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In which John shares some advice.
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Good morning, Hank. It's Tuesday. In general, I'm a little reluctant to give advice, because I don't know how to be a person. I mean, what the heck is even happening right now? Like, I'm either inside of a body that's made of meat, or else I am a body that is made of meat, and I'm trying to live in a world where literally everything dies except for things that never lived. It's a bit of a weird situation. 

Also, what do I know about being 25 today? When I was 25, there were no iPhones or YouTube or COVID. Really, I think you should be at least slightly suspicious of anyone who does claim to be able to advise you on how to live your life, unless those people are, like, loved ones who know you intimately, which, come to think of it, will be my first piece of advice - as with candy, be wary of advice coming from strangers.

What else? I advise you to floss. I know that it's unpleasant and kind of annoying, but I'm a big fan of flossing, not only for dental health, but also because it's a wondrous act of faith. Flossing is a way of current you saying, "I believe there will be a me in the future who will be older and more frail than current me with less healthy teeth and gums, and I floss today not for current me, but for that future me." It's a kind of beautiful thing. Same with sunscreen, by the way.

I advise you to write your memoirs. This needn't be a book or anything. It can be 16 years of weekly YouTube videos or a 37-hour voice note to yourself or a series of reviews on a five-star scale that's secretly a memoir. But I advise you to find some way of telling the story of what it's like to be you.

Now, you may think, "Nobody will read my memoir," but here you are mistaken. The only meaningful record I have of my great-grandfather's existence is a 17-page memoir he wrote in the 1930s, and I am extremely grateful for it. But also, as somebody who reads a lot of history and writes a little bit of nonfiction, I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to read a memoir that doesn't exist. And many of the people whose memoirs I wanna read did not consider themselves noteworthy, but the thing is, literally everyone is worthy of note.

Also, here is some advice from Kurt Vonnegut: "I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'" I found this very helpful, because otherwise the happy moments just kind of float past without acknowledgment, and only the hard times get dwelled upon.

This is also why I try to keep a bottle of sparkling grape juice or champagne on hand at all times, because what if there is good news that needs to be celebrated, like somebody got a promotion at work or somebody had an unusually good day? Let's pop open some bubbly! I just love to commemorate an occasion. Commemoration is one of my favorite things humans do, alongside commiseration.

A few more pieces of advice: First, I advise you to remember that you are an important presence on this planet and a wondrous one. There are more viruses in a cup of seawater than there have ever been humans on this Earth. You are extraordinary, and I advise you to remember that - without ever becoming, like, too self-satisfied.

I also advise you to collaborate, because you don't really do much alone. Even the stuff that feels alone, like reading, for instance, involves lots of other people - not just the author of the book, but the person who chose the font, and the people who taught you to read, and so on. Collaboration is how we make meaning together, it's how we address the disease of loneliness together, and it's how we solve our shared problems together.

Lastly, when you can, think about where your attention is going, what you're caring about and attending to, and why. Because, in my opinion anyway, human thought and consciousness is the single most valuable resource in the history of our planet. So thank you for being here with us, and thank you for sharing your attention with us. Hank, I'll see you on Friday.