I don’t have kids, which means I don’t have a captive audience for my deep insights on life’s meaning. That’s probably a good thing. But I do have a brother who was nice enough to provide me with two nieces who are ridiculously beautiful, smart and talented (yeah, I’m biased, but you’d agree if you knew them), and who are getting to the age where I might occasionally have something useful to say to them. So here goes:
Kids, pick your passions wisely. Because the things you’re passionate about for the next 5-10 years are things you’ll be passionate about for the rest of your life. And that includes the small stuff, not just great big things.
Right now, you might think it’s really cool to be able to name every “Star Trek” captain back to the guy in the pilot episode, or every “American Idol” winner going all the way back to that non-anorexic chick with the lips (I’m guilty of one of those myself — take a wild guess which one).
But in 20 years, it won’t be so cool. In fact, being able to remember those things will spell D-O-R-K in glowing neon letters.
And you never know when you’ll get caught — someone will be talking about “Star Trek: Voyager” and say something about Capt. Jamesway and before you can stop yourself you’re saying, “It’s JANEway,” and then everybody knows you were a dork when you were a kid. (I’m still living in fear of a scenario where someone’s trying to remember the name of the second-youngest Jackson 5 member and I blurt out “Marlon!”).
Music is a good example. When you get into your late 20s and beyond, there will be good new music, and you’ll probably discover some of it and take it to heart, but the music of your teens and early 20s will always be “your music,” so make sure you choose it wisely.
And remember, you don’t have to choose the stuff that’s on the radio all over the place already. You’ll be remembering that stuff anyway, whether you want to or not.
Don’t believe me? Ask your parents to watch the Prius commercial above, which features a new a capella version of a ’70s song that wasn’t liked by anybody who was cool (and yes, your parents were cool once upon a time). The commercial cuts out before the song gets to the chorus, but I’ll bet your mom and dad both can sing the chorus, or at least know the words. If they can’t, I’ll buy you both ponies for Christmas.
P.S. Ponies are, of course, contingent on parental permission to keep them in the yard.