I was thinking the other night about being 11 years old, and being afraid of my place in the world. I was kind of awkward, super skinny, a little too smart for my own good, and yet not really committed to anything because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I felt like I was in a holding pattern, and one thing that really makes me antsy is being stuck in a state of limbo. I’m not the kind of person who just “enjoys the down time” of routine. I need things to change.
I thought about what I would say to 11 year old me. How could I help him become the best me that I could be? What advice could I give him that I wish had been given to me back then? What could I say to him to reassure him that in the future, things are pretty kick-ass?
I think it would go something like this:
Draw. Every day. Draw whatever makes you happy. You are really good for 11, and you’re going to get better.
You grow into your teeth.
Play guitar more. It’s one of the skills that if you keep up with will make you happy. Also, that teacher sucks. Tell your mom you want a new one. You want to play rock and roll, not classical. Tell him to teach you chord progression, or get the heck away.
All that stuff that dad said would “put hair on your chest”? It worked. You shave it now.
Love comics and don’t worry about who knows about your love. You’ll work in a comics store, you’ll own a comics store, and comics will pay for your first motorcycle, your first car, trips to Vegas, finishing your basement, and loads more stuff. Pages of comic art will hang on your office wall, and your son will have pages on his wall. Oh, and you’ve got a kick assed tattoo inspired by comics.
Yeah, you’ve got tattoos, and you want to get more. Tattoos are cool.
In the future, comics are cool. The #1 and #2 movies this summer are Avengers and Batman. I just blew your mind didn’t I? Plus they make Superman II look like a kindergarden talent show. There’s a Batman movie coming out in about seven years. Enjoy it. The ones that come out when you’re in your 40’s are better.
See that computer in the corner of class? One day you’re better on it than anyone else in your class. Well, maybe except for Jeremy. He works for a video game company now. In Montreal. London is a video game hub.
You do most of your computing on a device you keep in your pocket, they call it a “cell phone”, but it looks more like a pack of cards than a phone. You read books, comics, magazines, watch TV shows and movies on a device about the size of a comic book, which has more computing power than the most powerful computer on the planet in 1982.
Your parents are pretty frigging great. Love them and don’t give them attitude. They know best (although your dad can be a bone head from time to time).
Treat your hair well and enjoy it while you have it. You’re bald now.
Be careful on your skateboard. Your calf muscle will never heal right, and your fingers still ache.
You can ice skate and play hockey, you were decent at it in college, but you’ve gotten lazy in the last 15 years. You can be good at it again, and you could be good at it now (Your “weak ankles” are bullshit. You just never learned how to tie your skates).
Don’t worry about girls. Spend your energy being creative and getting smart. You land the best one of all, she’s smart, she’s funny, she makes you feel good, and she wears cool skater chick shoes. Girls who wear high heels are a dime a dozen. Girls who wear skater shoes…you don’t let them go.
Your super power is your ability to make people laugh. Don’t be the clown, work on making your wit sharp.
Read, watch movies, and enjoy the outdoors. Some day you’ll be too busy for all three.
You’re going to be worried about moving to Toronto some day. Don’t be. It’s where you need to be in your 20’s, and it’s where you make some amazing friendships and meet that awesome girl I told you about earlier.
You lead kick assed teams of people. The best people want to be with you because you push them and yourself to be better. Don’t ever expect less of anyone else than you would expect of yourself.
You will work for a sports network, a movie distributor, broadcast networks, alongside hard news reporters, and for a research firm. You’ll ride the dot com bubble, and work insanely ridiculous hours. You will know more about sports than most people despite the fact that you don’t love sports. You’ll hate the job at the movie distribution company, despite the fact that it will be your dream job, and it will bring you back to the place where you need to be. Remember that this is all happening for a reason, and leading you somewhere pretty great.
You have imagination, which Einstein told us is more important than knowledge. Never be afraid to say “what if we did this”, or “what if we tried this”? Most of the time it’s the right decision.
You will draw nearly every day, although most days it’s just a quick sketch to explain something. Drawing is a super-power, use it.
You will love red wine, black coffee, steak, your wife, your kids, Star Wars, comics, and doing something called “making web sites”. It’s a pretty great life, although every now and then you’ll forget how great it is.
It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. When you are in school, that means you can master a skill in about 2 years. For the first 3 years out of school, all you should be doing is mastering skills, at 80 hours a week, it will take you 2 years for every skill you want to master.
The difference between a magician and a normal person is that a magician will spend an unreasonable amount of time learning how to do something, long after a normal person would have given up.
Some day you’ll stop being able to eat chips. That day isn’t today…so eat all the chips you can.