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October 14, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Fixing Your Life (Because Ours Are Written Off)

Hi Hector and Janet,

Is there any advice you’ve really wanted to give this year and haven’t had the chance?

Regards,

The Flimsy Excuse

——

Hello, you sneaky little snake,

I can’t think of any advice I’ve really wanted to give. On reflection, I am disappointed that I didn’t write a column entirely in U2 song titles. At any given time you are, after all, stuck in a moment you can’t get out of. I was even going to get them to print it on pink paper so that you were seeing it the same colour as Bono would. I suppose I’m also a little disappointed I didn’t use this column to plug my brother’s ask.fm, on which he responds to questions like, “What’s your favourite berry?” with: “Fucking excellent question. Really made my night.”

I don’t know. What do you want me to say? If you’re in unrequited love that’ll never go anywhere, just wait and hope that you eventually stop feeling that way. That is the worst, but it’s pretty great when you realise that you no longer want what you used to. Go to more comedy. Contribute to my upcoming book that’s made up entirely of my friends writing columns in the style of Shelley Bridgeman and Megan Nicol Reed. Now I’m just barking directives at you.

My advice to you is to be nice to other people and try to get Labour to drop NZ Power. I also think you should have a coffee with the person to whom you talk most on the internet without really ever meeting up in real life. Lastly, when you feel like things are hard, imagining a movie montage of them getting better is self-indulgent and ultimately counter-productive.

Yours transcendentally (given I was listening to Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ just before and the Monty Python sketch ‘How Not to be Seen’ started playing over it),

Janet.

——

Hi, Flimsy

Look, there are lots of things I wanted to say, and plenty more that I wanted to do. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to squeeze them all in, but I’ll try.

I really wanted to obliquely reference every romantic encounter I’ve ever had at university, just to see if anyone would get it. I wanted to spell a message out to someone in the first letter of every word in a sentence. I wanted to follow my own advice, primarily to communicate more and to focus less on myself.

So, with that in mind, here are some of the general tidbits that might have been lost in the fog. Don’t take yourself too seriously, but at the same time make sure you have faith in yourself. I could set most things up in that neat kind of dichotomy, but instead I’ll just say this: everything in life sits on some continuum or another. You’ll do well to stay in the middle. Being earnest or ironic, being relaxed and being focussed, chasing love and letting it go. Everything in moderation.

I mean, that’s pretty easy to say and hard to do, but all the best things are. Aspire to be friends with your heroes, don’t try to be them. That way you’ll be certain to add something to society instead of repeating someone else’s impact, and even if you don’t get anywhere close you’ll still have your own personality to be proud of.

Something I’ve learned to value is emotional honesty, and I wish I had been able to work it into more of my columns. It’s hard to get by without being true to yourself, and it’s particularly hard to be open with others when you don’t even know the truth for yourself.

If you want to be a writer, actually write things all the time. If you want to be anything which is just a verb with an -er at the end, go out and verb that verb. That’s the only way you can ever get better at it, after all.

Don’t ever break up with anyone via text. Don’t ever break up with someone using the lyrics from ‘Call Your Girlfriend’. Learn the value of Real Talk, but also know when soft words are better than hard.

We all make mistakes, and most of us don’t have pseudonyms to hide behind when we act like arrogant fools. So forgive people for that, and try not to judge people too harshly on first impressions. They’re probably judging you, but who gives a damn because you can’t see inside their heads.

Finally, if you want your friends to stop making fun of you about something, steer into the bend. Take their joke too far, ruin it, and they won’t find it funny any more. Now you know.

Yours, desperately in earnest,

Hector.

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