Remember the good old days? The days before social media made everyone a life expert and a craft genius? Like the wonderful lazy days before Pinterest ruined our lives? People weren’t making spooky fingers out of carrots and hummus. They weren’t making pumpkins out of f*cking clementines and celery sticks. And they sure as shit weren’t crafting “boo-riffic” goddamned bananas! And that skeleton you crafted out of veggies? Don’t make me tell you where you can shove that.
Here at Nostrikethat Industries, we are focused on solutions, not problems. Also, wine in a box. We focus on that a lot.
Because this is the Internet, I get to be an expert despite the lack of any formal training, aptitude, or even real intelligence.
By the way kids, that was lesson 1.
Here are my recommendations for the teens of today.
Go sell something for a living
Cures: anxiety. Also treats (but does not cure) “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up” syndrome.
One time I bought vinyl siding for my house because I really liked the door to door sales guy that showed up and I was afraid to say no. He even had that little kit where he poured the water through the vinyl beads and everything! I’m not sure I remember what that was supposed to prove, but it was impressive at the time. It turned out we could neither afford vinyl siding, nor did we really need it so through a little loophole called “both homeowners needed to sign the contract” we escaped sans siding.
Years later, I somewhat accidentally found myself in technology sales. I learned a lot, mostly about how hard it is to sell things for a living. I also learned how to take rejection and get on with my life. I’m no longer in sales, but I am no longer afraid of sales people, either.
Hang out with little kids
Cures: ennui, existential crises, lack of motivation
For reasons unknown, one year when I was maybe 13 I signed up to be a camp counselor at vacation bible school. I have a younger brother so I thought I was prepared for dealing with little kids, but being around a bunch of 6 year olds making macaroni art and making animal noises during the Noah’s Ark song was awesome. Except for snack time: when they want their juice and crackers, they want it now.
Little kids have a refreshingly simple outlook on life. Most of it occurs over their head, so unless there are cookies up there it’s not worth worrying about. As long as there are legs to hug, grass to roll in, and friends to chase everything is pretty amazing. And little kids are so excited to do things! Maybe it’s only for five minutes, but man what a five minutes!
Create something awful
We live in an time where, thanks to technology, the barrier to entry for so many things is so very low. Don’t wait to go to film school, start shooting movies now with your cell phone. Don’t go to college and study theater, just make machinima with Minecraft. Teach yourself to code. Write horrible blog posts.
You don’t have to go to college. There are no gate-keepers holding you back. Go. Create. Express yourself. Of course it will be bad.
That’s the point.
You don’t get to good until you go through a lot of bad.
And get off my lawn
One of the best comments in the Reddit thread was “Teenagers’ problems are just adult problems without perspective.” I get it, kids are kids, and the point of being a teenager is to have these kinds of problems. I still wonder how many of our children are this way because we made it so.
We wanted our children to be “team players” and “achievers”, so we made them play half a dozen sports so they could achieve trophies and medals, but now they don’t know have to have unscheduled fun.
We’ve taken away or neutered rites of passage except going to college, and so many our children are obsessed with this one at a time where the average cost of a college education at an in-state public university is almost $20,000 for residents, despite the overwhelming evidence that the world needs welders and mechanics.
We’ve made it so our children cannot leave our sight without us, and we have given them cell phones so that when they do we’re never more than two swipes away. Somehow, we’re surprised when they’re so comfortable around us that they move back in and never leave.
As parents, we are conditioned to sign our kids up for classes: art classes and music classes and SAT prep classes ad nauseum because if there’s something you want to do, there’s a class you should take first.
Unless that something is “live your life”, because there’s no prep class for that.
Have any more recommendations for the teens of today? Leave a comment!
Ever wonder what’s going on in the mind of a middle-school boy? Have a sneaking suspicion the answer is “nothing”? Here’s a guest post from my 12 year old son. He really wanted to let the world know that it’s hard being in middle school. Enjoy!
Dumb other people are dumb
Gosh, the life of a middle school swimmer is hard. I have the absolute delight of going to a middle school that is NOT up to my snobbish standards, and in fact has some people that would punch a small, non-threatening person just for a laugh.
Actually, I would probably do that too. If I could. But I can’t. For two reasons.
Why can’t you beat people up? Huh?
Reason number one: Size.
There are a large number of people at school that are around six feet tall and weigh around 200 pounds. Not even exaggerating. Even the smallest “popular kids” (who beat people up, because that is a good and logical reason for being popular. Teen and preteen social dynamics. Look it up.) are at least 5 foot 6 and weigh well over a hundred pounds. I am just barely five foot, and weigh around 95 pounds. It is all muscle, but still. All someone has to do to beat me up is trip me (thanks to my size 9.5 shoes on my size 8.5 feet) and then sit on me.
Reason number two: I am actually a good boy.
I know this sounds weird, but I am generally a good kid. Sure, I have people issues and am occasionally a little on the grumpy side. But still, I feel really bad about me not doing nice things, even when all I am doing is getting a drink from the water fountain while I am supposed to be in the bathroom. Fighting? No. I can’t bring myself to actually do anything because I realize that no matter how much I want to punch somebody, doing it just makes things worse.