Dear little Etienne,
Read, read and keep reading :
This would definitely be my number one advice. You’ll see that a book can teach you so much, but it will also bring more questions to your mind, which is even more important. The more you read, the more you question yourself and the more you’ll want to read. Stay curious. Don’t be upset if you don’t get the answers you’d like. This dynamic will enhance your life and will help you to keep your thoughts continually evolving. It will make you feel alive and happy.
Travel the world :
Of course I would advise you to travel. You’ll develop the most essential skills you will need for your life : self sufficiency, how to negotiate, boldness, social skills, languages… I didn’t learn english at school.
Also, your best memories will be born from your vagabonding time.
Moreover, I do trust that it’s a great way to inspire your kids later.
Be original :
Take care my friend, life and people can get very boring as you grow up. Remember that there are no rules in the game of life. You are not supposed to follow the same path as your friends. You are not supposed to follow the road your dad would like you to take. I would even say to actually make sure you are not following the same road as others.
Choose your tribe (and be picky) :
When I got back from my big trip around the world, I was 25 and I realised that some of my friends I was hanging out with before were actually not so cool. I had changed and I was looking for different people to spend my time with. Choose these people wisely, be proactive and don’t let life choose for you. The quality of your life will be linked with the quality of the connections you have with the people you share your time with.
Give value to your time :
This is another trap you can fall in as you grow up : working too much and not taking the time for YOU. It’s also one of the top 5 regrets people have before dying . Again, your best memories are mostly made when you’re young and wild. Your personality also needs time to mature. Rat races have never made people happy.
Respect your body :
I’m convinced that this has to be understood while you’re young. Some people will try to influence you to enjoy life by drinking and smoking. You can engage in these activities sometimes, but know that people who are doing these things too much will probably regret their choices later when they realise they are out of shape and their lungs are too fucked up from joints.
You will also see that your body is a precious machine and exercising regularly will help to maintain it.
« You are what you eat » said Hippocrate, and he was right. Eating well will also give you the energy to realise your dreams. Dreams always need energy to be reached.
Treat your sleep preciously :
Quality food, exercise and … quality sleep. These are the 3 pilars you have to respect to be healthy. It will also boost your immune system, keep your spirits high, and improve your memory and creativity. Day after day, it will change the quality of your life.
Learn about social dynamics :
You may not understand why some guys are always getting the most attractive girls while other shy guys, like you, are struggling to have a simple date. You’ll see that you can actually improve yourself and become more attractive to girls and to people in general . Social dynamics is a very interesting topic anyway.
Respect your money :
« Money doesn’t make you rich » said Bob Marley. I totally agree. Once again, the quality of your relationships will enrich your life more than money will ever do. But I would suggest to save money and invest soon. It’s too easy and super annoying to be broke. You’ll see that the concept of minimalism will change your life. « I make my life rich by making my wants few » wrote Thoreau. Go away from consumerism and superficial shit.
Learn how to learn :
Your carreer will probably not be as linear as your parents’ careers. Things are going to change very rapidly so you’ll have to learn how to learn new skills. Train your mind to be flexible. Remember that you can learn anything. I wish I would have integrated this idea younger.
Get close to nature :
You are dreaming about big cities and want to escape from the countryside. I understand this, but always remember the power of nature and respect it. It will give you inspiration, answers, fresh air, food and anything you need to live. Traveling will remind you of what I’m saying. Humans are not supposed to be connected to concrete and pollution.
Learn how to deal with your emotions :
Life is tough. Some people you thought were your friends won’t be there for you when you actually need them. Girls you love are going to make you suffer. They will challenge your ego and make you feel like shit. Know that it’s ok to feel sad and to cry sometimes. All your struggles will make sense one day.
Stay patient, meditate a lot and always remember that happiness doesn’t exist without hard times.
Be grateful for what you have and keep loving.
Be crazy :
Ok, I have been very serious so far. Sorry, I’m getting old. Don’t forget to party hard and to meet thousands of people. Do (a lot of) mistakes and test your limits. Experiment with new things often and don’t be afraid to be stupid sometimes. The best lessons are made out of failure. Life is not meant to be serious anyway.