    Seek out the company of those who motivate, inspire or encourage you. Learn from them and pass on what you’ve learned to others in need of postive reinforcement. If you are being bullied, don’t feel like you need to endure it alone. Look for a trusted person to confide in to help you overcome the devious behavior of the bully. You will learn from this experience and actually become a stronger person who has compassion and the ability to guide others in similar circumstances.

  4. Julie DuVal Says:

    Thank you Dave. We met when we were 18 and memories at Purdue with you are still firmly planted in my brain. Some of the most fun I had while going to Purdue and you remain in my heart as one of my dearest, most important friends that I had in my life. I will print this blog and have my son Clay read it – even though he just finished his freshman year of high school. Still appropriate.

  5. Gus Says:

    Beautiful man, simply Beautiful! toti

  6. Karen Says:

    Yes, another good read… and good reminder! Cute photo David!

  7. Sinde Says:

    Skinny leather ties will eventually go out of style, but they’ll probably come back around to be very cool again, If you hang onto it, while you wait, it will be the coolest thing your son will wear to “80’s Day” at school.

    • davidgoad Says:

      So funny Sinde! I did hang on to them and my son DID wear them as part of a costume.

  8. Beidler Says:

    Great theme. It gave me a “back to the future” moment, didn’t Micheal J. Fox wear a similar tie in the movie? You forgot to include hod rod and stock picks 😉 Thanks for sharing again.

  9. Bo Bidanian Says:

    Great stuff!

  10. VK Bussen Says:

    Amazing advice. I loved it, David… I still have a picture of you like that one by the way. Smiling,giggling, remembering and sighing (knowingly) all the way through this one. Geeez.

    • davidgoad Says:

      Thanks VK 🙂 I’m not afraid of old pictures of me if you want to share that one…

  11. Jeff Goad Says:

    David was really a “justin Bieber” of the early 80’s on the hair front, except he couldn’t sing. But the ladies did mob to his DJ booth like a “pied piper” of the turntables!
    You’ve aged quite well young weedhopper! Keep up the good work!

    Your bro,

  12. Jeff Goad Says:

    Total compliment!

    Your popularity with the turntables then, is the equivalent of having thousands of facebook/ twitter followers! How many times did I attempt to come deliver a message to you in the D.J. booth from Randy or Jim, only to encounter a line down the steps and around the booth of giggling girls waiting to give you their song request! You had the gift then and have just elevated it to a polished media. To quote and slightly twist a line from a Sally Fields movie…”People like you! They really really like you!”

    You have the gift!

  13. Jan Sysmans Says:

    This is a great letter. I need to write one to myself as well and then pass it on to my kids….

  14. Nora Says:

    I have vivid evenings of that evening. Laughing with friends and hearing music and knowing that life was good. It’s amazing that those time wind up holding the better memories than graduation day or the prom.

    I’m glad we’re still sitting on [virtual] lawn chairs next to each other.

    • davidgoad Says:

      So true. The formative years were so… formative 🙂 Sorry to cut you out of the picture above. I didn’t want the paparazzi asking questions.

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