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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Advice for young men

Two weeks ago I had a conversation with a younger guy I know at the local gym. The conversation turned to women, and he started talking about the rules he had for girls he wouldn't go after. As a 30 year old, he wouldn't go after any girl less than 21. And he wouldn't go after the friend of a former girlfriend. And he....

I interrupted him to say that his rules were silly. I said, go after any girl you feel like. When you're 70, you won't look back and regret the girls you got, believe me. You'll only regret the ones you missed.

Speaking as a 56-year-old, I can honestly say I don't regret chasing a single girl. I only regret the ones I was too shy and hesitant to pursue. This doesn't mean I didn't make a fool of myself on many occasions. I did. So what? Everybody has to go through that stage. (Although my awkward stage seemed to last an awfully long time.) I do mildly rue various awkward moments. But I bitterly regret the times I let my fear of appearing awkward keep me from trying.

There's a saying, that no man on his death bed regrets not having gone into the office more. I'm sure that no man on his death bed regrets the women he got, either.

My thoughts at 56 run along similar lines: why was I such an idiot? I could have had that girl! What was I thinking? Why was I such a wimp!?

Time does have wings. Sometimes it seems to me as if one day I was 23, then I blinked, and all of a sudden I was 56. And it makes my heart ache to think of the fun I could have had but didn't. 

Whether you're 15, 30, or even 45, it's a useful exercise to put yourself in the shoes of a 70 year old. Because when you're that age, past rejections will have long since lost their sting, and you'll see them as the irrelevancies they were. But the missed opportunities will haunt you.

Young men, bear that in mind.


Anonymous said...

This is really good advice in general. It really bothers me how many opportunities I've missed for fear of finding myself in some awkward moment socially . sometimes I feel like Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation in a scene with the film producer woman in restaurant and instead wish I could be like his brother Donald who doesn't worry about what others think of him and just enjoys life.


John Craig said...

Rona --
Thank you. I wish I could be more like Donald too. (I give the advice in the post above, but I don't necessarily take it.)