A Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self

by Larry Hehn on February 14, 2011

writingLast week I noticed that bloggers Dustin Valencia and Ben Nunes had posted letters to their younger selves on their blogs. I thought it was a great idea. I started thinking, what sage advice would I give to my 18-year-old self?

I’m not sure if I would have listened to all this when I was 18, but here’s what I would probably say if I had a chance. Here goes…

Dear 18-year-old Larry,

  • Don’t be in such a hurry to get older. You’ll be 43 before you know it.
  • Relax. You don’t have to be “right” about everything. (And, by the way, you aren’t.)
  • Nobody is beyond redemption. This includes you.
  • Humor at someone else’s expense isn’t humor.
  • If you don’t have the money for something, don’t buy it.
  • Breaking a room-temperature Terry’s Chocolate Orange on your forehead is a neat trick. Trying to break a frozen Terry’s Chocolate Orange on your forehead will give you a concussion and leave bits of foil embedded in your forehead. I’m just sayin’…
  • If you want to experience grace (and you will), start by extending it to others.
  • Don’t derive your self worth from your athletic accomplishments. Just go out there and have some fun.
  • I know you may not want to hear it right now, but Dad does know what he’s talking about.
  • Some things are your own fault. Deal with it.
  • Mullets aren’t forever. Rock it while you  still can.
  • Seek God above all else, and he will provide.
  • Everyone you meet is important. Everyone.
  • As long as it is legal, moral and ethical, there is no job that is beneath you.
  • Always look for things to celebrate rather than criticize.
  • You don’t need to know what happens next. If you found out, you wouldn’t believe it anyway. Just have faith.
  • Some of this stuff will take you 25 years or more to learn and appreciate. Hang in there!

What would you write in a letter to your 18-year-old self?

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben February 14, 2011 at 12:13 am

Yes! Thanks for the shout-out man. Love how you mixed some serious (read: Dad’s right) and humorous (read: Mullet) points in there.

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Thanks for helping to get the ball rolling, Ben!

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Chris February 14, 2011 at 12:19 am

Larry, this is awesome! I kept a journal for about 6 months when I turned 18 and I have gone back and read it from time to time. Amazing what I wrote, but so immature in a lot of ways.
Have you heard the song by Brad Paisely – Letter to Me?
You have some wise things written here, particularly the part about the mullet! You ought to post a picture of that and write about it.
I don’t even know what I would begin to say to myself, even though I went through so much hell the only thing I think I would say is never give up on your dreams.
This is a great idea and concept you guys have done.
Keep up the great writing, always insightful and challenging. Really enjoy reading your blog. It’s one of my favorites.
Chris recently posted..RAM – Real Authentic MenMy Profile

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Thank you for your encouragement, Chris. I don’t have many photos from back then, but I’ll try to dig one up that shows the mullet in all its glory. I haven’t heard that song before – will definitely check it out!

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Donald Borsch Jr February 14, 2011 at 12:35 am

>>Humor at someone else’s expense isn’t humor.
——————-
I used to say that, “Laughter at my own expense is never too costly. But laughter at someone else’s expense always sounds cheap.”

Nice list. It made for a fun read.
Donald Borsch Jr recently posted..An Update- Some new developments have arisen…Lookoutnow!My Profile

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Yep, more than once I’ve hit a sore spot for someone without even knowing it. I do my best to keep that in mind whenever I’m joking around. Thanks, Donald!

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Donald Borsch Jr February 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Larry. The mullet. To use the vernacular of the day: Epic. Totally epic.

Bravo, sir.
Donald Borsch Jr recently posted..An Update- Some new developments have arisen…Lookoutnow!My Profile

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Moe February 14, 2011 at 7:37 am

I just created my own letter to a young Moe post. We are in the same spirit here Larry.

As I read yours, I tend to believe that I was the bigger jackass compared to my blogging buddies. Doh!

By the way, I still think mullets rock (I secretly wish they make a comeback)

Also, I am cracking up over here about payback —> 18 yr old son! It’s almost as if God is saying, “you gave your parents a headache… here, see what it’s like!”
Moe recently posted..A Letter To 1990′s MoeMy Profile

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I’m just thankful he was nowhere near as bratty as I was growing up. But the similarity now is downright spooky. I’ll be sure to check out your post, Moe. Cheers!

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Dustin February 14, 2011 at 8:01 am

Larry, this is great. I’m with Moe – I think mullets are wildly underrated! By the way, we want to see a picture!

Also, I especially like your point about celebrating vs. criticizing. That is great advice.

If I had to add something to my list, I would probably say something about my future wife. Dustin, focus on God because He has someone perfect in store for you.
Dustin recently posted..A Letter to a Young Dustin ValenciaMy Profile

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Ah yes. Good call Dustin. It’s awesome what blessings can be in store that aren’t even on our radar screen when we are 18.

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Sue Lawrence February 14, 2011 at 7:37 am

Great post, Larry – awesome way to start the week!

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Thanks, Sue. Have a good one!

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Cathy Siekierko February 14, 2011 at 8:50 am

Great advice for anyone at any age, Larry!

Just one question–was that firsthand knowledge re: the concussion and the frozen chocolate orange or were you just an observer?? : )

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Oh it was first hand, I’m afraid. I saw stars. As I staggered around the kitchen trying to stay upright, my kids were laughing their heads off saying, “Do that again, Dad! Do that again!” Yeah, I was a little more than 18 when that happened.

Now there’s a Terry’s Chocolate Orange in my stocking every Christmas…

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mo February 14, 2011 at 10:54 am

man, i bet you had a wicked mullet. we need to see a pic.

is this design new? I usually come to your site on my phone, so I think I get a stripped-down mobile version. looks great, man.
mo recently posted..204- Business LaunchMy Profile

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Yep, I’ve done a bit of renovating here over the last few weeks. Glad you like it, Mo!
Looks like I’d better post a mullet pic soon. I’m on the case!

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Tony Alicea February 14, 2011 at 11:20 am

I love these! I’ll have to give some thought to doing one. Your list was fantastic dude. Your advice about the mullet warmed my heart.
Tony Alicea recently posted..Afflictions Eclipsed By GloryMy Profile

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Thanks, Tony. I was never a slave to fashion, but I did fall victim to the mullet for a while. Oh yeah, and acid wash jeans…

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seekingpastor February 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

I think that you could still rock a mullett–Joel Osteen does.
seekingpastor recently posted..Loving the Little ThingsMy Profile

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I probably could still pull it off, but the practical side of me leans more toward the hairdo of Shel Silverstein than Joel Osteen. Oh, how times have changed!

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Moe February 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Wow. That’s a great mullet Larry. I wish I can touch it. 🙂

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm

For you, Moe, I might even consider growing it back! 😉

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Moe February 14, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I would really like that. And you can charge for touching. It can be like a mullet petting zoo, except you are not a zoo.
Moe recently posted..A Letter To 1990′s MoeMy Profile

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Ok, everybody. The pic of the rockin’ mullet is now posted. Let the games begin!

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Jason February 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I’m not laughing at the mullet.

I promise I’m not.

Much.
Jason recently posted..Day 44- Feeling the fakeMy Profile

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Larry Hehn February 14, 2011 at 10:41 pm

No problem, Jason. Humor at my hair’s expense is ok!

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Peter Graham February 15, 2011 at 11:16 am

Hmm, a letter to an 18 year old me.

How’s this…

Dear Peter,

Fasten your seatbelt, it’s gonna be a wild ride!

Love Peter.

I could write all kinds of other stuff, but I wouldn’t believe it, even if it did come from me.

Thanks for the post Larry.

P.S. I might have a mullet pic of you from back then…

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Larry Hehn February 15, 2011 at 11:34 am

We should revisit this in another 25 years and see what we would write to our 40-something selves.
Maybe by then mullets will be back in style…?

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Lazy Silly Girl February 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Larry,

I’m glad to see a Canadian guest posting on an American blog. We’re not that different (I’m a half and half, so I should know). I’ve been going through a difficult time presently and your words have touched and encouraged me. Thank you.

Grace and Peace to you,

Polly
http://www.lazysillygirl.com

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Larry Hehn February 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Thanks very much, Polly. You have a very unique and creative site! I’m so pleased to hear that you have found encouragement here. I pray that you continue to be encouraged and strengthened. Many blessings to you!

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Duane Scott February 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I’m going to quote you on my facebook page. http://facebook.com/duane2scott

I hope you don’t mind.

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Larry Hehn February 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I’m honored, Duane. Thanks. Quote away!

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Monique February 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I am with Moe!! Grow your hair back and I will sell tickets for you.
$5 for a 5 minute pat. Wanna guess who will be first in line?

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Larry Hehn February 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I’ll save the spot for you, Monique. I might even allow you a freebie!

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Clay Morgan February 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Great post! I love the mix of meaning and humor. Yes, rock it while you can. You don’t need to know what happens next. Cool thoughts.

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Larry Hehn February 21, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Thanks very much, Clay!

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Ironic Mom March 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Great idea, great list. I wonder what kind of letter we’ll write to 40-year-old selves. I’m almost afraid to think…

By the way, if you haven’t been to mullet.com, go. 🙂
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Larry Hehn March 6, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I’m sure I still have a lot to learn. That will be very interesting to see what perspective is gained over the next few years.

Love the quote from mullet.com:

“To say that the mullet is a hairstyle barely even scratches the surface of the issue. The mullet is a way of life, it is a state of mind, it is every person who wears it.”

Awesome!

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