Dear Brandon,

This is 24-year-old you—from the future.

I know you are a teenager that thinks he knows everything already but listen to me man–you don’t. That is coming from you. I am here to give you some advice I wish I knew when I was your age or had known earlier.

First and foremost, you don’t have to prove anything to anybody. Let that settle in for a second. You do not have to prove anything to anybody, Brandon.

That means when you go to the gym, you go for yourself.

Not to impress other people.

That means when you go out and have fun, do not worry about showing off on social media.

Just be there in the moment and enjoy yourself. You can share yourself on social media, sure. It is when it envelopes you and you feel like you need to post or you “wasted” the experience. Trust me. Writing this makes me feel uneasy too but I just want to remind you, that you are more than enough. Just be grateful to have experienced those moments.

The next lesson I want to pass along to you is, you don’t need alcohol to socialize. It is okay to well, just be sober. You will feel anxious at first. You will feel like you will need to move around and uneasy but..that feeling will pass.

Remember when you were a child and you didn’t drink at all and you still had fun?? When you go off to college you are going to discover the power of alcohol to socialize with people and it will cause you to use it as a crutch. Stand clear of the alcohol every now and then.

Also, when you do drink, do not drive. Remember when you were asked as a child what your biggest pet peeve was and you said “drunk drivers” because their recklessness was endangering other people’s lives… I am ashamed to admit, there were some nights in college where I should not have driven home and I did anyway. A DUI offense is no joke. It is not worth the risk. Don’t do it. It is not worth it.

The third lesson I want to pass along to you would be to go to therapy sooner. You check yourself into therapy your junior year of college because you were struggling with depression. Go sooner. Don’t wait. You are going to be guilty and ashamed for going to a mental health clinic but it is for your own good. You are going to learn tactics and techniques there that will help you fend off dysfunctional thoughts and it will help you be emotionally healthy. These tools will help you for the rest of your life.

The last lesson is– money is not everything. You will spend your college years chasing after money, reading a ton of books and going crazy over money. Stop worrying about making a lot of money. Go be a delivery driver. Go help out an elder’s retirement home or go find a job at a carpet cleaning company. You will realize finding something more fulfliing is better than making a lot of money. At the end of your junior year of college, you will be hit by a car and you will learn to love your health and just be grateful for being alive. It will be one ot the best things to ever happen to you so just be ready to struggle and get through it. You will come out the other side stronger. I promise.

Remember to stay positive no matter what and keep persevering. You will make it through. I am absolutely sure of it 🙂