I’m 31 now. Ancient, past my prime, and “should be starting a family” come to mind.  I still have a lot of goals now that I wish I had undertaken earlier in my life, a lot of things I’ve yet to do and all the while that clock is ticking. Seems like only yesterday I was that fresh, teenage, student-athlete in high school with no idea of what he was doing. Here’s the advice I would give to myself then.

1) Value your relationships.

Not just the intimate ones, but all of the friendships too. If I were to subtract my work and Facebook friendships (I dunno… It’s just not the same), I’m left with about a handful of people that I’ve kept in touch with. Don’t forget about your friends as you grow up, go to school, and move away. Dont let them go to waste.

2) Who you are is not who you will be.

Can only speak for myself, but the culmination of who I am today, what I believe, and what I stand for has been in the making since college and is still growing. Yea, I had crazy wild beliefs when I was younger and went along on my friend’s bandwagon, yea I was unsure of myself and my future, but that’s okay. Life is an adventure. You don’t always have to have an end in sight. Enjoy the ride!

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3) Keep some things under the radar.

Knowledge is power. You don’t have to announce everything you’re doing for others’ approval or input. Ride your own wave. See those plans come to fruition.

4) Believe in yourself.

Lord knows there were dozens of people telling me what I could and could not accomplish, that I had to be realistic about my dreams and what I wanted to do with my life. F*ck that, f*ck them. Yea, they only wanted the best for me, but being who I was then, I listened to my loved ones and took their misinformed guidance as sacrosanct. Those are the types of things that stifle the creative mind. Live your life! Do what you dream! Even if those lofty goals come crashing down, you gave those ideas life when other people let their ideas miscarry.

5) Sometimes you gotta go at it alone.

I think the idea of having a partner at your side or a support group makes the tougher things bearable. But waiting for someone to be sold on your ideas halts them. When you rise to the top, plenty of people will be there willing and waiting to join up. So, for now, get out there and go get ’em.

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I share this with you in hopes that maybe it catches your ear. Life is precious and short at that, but most of all, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks, this life is yours to live how you see fit. Don’t limit yourself and don’t let anyone else stifle your dreams.

Frank Barber.