Hello, teen. I assume someone you know has forwarded you this — unless you came to it on your own, which seems unlikely. Either way, thanks for giving any of what I’ve written here any of your valuable time at all.
My name is John Shore. I am not a teenager — though, like all people over twenty, I feel like one. But I’m not, and haven’t been for what is bound to seem to you like an extraordinarily long time. I’m fifty. Fifty!
Yet, crazily enough, I still feel about … well, twelve.
Have you ever heard of Sigmund Freud, the “Father of Psychology”? Sigmund Freud is as famous as famous gets for figuring out more than anyone ever had before him — or for at least more explicitly explaining more than anyone ever had before him — how human beings think, feel, and experience their lives. One of the things for which SF is most known for is his assertion that people, basically, never get past about the age of twelve. At best.
We are all arrested in our adolescence, he said. By that he meant that most people — being, like, 99% of people — are stuck thinking and feeling throughout their lives pretty much exactly the same way they thought and felt when they were about twelve years old.
Like zillions of people before me, I have actually found that to be pretty dang true. The #1 reason this is true is because, as it turns out, there isn’t a whole lot about life left to learn beyond whatever you’ve learned about it by the time you were about twelve.
Oh, sure, there’s lots of details that it’s hard to really grasp until you’ve got enough raw years behind you for the sort of “Been there; done that” savoir-faire that’s so popular amongst people who know their wines. But what really matters in life is emotion. And the bottom line is that by the time you’re about twelve, you have very intensely, under very many different circumstances, experienced just about every emotion that any human ever can experience.
Grief. Joy. Sorrow. Regret. Envy. Love. Passionate dedication. Determined resolution.
The heartbreak of psoriasis.
Okay, maybe not that. But something close enough to it.
Anyway, if you’re a teenager, here’s my Quick, Extremely Solid Advice: Do. Not. Worry.
I’m telling you not to worry because — surprise! — you’re right.
You’ve been right all along.
People really are as crazy as you think they are. They always have been. And (trust me) they always will be.
You can’t escape the crazy. Crazy is to humans like air is to birds. It’s what they move in.
And what you’ve always thought was true will, in fact, always remain true, if you just let it. And that is that just because other people are crazy does not meant that you have to be.
In the end — and in every way that anywhere along the line ever matters — right always wins. Always, always, always.
People are crazy. But what’s true never is.