Read the newspaper or a magazine or something that is on paper. Don’t let the whole ‘print journalism is dying!’ bullshit come true because sometimes dying newspaper jokes can be really funny. Also, if you stare a a computer screen too much you’ll either gain wrinkles around your eyes or you’ll start doing online dating/never leave your house because of reddit. Have a library card, and if that’s too much at least one copy of Romeo and Juliet you stole from your high school library. Also, if you get newspapers, don’t litter. Don’t be one of those assholes who cries at ASPCA commercials but throws cigarette butts on the ground that little baby corgis can choke and die on.
That being said, don’t let the Internet take over your life. Meet somebody in a grocery store if you can and not because their ‘OK Match E-HARHAR profile’ says they like skiing and the Aristocats as much as you do. Turn off the computer and step out into the sweet sun every once in a while, unless the robots or zombies have taken over and then you might not be able to do that. DO NOT LET THE ROBOTS WIN. Or Grub Hub. Or Etsy. Or Youtube videos of cats. Don’t download everything, go to a movie theater. Feel the rain on your skin, or the fresh cool breeze of human interaction.
Delicious things kill you. Fun kills you, booze kills you, spinach kills you, cell phones kill you. Use these things in moderation but please promise to still have fun because life will always kill you. Eventually, your heart will be like fuck this I’m out and you’ll go to the big dog house in the sky because all dogs go to heaven. Well, don’t play Russian Roulette, especially if Russian Roulette has to do with not wearing a condom. Wear a condom. Hopefully the show Teen Mom will have run it’s 35 season course and 16-year-olds are like ‘oh condoms are free and babies are about as stupid as the man I’m about to romp around with maybe I should slap one of these bad boys on.’ You guys have SEEN the joy of giving birth in health class right? That is some ’70s torture porn if I’ve ever seen it. Hopefully they’re not just showing Knocked Up in health class now. Speaking of education, GO TO COLLEGE. LEARN EVERYTHING.
Don’t try to be an adult at 14. At 22, the American version of Skins is all kids in belly shirts dry humping each other and eating ecstasy syringes and showing off their tattoos. When I was 14, I was wearing braces, Old Navy tshirts, and wondering if sex was what happened when you thought of O*Town too often. Listen, I eventually lost my virginity and got my nose pierced and drank gin and did all sorts of cool things that will now be the death of me. I’m glad that at 14 I was sippin’ milkshakes and deciding if I could cover up my I’m-Puerto Rican-I-have leg fuzz for one more year. I’m glad I was a kid. Enjoy being a kid, and if you can’t do long division in your head, don’t start drinking whiskey. Because once you start drinking whiskey, you’ll forget all remedial math that you should know how to do in that dying brain of yours. Have first kisses that don’t end in ‘jobs’, but get a job, you lazy teen. Labor laws are for 8 year olds, and you should work for your money as early as possible so you won’t be a selfish shit. You can be an adult about that.
Realize that you will die, but don’t take it too personally. Just enjoy breathing while your chest still moves.
Fight for something. Fight for somebody. Don’t just sit around being like ‘oh man this day sucks because my cell phone doesn’t work perfectly and my high-speed 4d wifi smell-o-vision is going too slowly!!’ Don’t get pissed because you don’t have the coolest expensive sneakers that shoot fire at the real Pokemon I am counting on scientists to invent for all of us. Don’t want too much more than you have, and make your ambitions about things other than money. Remember that not everybody is as lucky as you are. Vote. Know what’s going on in a place other than your own sphere. Seriously, kids. VOTE.
Jeez, how much can be said about loving somebody? Do that, do it do it do it. I don’t care if the divorce rate is 96% and the only proof of romance is 36 Gary Marshall movies staring Julia Roberts, I want you to think love is something worth having. I hope we never become too spineless to do something selfless for somebody else, and we’ll always be willing to do something risky for our own heart happiness. I hope Carson Daly doesn’t still have a job, and I hope that you still can get robot butterflies in your stomach when some idiot half-grins at you. I hope that romance doesn’t involve only text messaging and vampire tween novels.
And if you’re a kid now, I hope that you know that you are smart. And that you should have faith in yourself and people and you don’t become more cynical as years go on. And don’t become too full of yourselves, and you learn from our mistakes and read the things we wrote and say ‘hmph, I can’t believe they thought nachos were delicious when they hadn’t invented ____ yet.’ And you live in a world where more girls are happier with their bodies. And every gay kid can dream of his/her wedding. And Independence Day happened and Bill Pullman really was president, or there was a woman prez who wasn’t Michelle Bachman. And you cured diseases. And you made some peace. And you are more educated, and more hopeful, and watching better television sitcoms. The thing is, these are not the ‘good old days’ because tomorrow is always better.
Unless the robots take over, of course.