You're in a hard place right now. That place between boy and man.
The place where your caveman brain is telling you to push away from family so you can start your own tribe.
The place where you're old enough to recognize that everything is changing, but you aren't sure what to do about it or if you even can do anything about it.
The place where your free time is split between your friends, girlfriend, and family.
You have big decisions to make- whether to do what your friends are doing, where to go to college, what to study.
You have big tests ahead of you- SATs, driving tests, daily peer pressure.
I don't envy you. I've been there. (I know that's hard to believe since you've only known me as "old.")
I wish I could give you a magic answer to make everything easier. There isn't one. You are in for some crazy change, both adventures and challenges.
You can coast through, surviving from one day to the next. You'll get by.
Or you can give a damn.
Care about something - baseball, science class, your best friend, the cat, remembering sunscreen, anything, everything.
Notice people. You have a keen sense of perception and an astounding understanding of the human psyche. Use it.
Use it to read your little brother's face or the kid that sits next to you at school. Use it to see what emotion they are really experiencing and let that guide your interactions.
Connect. (I know, I know. It means disconnecting from electronics. It's worth it.) Connect with the people in the room. You'll be glad you did.
Giving a damn is the difference between Living (capital L style) and merely getting by.
I'm not saying it won't hurt sometimes, but you can't know elation from a state of numbness.
You still have a few years at home. Lean on us. Your dad and I are here for you. We love you. We want to help.
Between the two of us, we have a lot of life experience and, believe it or not, most of what you're going through, we've been through, too. We might understand more than you realize.
Ask us questions. Lots of them. As many as you want.
It's still your life. You get to decide where you're heading. You'll know where to go based on what you care about.
Give a damn. Watch how magical this world can be when you do.
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