Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Notes to my 16 year old self.

I read a post by Jamie Golden today over on her blog.  It is a really good and well thought out blog.  I knew her when she was 17 and wore big hats.  I left part of the following list as a comment.  It is not as good and not nearly as thought out but it was what came to mind when she invited all who read her blog to think about what to say to their own 16 year old selves.

16 year old Joseph was neither as cool as he thought he was on his best day or as stupid as he thought he was on his worst day.  16 year old Joseph was just that.  16 years old.  I have yet to meet a wise 16 year old.  There is a reason they are not allowed to vote.  Come to think of it I don't think I want to meet a wise 16 year old.  Without further adieu here is a letter I would like to send back in time to 16 year old Joseph Kinnaird.


You will still be dude when you are 37.  It will always be one of the most expressive words in the English language.

There are some things you need to know about the you you will be in 2011.  Some of it you called well ahead of time.  Some of it you never saw coming.

You totally married a hot red head.  You have a son named Joseph William Kinnaird III.  You also have a son named James Robert Kinnaird.  Had you gotten your way he would have been named William Wallace Kinnaird.  You can grow a beard like no body's business.  You are a musician.  Not in a hair metal band (Nirvana killed hair metal in 1992).  You play bass in a funky little group called Crowe.  You also play the organ at a church.  You do not believe me and that's OK.  Here is some advice the 37 year old version of you would like to give you.

1. The older you get the more you will look like your father.

2. Send out more invitations to your graduation. Go the the Bessemer Baptist Association and get lists of all the churches there where the median age is 65. Send invitations there. There are only 2 instances in your life where people will be willing to give you money like this. The other is a wedding. The difference being you get to spend all of the graduation money on you and the things you think are important as an 18 year old.

3. Ask more girls on dates. The worst thing they can do is say no.

4. Remember this: Unless it is a felony there is no permanent record.

5. Always trust that inner voice that says, "Someone called the cops and they are on their way."

6. Cut the mullet. Right now. The only way it would look cool is if you were Hispanic or Asian. You are Scottish.

7. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. If you don't you will feel like a turd forever.

8. Treasure the friends you have right now. You will never have friends like that again.

9. Use conditioner. After you cut the mullet.

10. Remember that dude who made your life a living hell when you were 15. Punch him in the face. Right now. But make it count because he is probably going to kick the taste out of your mouth.

11. Quit smoking.

12. Do not pine after women who date a guy because they have a cool car. They are not all that interesting.

13. After you get the taste back in your mouth punch that dude again.

14. These are some of the people you are going to miss 21 years later: Mrs. Terry, Granny, Dale, and Mother. Make the most of every moment you have with these people.

15. Pull the fire alarm.

16. Go out for football.

17. Learn more Bruce Hornsby songs on the piano while it is still easy to learn.
18. Befriend the friendless.  Defend the defenseless.  Love the unlovable.
19. Don't be such an insufferable little snot to your teachers.  Karma is a cruel wheel we all spin on.  You will most certainly reap what you sow one day. 
20. Don't be so resistant to the concept of grace. Either the grace you show others or the grace you allow others to show you and especially the grace God has in store for you. You can't earn it. There is no brownie point system. Just accept that He loves you and sent his Son to die for you not because you deserve it but simply because He loves you. It is a gift freely given, not a reward.

There is so much more but the mistakes you will make are what makes you the man you'll be when you're 37.  And 37 year old Joseph is blessed beyond measure.


37 year old Joseph.