In June of 2010, the lead singer of Eels, Mark 'E' Everett, wrote a lovely letter of advice to his 16-year-old self. The missive features in the wonderful book, Dear Me, and can be read below.
(Source: Dear Me: More Letters to My 16-Year-Old Self; Image of "E" via Gonzai.)
June 12, 2010
Dear sweet, naive, 16 year old me,
You poor sap. I know you won't believe any of this, but you should. How can I get it through your thick, acne-pocked skull? All the stupid things you are so worried about really aren't very important at all. In fact, they are the opposite of important. What if I told you that all the "winners" around you right now were actually the losers? Well, I just did tell you that, but you still don't believe me because I'm an adult and 16 year olds can never trust adults.
What if I tried to explain it this way: That feeling you've never been able to put a name on -- it feels something like, let's say, a bone-crushing insecurity and cluelessness about your place in the world -- just forget about it! That's right. You can forget about it and go about your days -- confident with the knowledge that it's all going to work out just fine. Because as you get older, you will figure stuff out. A lot of stuff. And that bone-crushing feeling will slowly dissipate. I'm sorry. I can't remember if you knew what the word "dissipate" meant when you were 16. You will feel it less and less as time goes on. That's what I meant to say.
And all those "winners" who appear at the top of their games and lives are indeed, just that: at their peaks! It's all downhill for those idiots from here. Ha! Come on, let's have a laugh. At their expense! It's okay. You've earned it!
While YOU get to do the opposite: Things will just get better and better for you. And here's the best part: It turns out that girls like geeky smart guys much more than dumb sports guys. For many reasons. You'll see. So relax, man. Just relax. And I can even pass along this shocking piece of information: You will enjoy your life in your 40s! You heard me. It's gonna be great!
Now, I'm not saying it's not going to come with some serious bumps in the road along the way, but don't worry. Those bumps are the very thing that will make you a better person along the way and make you appreciate yourself and the world around you more and more. So you can stop worrying about the mean kids around you and stop putting any energy into being mean yourself. Ignore all that crap and enjoy the nice things in your life. Now how 'bout a smile? No? Well, you ARE 16. I get it. But I can tell you're smiling just a little on the inside.
A Fully Grown Man Called E