Apr 26, 2013


A list of some of the worst advice I've received in my 45 years. I like to think much of it was well-intentioned, but I suspect there was a lot of projecting going on. Most of these gems came from one or both of my parents, and a few from well-meaning friends.

Photo courtesy of the internets
1. "Fun is not a worthwhile pursuit."
Honestly, I never really believed this. Still, it's stupid advice.

2. "Expect the worst and hope for the best."
I fell hard for this one, and spent most of my childhood and adult life waiting for something awful to happen. I still have difficulty just being happy.

3. "Brad will never change."
Okay, this was good advice at the time, but it still turned out to be wrong. I love my girlfriends!

4. "Never quit a steady job, no matter what."
This, just before I took a six-month sabbatical and returned to my previous employer as a consultant, billing four times what I was paid before.

5. "Don't trust anyone. Not your realtor, not your best friend, not even your husband."
Wow. Just... wow. Not a great way to experience intimacy. Enough said.

6. "If you have to ask for help, it's not the same as if someone offers."
I spent so many years waiting for people to read my mind. That didn't work very well, and when I finally learned to ask for help, it was every bit as good—maybe better—than when people offered. It gave me a sense of control over my needs, and made it easier for me to help others who were brave enough to ask.

7. "You could manage your depression with diet and exercise, you know."
I am not exaggerating when I say I would be dead if it weren't for antidepressants. And yes, I have tried EVERYTHING ELSE, including talk therapy, diet and exercise, homeopathic crap, acupuncture, hypnosis, meditation, and a smelly shaman I met in Guatemala. (Okay, I made up that last one.) To those with so little understanding of chronic, clinical depression, I say: lucky you! And, you know, don't speak.

8. "Don't get a dog. You'll lose it someday and it will break your heart. It's not worth it."
I got my first dog when I was in college. She was a year old, and we were together 15 more years. She died in my arms and it broke my heart more than I ever imagined possible. But it was worth it, and I will do it again and again and again until the day I die. Dogs rule.

9. "Save the best for last."
What does this horrible cliché even mean? If I save the best for last, I'll be enjoying the shit out of all that mediocre stuff until... when? The end of the meal? Retirement?

10. "I don't think you should bother taking calculus again. You passed."
Oh, freshman year of college. While a D- is a passing grade, I should have taken that class again if only to prove to myself that I could do better. Going to class might have been a good start. Studying earlier than the night before the exam would have helped. Most important, I should have taken college more seriously from the start, an expensive lesson in priorities.

What badvice have you received?