I graduated from college nearly one year ago. Here’s what I’ve learned since then:
1. I love my parents.
2. I love my hometown.
3. I could never live with my parents.
4. I could never live in my hometown.
5. Taxes suck.
6. Realtors and Landlords suck.
7. Insurance is expensive.
8. Working forty hours a week is tiring.
9. Working fifty hours a week is tiring.
10. Working sixty hours a week is tiring.
11. Doing what you love is invigorating and fulfilling, no matter what the hours are.
12. If you do something for forty hours a week, you have no excuse not to be good at it.
12. Nobody owes you anything. Nothing.
14. Most people are not ambitious. Most do not have long term plans and goals for their own career. And by “most” I mean, the majority of my peers. Even if they do, most of them don’t want it enough to do whatever it takes to reach it. Don’t be like that. Set goals. Do whatever it takes. Sacrifice your comfort.
15. The way you dress yourself is important.
16. Nobody gets a free lunch.
17. Nobody just GETS money. In some way or another it was earned. Don’t be embittered of what others have. If you are, go earn yours.
18. If you are fortunate enough to do what you love, then you’re somewhere most people can only dream to be. Congratulations.
19. Know what you gets out of bed in the morning.
20. Never forget what gets you out of bed in the morning.
21. People who read on a regular basis are usually more interesting than those who don’t.
22. Read as much as possible.
23. People who exercise on a regular basis are usually happier and more confident than others.
24. Exercise as much as possible.
25. Drinking is fun, but so is waking up on Sunday without a hangover and knowing completely well what you did last night.
26. Drugs - generally - kill ambition.
27. It’s important to fail.
28. It’s important to put yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s the only way you’ll grow.
29. If you’re never get put out of your comfort zone and if you never fail, then how do you expect to get better at something?
30. If you shrugged your shoulders to that question then you have a lot of thinking to do.
31. Always bring something to the table. If you don’t, then at least know enough to give up your seat for someone who will.
32. Work hard. If you want to go somewhere, work harder than everyone else around you.
33. Be nice. We’re all fighting our own battles. I think Vonnegut said that once.
34. Think about things more.
35. Take pride in your name. It’s the only thing you get when you die and the way most people will remember you.
36. Use your resources to get to where you want to be.
37. Date someone who challenges you.
38. Date someone who’s smarter than you.
39. No man is an island. I used to hate that adage, now it means a lot. Everything you do affects someone else. Whether it’s what you say, what you do with your time, how you smile or even how you say hello. We’re all connected.
40. Mind your own business.
41. Don’t spend it all in one place. At some point in your life you will become so old and frail that you won’t be able to work. Luckily, euthanasia is not a popular belief. Nevertheless, you are going to need to support yourself somehow. Think ahead.
42. Don’t eat like shit. It looks bad.
43. If you start to feel “old” just remember that your parents used to be your age and that ten years from now all these kids will also be your age and they, too, will feel the same way about the next generation. And so on forever and ever until the Sun burns out.
44. Call home at least once a week. They miss you and love you.
45. Care about things. The Achilles’ Heal of every movie character who’s too cool to care is that they actually do. If we were to watch a whole film of someone who didn’t give a shit about anything, we would leave the theatre feeling cheated and angry. It’s the scene where they show they care that gets us. We like people who care about things because it makes them vulnerable and we can relate to that.
46. Don’t give up. People may say you’re crazy. At times, you certainly will think you are crazy. But if you’re trying to do something or be somebody, it takes time. Lots of it. Don’t give up.
47. Let people know how you feel about them. If someone makes you happy, tell them. In some way or another. I’m not saying to walk up to someone and say, “Hey, you make me happy.” That’s weird. Say something more like, “Hey, awesome job at ____ I had a great time.” Or something to that extent. It’ll go a long way.
48. You will change. Think about yourself. Know yourself. Find out why you do certain things and why you’ve become who you’ve become. The best parts of a television series like MAD MEN is the way all the characters have changed and how these changes are lined up and orchestrated. Change is important. Make sure you know what’s happening to yours.
49. Your idealism will be threatened. Without taking a jaded point of view, do keep in mind that the world is extremely complicated and those complications often get in the way of butterflies and rainbows being true. If you’re my age or younger, you were probably coddled when you were brought up.
Grow some balls and learn to deal with the world on your own. You’re gonna hate it, but you need to be able to love all of it. The shitty days when no one is your friend and you feel stagnant and frustrated, upset and disconnected, disenfranchised and embittered that you aren’t the successful and beautiful person you’ve always dreamt of; I guarantee you, during those days there will be people who will think of your name and instantly become happy.
That itself is worth something.
Learn to love it all.
If you need help, watch this clip from a movie called Network.
50. Always wipe twice.
— John Fante (via atheistmale)
We started the week expecting to publish one David Foster Wallace post. Then, because of the 50th birthday celebration, it turned into two. And now three. We spent some time tracking down free DFW stories and essays available on the web, and they’re all now listed in our collection of Free eBooks. But we didn’t want them to escape your attention. So here they are — 23 pieces published by David Foster Wallace between 1989 and 2011, mostly in major U.S. publications like The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review. Enjoy, and don’t miss our other collections of free writings by Philip K. Dick and Neil Gaiman.
- “9/11: The View From the Midwest” (Rolling Stone, October 25, 2001)
- “All That” (New Yorker, December 14, 2009)
- “An Interval” (New Yorker, January 30, 1995)
- “Asset” (New Yorker, January 30, 1995)
- “Backbone” An Excerpt from The Pale King (New Yorker, March 7, 2011)
- “Big Red Son” from Consider the Lobster & Other Essays
- “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” (The Paris Review, Fall 1997)
- “Consider the Lobster” (Gourmet, August 2004)
- “David Lynch Keeps His Head” (Premiere, 1996)
- “Everything is Green” (Harpers, September 1989)
- “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction” (The Review of Contemporary Fiction, June 22, 1993)
- “Federer as Religious Experience” (New York Times, August 20, 2006)
- “Good People” (New Yorker, February 5, 2007)
- “Host” (The Atlantic, April 2005)
- “Incarnations of Burned Children” (Esquire, April 21, 2009)
- “Laughing with Kafka” (Harper’s, January 1998)
- “Little Expressionless Animals” (The Paris Review, Spring 1988)
- “On Life and Work” (Kenyon College Commencement address, 2005)
- “Rabbit Resurrected” (Harper’s, August 1992)
- “Several Birds” (New Yorker, June 17, 1994)
- “Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise”(Harper’s, January 1996)
- “Tennis, Trigonometry, Tornadoes: A Midwestern Boyhood” (Harper’s, December 1991)
- “Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the wars over usage” (Harper’s, April 2001)
- “The Awakening of My Interest in Annular Systems” (Harper’s, September 1993)
- “The Compliance Branch” (Harper’s, February 2008)
- “The Depressed Person” (Harper’s, January 1998)
- “The String Theory” (Esquire, July 1996)
- “The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And The Shrub” (Rolling Stone, April 2000)
- “Ticket to the Fair” (Harper’s, July 1994)
- “Wiggle Room” (New Yorker, March 9, 2009)