Dear 20-year-old Brian,

Hey, it’s me, you. First of all, congrats on the move to Nashville. I know it was a bit scary but you did it, and you won’t regret it. You don’t know it yet, but you’ll be here a while – which pertains to the first bit of advice. In fact, why don’t we just jump right in and skip the formalities. I think we’re close enough to each other to dispense with the bullshit and get down to it.

So, here’s a little advice that I wish you’d known a decade ago. Listen up, I promise this will all mean something to you. You can trust me. I’m you.

1. Every relationship is a long-term relationship. I’m not talking about chicks. I don’t mean every girl you date is gonna be your wife. What I’m talking about is this: every single person you meet is someone whose kid might be playing baseball with your kid in fifteen years. You never know. So treat each person with that type of respect–see them as a long-term friend.

2. Speaking of your wife, I’ve met her, and she’s a total smoke show. Seriously, she raises your stock so substantially that you basically don’t have to do anything and people still think you’re awesome. So disregard this whole letter and do whatever you want. Just kidding. Sorta.

3. You have no idea what you’re gonna want in ten years. I promise. You think you do because you want certain things so badly that you can’t imagine that ever changing. That’s okay. That passion is good. Don’t take it lightly, but also understand that life is made up of eras. Things change from one era to the next. Enjoy them all–they’re all valuable!

4. Hard work does pay off. Not always when and how you’d like it to, but it does. Particularly when it comes to any effort you want to put into becoming a better man–DO IT! You won’t regret it. You’ll never think, ” Man, I wish I hadn’t learned so much. I wish I didn’t have such a healthy sense of self.” So work hard, young fella. Do it.

5. Teach yourself about money, please. Like NOW??? Read some books (start here) and change the way you think. You’ve got a while before you have kids who will suck up all your cash before you even get to sniff it. (That’s figurative, by the way. Not a lot of cash transactions at this point.) So take advantage of the cheap single life and write up a budget for God’s sake!

6. Start working out now. If you don’t, you’re only gonna decide you wish you had in about nine years and it’s gonna come a lot harder. Do us a favor, please, and just go to the damn gym already?

7. Seriously, though, your wife is slammin’. Be happy about that.

8. Quit over-thinking your decisions. Most of the time, there’s not a right or wrong answer, and I promise, you don’t know it yet, but you have the capacity to make the absolute best of whatever circumstances you find yourself in. I promise. You’re a resilient son of a gun. So do your best, and trust your gut.

9. Humble thyself, kid. You’re pretty cool, but you’re not that cool. Take my word for it, humility will take you farther than bravado every single time.

10. You think being a musician is cool? Wait till you’re a father. That’s gonna blow your effin’ mind.

Well, young me, that’s all from old(er) me! You’re doing fine, don’t worry too much, just have some fun. The next ten years are gonna fly by and you have no idea how much you’re gonna miss all the stuff you’re about to do. Good luck! Keep your chin up and put some cash in savings! See ya in 2014!

 

Yourself,

Brian

 

P.S. Oh, and don’t pay all that money to get that white couch upholstered. It’s an absolute waste. Shortly after you get it a cat and a baby are gonna aggressively ruin it.

 

Starting with #11, please feel free to add to this list in the comments below.

 

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