Im a parent and I lie……

I lie to my child, I lie to my wife, I lie to my friends…. It’s not that I have a condition or anything, well not a diagnosed one. It’s just that sometimes I can’t be bothered and it’s easier to lie than explain the reality. The best part is I know I am not alone, other parents lie too, those that say they don’t are lying… Oh the irony! The trick is how far can/do you string it? Stuff like Santa and the Easter bunny? That’s a good 10 years you get out of that lie, questions along the lines of “how are you feeling?” Fine.. I’m feeling fine… Well it’s a day to day lie but honestly you can string that one along till the kids move out of home… And then there is the “I’m going to lie cause I don’t want to be a social outcast in my mummies/daddies group” for example “I never smack my children”….. However little Johnny still has your hand print on his ass because 30 mins ago he tried to microwave the cat.

It’s almost socially acceptable, I say almost because most parents know when your lying but won’t say anything. Discussions about how the kids are doing at school where parents say they are happy with their child’s progress but inside they are disappointed as hell because their child doesn’t know the answer to 5 + 5 . Asking a parent “how are you?” Is usually met with “yeah I’m good” or “fine” or maybe some mild discrepancy of “a bit tired but overall pretty good” when in reality they are one toddler tantrum away from leaving the kids on the side of the local highway with a “free to good/any home” sign stapled to their chests.

So why is it we lie? Well it happens for lots and lots of reasons, for me it’s usually because I don’t want people to judge me as a parent or I am that ticked off about something my child did and I just don’t want to have to relive it by explaining it all over again. Parent shaming is alive and well in the 21st century, and because of this many parents lie. Child won’t eat? Society will think I’m a bad parent, child back chats? Society must think I’m a bad parent, child loses its shit completely because pepper pig just ended…. Society must think I’m a bad Parent. So, to make it easier and maybe because we just want to believe it ourselves, we lie. My child sleeps through the night, our kids are always well behaved, I never smack my children, I never want to walk out of the house with a small packed bag and go on holidays with out the kids. Lie lie lie. Best part is when you get into a larger group of parents and someone says something and everyone agrees….. Group lying….. We never feed our children sugar… We never put the TV on to get 5 mins peace…. Standing back and looking at it is almost comical but I’d be lying if i didn’t say I’d done it myself.

Parenting is a tough gig, no manual, shit hours, no pay, unruly customers and the constant wondering if your child is going to grow up semi normal. I know that some days I’ll lie even when I know who I’m talking to knows the true story. It’s just easier. So if your ever talking to me about parenting and I give you a bullshit answer, don’t judge….. Just know that what I’m telling you is a whole lot easier than trawling through the truth.

Dear Dads is now a nappy free household…..

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Let’s just think about that for a second. Because it means a whole lot more than just changing a pooey nappy! We no longer have to pack a bag to go out:
No Nappies
No Cream
No Spare clothes
No Wipes (except the ones my wife still carries in her handbag, baby wipes really do get everything off, seriously! Get on that)
This also means as long as the place we are going to has a toilet or a secluded tree we can just walk out the door….. Yes you heard it right, just walk out the door. Now, to my non parent readers this may not sound like a big deal, you decide to go out and you just leave, it’s no big deal. But to my parent readers of small children you will appreciate the “better than winning lottery” freedom we have just been given. It’s a god send. Need something from the shops? Let’s go. Want to go to the park for 30 mins? Why not. Have to pop over to a friends house? We are on our way.

How did it used to be? Well for my wife it was still a massive effort just to get to the front door but she could do it in about 15 mins, bags packed, girls prepped (fresh nappies) food sorted (snacks) water bottles and they were off. My personal best time? 40mins and I still forgot their favourite toys (completely forgot they brought those). I started by packing a bag without realising my wife already had one good to go ( discovered this later). Found all the stuff that I thought they might need, apparently they didn’t poo and wee enough to bring the whole nappy bag (30 nappies, who knew) and I only needed to bring one cream, not the 6 I packed, including the deepheat which I had grabbed in haste. I also packed enough food to feed an army even though “just a box of bickies” would do. Getting it all in the car to them find the fresh nappies I had put them in were now full of poo was frustrating. This is apparently a natural reaction that I have fallen for more than I’d like to admit too. So, changed nappies again and we are finally in the car, only for me to completely forget why we were even heading out…… Bugger it!! we are ready, we are going out!! I’m not wasting all that prep time. I see now why online shopping is so loved by families of young children.

So you can see why I am very excited that I now get back 40mins of my life every time I decide to take the girls out. Add on top of that the sheer joy of not having to wipe a poo covered bottom clean and do the blocked nose run to the bin with said poo nappy and I am one very happy dad. Our youngest is now toilet trained, which is a horrible way to say it as it sounds like we have taught her to sit/stay/roll over as well but I don’t know how else to explain it. I also don’t have to carry the back pack around when we go out which is a shame because I really think pink is my colour.

What this has been replaced with is very excited hi 5’s and screams of “I did a poo daddy” in public toilets all over our town. When our youngest meets people she now exclaims that she “did a poo/wee on the toilet”. Watching some peoples responses is priceless as it is not a common thing to congratulate people on. But I love it and get more excited than she does. She also has her sister running through the house yelling “Jade did a poo, Jade did a poo”. It’s the little things in our house that get us excited, and I can tell you….

Having two toilet trained little girls is awesome, heading out the door 5 mins after deciding to go is great, not cleaning pooey nappies is heaven, and running around giving everyone high 5’s in our house every time someone does a poo is a crack up… As I said….

It’s the little things….

The perfect family……

We all know that family…. You know the ones, the perfect couple all lovey dovey, great kids always behaving themselves, nice house that’s always spotless and a nice car. They go on awesome holidays and always have cool pics on social media. Some people look at them with longing of that life, some look at them with resentment, some people laugh at them because they are too perfect. Well I’m here to tell you that family does not exist……

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Why you ask….

Well just yesterday I had a chat with an old friend who told me I had that family… The one I just described above. At first I was a little proud, social recognition is a powerful confidence boost. But then I realised everything he was saying was not as shiny as he was making out… He had built this image in his mind of what my family was like but it was wrong. So very wrong. Yes I have a strong marriage with my beautiful wife, but we fight sometimes just like everyone else, he didn’t believe me. My house is always clean, well there is no rocket science to having a clean house but having a wife who is a stay at home mum helps, once my wife starts work I’ll have to chip in more, that and I have already had to paint the bathroom ceilings because the paint flaked away and the house is only 5yrs old…. He commented on how my awesome car is always clean, I said yeah on the outside but it’s a bio hazard on the inside of old tiny teddies, rocks, paper and who knows what, it’s my job to keep it spotless but j have been lazy lately and only washing the outside.

He said my daughters are awesome, behaved themselves when he saw us and are well mannered and articulate for their age, I shook my head and proceeded to tell him how my youngest now says “awww shit” every time she drops something and we have been battling every since her first day to get my eldest to eat and it’s exhausting. While I didn’t go and air my dirty laundry I did tell him some home truths to show we are not perfect in any way, but we are happy, and it appears this is what he is seeing. There are days I could pack it all in, get in my car and just drive away, solitude for the rest of my life. Those days are few and far between, my wife is the same, because we talk about it and don’t bottle it up. Being a parent is hard work… No manual, no training, just lots of situations and questions that no one has the right answer for, only opinions and experience to look back on… And judging… Lots and lots of judging by other people.

The whole conversation was a eye opener for me because there are families that I look at and think they are perfect, never in my wildest dreams did I think someone looked at me like that. Perception is a funny thing, it can really taint your view of the world. I know I won’t be so fast to judge parents in the future, because I don’t have it all figured out either.

Dear Dads cat……….

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Our cat………. I am going to admit it right here and now that I don’t like our cat. I don’t hate her, she is part of the family and I love her equally. I just prefer to not spend my free time with it. Why you ask? Cause our cat is an asshole. Yep you heard it, an asshole, and not just now and then but all the bloody time.

Eva is our family cat and we all love her, she is a part of the family. But if she was my child I would be sending her off to boarding school or some psychiatric hospital for people with severe social issues. Eva has the personality of a house brick, my wife would argue otherwise. But I think she has deep seeded issues that only strong drugs could fix. My wife and girls love Eva, they think she can do no wrong. But I can see it in her eyes that she is 90% of the time up to no good. She lays around like she owns the place and if I move her on I get the death look. The rest of the time she ignores me and pretends I don’t exist. Except at dinner time, then she is my best bloody friend and won’t stop talking to me – I feel used….

I’ll admit straight up that I am a dog person, I enjoy their company more and find them more practical for families, but yes I am biased. Eva won’t play with the girls where as the dogs do. Eva can’t come on walks because she looses her shit when we stick her on a leash, Missy and Tyson (our Rotties) love walks. Eva terrorises the neighbourhood birds and other wildlife, Missy and Tyson are flat out looking at a bird if it walks past them. We can take the dogs camping, I can’t even imagine the shit that Eva would get up to if we took her out bush.

Eva and I play a game, she spends all day trying to get in the house and all night trying to get out. I have taken it on as my job to ensure the Eva does not get what she wants. On occasion where I have failed in my mission Eva has gotten out at night and brought us some dead wildlife. Hence why I am ruthless in ensuring she stays inside at night. She also spends all day trying to sneak back inside so she can sleep all day. Over my dead body!! You want to sleep? Go find a nice spot in the sun. Or better yet, get a job and start contributing to the family.

The other night it was about 7:30pm and I needed to put the rubbish out, Eva heard me putting the keys in the door and came bolting into the lounge to execute her escape, she stopped in her tracks when she turned the corner and found me looking at her. She turned tail and scooted back into the bedroom. Not on my watch pussy cat!! My wife says I am paranoid, and I should give Eva a break. She agrees that Eva must stay inside at night but is not so fussed about her lounging around all day. I have other ideas.

In saying all this, if the wife and I are laying in bed Eva will come join us and 9 times out of 10 will lay next to me looking for pats. And I have to begrudgingly admit that she does get them from me because she is a family member and loved the same. I’m sure she is only doing it to make me feel bad, cause you know cats are that smart….

(Disclaimer: No cats were harmed in the making of this post. For all the crazy cat people out there: the above is satirical so please think before you post, love – All the dog people)

I have come to the conclusion that no one has normal kids……

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I have come to the conclusion that no one has normal kids, and all children were put on this earth to make parents pay for their sins!

A prime example of this is any child in an arcade full of games and the poor parents that have lost the flip of the coin to accompany them. The multiple flashing lights and buzzing sounds are perfect code to a child’s programmed mind to initiate freak out mode. And freak out they do! From trashing the basket ball throw that delivers redeemable tickets to kicking the machine that spits out candy when they fall off some moving edge (who thinks these things up?). I watched two boys that were about 10 walk into the arcade normal and as soon as they had their coins it was a switch going off in their head. Chaos ensued. I also don’t remember the arcades being so hi tech. It was all pin ball machines, shoot em ups and racing games when I was a boy. Now it’s all fully immersive 3D hunting games and fighter jet simulators.

Anyway, my two girls were great for the first 15 mins and then they started to lose the plot. Getting halfway through a game saying they were bored and moving on. They started yelling at each other for no reason and getting very moody. My wife and I saw the signs of impending melt downs and decided to make an exit. Only problem was, the place was built like a casino. We couldn’t find the exit… On our trek trying to find a way out we found a party room….yes a party room! I was baffled. Why on gods earth would you not only plan to take your own child to this place but invite other parents to leave their children with you while you fed them full of chocolate? Im sorry, but their are some sadistic people in this world, people that love torturing themselves, and this party room is proof. Maybe Police forces around the world could use it as a questioning technique to get adults to talk??? The torture it would be to stay in that room longer than 10mins. Not in a million years would I do that.

The older kids that were in the arcade were feral. They were pushing their way onto games and pinching other kids tickets. While I don’t consider myself a helicopter parent (does anybody?!?!?) I was keeping a close eye on my miss 4. A much older boy thought he would take a shot at pushing in on her turn just so he didn’t have to wait. He hadn’t seen me standing 2 feet away…… Helicopter parent turned into raging inferno Dad and said young boy got told so loud and clear to “back the hell up” I’m pretty sure his head is still spinning. I’m all for my girls finding their own way in the world, but mess with them on my watch and you’ll lose, Every…… Single…….. Time….
It will be some time before we return to the arcade, it has changed a lot since I was a kid. Children seem to run the place now, that or I’m just getting old. I prefer the beach anyway. It’s free, fresh and always better than being inside.

On a side note, I destroyed the basket ball hoop game. So much so it denied me my tickets!!!!

Don’t let them fool you Dear Dads…. It is war

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Up until now we have been able to divide and conquer……

I’m not talking global conflict, I’m not talking big business I’m not even talking local council. Nope I am talking my two daughters. The last four years have been interesting to say the least. However the wife and I have have won every battle and every war purely by working together and ensuring we both knew what was going on with each daughter. Sometimes it’ll was just too easy, like when our youngest came out crying saying her sister hit her, instead of asking our eldest “did she hit your sister” we asked her “where did you hit your sister”. Every single time she would show us and we would then ask why. Same went for food, we would give her two choices in food, one that we know she really disliked and one that she mildly tolerated. The mildly tolerated one she would never eat, but gives it a go when faced with a worse option.

Always always always the eldest would pick the second option. Until now….. Now she gets off her chair comes to the pantry and shows us what she wants, if we try and argue or misdirect her she brings us right back to the item that she wants. She also enlists the help of her sister telling her sister what she should ask for. For example, the eldest loves burgers, but she knows if she asks we will usually say no. So what she does is tells her younger sister to ask for chips and nuggets and she asks for burgers because she knows if they both ask she has a better chance of us saying yes. We have even heard her hitting her sister up quietly before they even come running out too us.

The wife and I now have to be on our game as they even wait until we are not together to ask us stuff. Can I now tell you that the eldest is four and the youngest is two and a half. Very cunning. It’s like being in a constant hostage negotiation with a ADD midget. Sorry make that two midgets because as soon as one starts the second jumps on the band wagon and drives it for all its worth. Even to the point of dual tanties in the shopping centre to blackmail us into giving them sweets. It’s war I tell you. So the wife and I converse on everything just so that we don’t contradict each other because the girls will see a chink in our armour and exploit it for all its worth.

Occasionally we give in because it is just easier. Some times we admit defeat and the girls rejoice with victory. What they don’t know is that what ground we have given up was something small we were happy to hand over anyway, but we also like to keep the girls on their toes.

So I am now thinking of a career change into extreme hostage situations.. I figure if I am going to be doing it all day long I might as well get paid for it…

Sometimes I can be too hard……

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One of the greatest gifts my daughters have ever given me is the gift of compassion. I don’t have a cold soul and I know how to show I care and love, but as a stereotypical white male I am not looked at in a normal nuclear family as the one who hands out the hugs and cuddles when someone stubs a toe or walks into a door. However, I am pleased to say when one of my daughters comes crying for what ever reason, they will run into my arms as much as my wife’s.

Just on this, the last time I had to deal out a hug was because Miss four was trying to tell Miss 2.5 that she was not allowed into the toy room because she wasn’t tall enough. This left Miss 2.5 in tears and heading in my direction. Once I got it out of my sobbing daughter what had transpired I set off to find my other daughter to rectify the situation. She was still in the toy room but was no longer interested in the height requirements for playing in the toy room. I told her that she was not allowed to stop her sister from entering the room. Then the 20 “why’s” started. Eventually it came to pass that an innocent sign had started this argument a few months ago. A ride at a show had a height marker on it and the girls were disappointed that they weren’t tall enough to get on the ride. Miss 4 had then turned the toy room into a ride and had lowered the height requirement so that she could play but her sister couldn’t. Very convenient…

When I asked could she lower the height so her sister could play as well she said of course as she didn’t want her sister missing out on the fun. Broke my heart…. And there it was…. Compassion….. Staring me in the face.

A few days later, Miss 4 was in the kitchen while we were unpacking the shopping. She was doing her usual and demanding lots and getting in the way. Frustrated with the noise, the weight of the bags and the rain complicating everything I yelled at Miss 4 to “get the hell out of the kitchen”. She burst into tears and ran to the couch. Even more frustrated with myself now for making my daughter cry, I went over to her and asked what was wrong. She just wanted a bickie, and would then get back on the couch and “not get in your way daddy”. I told her I was sorry for yelling and instead of just smiling like I usually get, she replied “that’s ok daddy, I forgive you”. “I still love you daddy”……..

For the second time in a week my daughter showed me compassion. Teaching me to forgive and forget. As I said earlier I sometimes am too hard. I want my girls to be well regarded in society and grow up normal by society standards. But not at the expense of their spirit. I want them to run and scream and have fun and not have to be quiet just because it’s always the right thing to do. I want them to make mistakes because that’s how you learn. I want my daughters to get it wrong now and then and not have the added stress of Dad getting angry because they did something I didn’t agree with. Something I think we all skip past now and then.

My daughters are my teachers and I am a very proud parent to admit that they have taught me more about life in four short years than I have learnt in my own in the last 36yrs.

Dear Dads, Why don’t we talk about being Dads?

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I know a lot of guys who are Dear Dads but through my limited time of being a Dad of four years I have never really held an in depth conversation with another male adult about being a Dad. Mums do it by default, sometimes it’s outside of their control as the first thing people ask are “how’s the kids?”… I’m not saying that Dear Dads don’t do it, but in my world it’s not the norm.

My wife asked me how my day was the other day and I responded “I spent all day talking about Jades toilet training”. I was met with raised eyebrows. She knew I was joking. Not because I don’t talk about it, sometimes you can’t shut me up, but in the world of dads it’s not at the top of our social discussion list. This is not saying that dads don’t talk about it. I have learnt some cool tricks about being a dad from other dads, but our social network for fatherhood hints and tips is not as abundant as mums.

I’ll admit that sometimes things happen and I have absolutely no idea how to handle it or even know who to discuss it with, bar my wife. It would be good to get a Dear Dads perspective, but we don’t always feel comfortable picking up the phone saying “my child is having a total melt down what should I do?” As opposed to “my car won’t start, where’s the first place to look?”. It really is a weird situation because once I or another dad starts talking about being a dad, the ideas flow. “Your kid did that? Try this it worked for me” or “wait till he starts walking, then you will understand the need for good cupboard locks” etc.

Once I get into a convo with another Dear Dad about the quirks of fatherhood it’s always a pleasant and usually informative conversation. Where I can, I impart knowledge to soon to be dads and act like a sponge to those dads who have gone before me. Any tips and tricks for dealing with the mega melt downs, back chat, stubbornness etc etc is always welcome. Which after these conversations I always walk away with the exact same thought. No one and I mean no one, except maybe SuperNanny on the BBC knows what the hell they are doing. We are all “winging” it and anyone who tells you otherwise has rocks in their heads.

Even from raising the first to the second child, is worlds apart. My two while they look like twins have the personality difference of Jekyll and Hyde. How I think they will react to a situation is usually only 50% correct, though as they are getting older my guessing is getting better. I read a lot about parenting and even in the parenting self help books (despite their glorious claims) it’s a best guess because just like a finger print, every child is different.

So if you see a Dear Dad in Bunnings or out and about, don’t just talk about the local cricket team or how “work” is going, try your luck, he may just chew your ear off about being a Dear Dad.

They couldn’t go and be infectious somewhere else?

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This week my two girls got a cold/flu thing. Miss 4 and miss 2.5 did the usual and found the flem infested kid at the play ground and hung off him like a cheap costume jewellery necklace. However it wasn’t until about 24hrs later that the symptoms showed up and the wife and I did the whole back track and a few curse words when we settled on the culprit. I’m all for kids catching colds, helps build their immunity systems up (to a point) but Jesus Christ I want to gouge my eye balls out right now.

You see kids can’t just get sick and be happy with it. When a child gets a cold/flu it’s the end of the world, much like manflu. Children also have to touch every single bloody thing in the house so that unless you plan on a) leaving the country b) putting them in a vacuum lock bag c) following them around constantly spraying them with glen 20 your going to get a cold/flu/gastro insert disgusting flemy disease here. It’s inevitable. Especially if your darling children like to bury themselves in the back yard or chase the sick kid around the play ground….. Why do they do this???

So this week has been a joyous week of tissues, hot showers, constant cleaning and using glen 20 by the truck load. Our house smells like a hospital and I feel like I have been hit by a truck. My wife has not faired much better and we have discussed at length just how hard it would be cut the house in 2 and effectively seal the girls off from the world till they are 21. The hardest part is having to deal with the vial snot infested kids when you are feeling on deaths door yourself. I envy my single friends that have a sickie day and hide under the doona, drinking soup and watching dodgy mid day tv. While they may feel like they are dying they actually have no idea.

Add two sick kids to the scene and there is no doona time, there is no nice and quite, there is no sleep till you feel better…… It’s all about keeping them as quiet and comfortable as possible to stop yourself from loosing your shit completely, screaming “fuck it I’m out” and heading out the front door with two suitcases under your arms telling your husband you will be back “sometime next June”. There is lots of washing and constant nose blowing and random tantrums for no reason….. Honestly, just them being quiet is far better than any sleep I remember when I was sick before kids. I am amazed at how far physically and mentally my wife and I have pushed our selves this week. I got up this morning and came to work, I mean I could have high fived the grim reaper on the way out the door because I was in a fit state to crawl into a coffin, but it was still a better alternative to dealing with snotty noses and vomiting kids.

So if my girls are hanging out with your kids and your child is sick, don’t be offended if I douse them in Glen 20 for like 25 mins…. It’s more of a protection instinct for myself than anything else!!

A Dear Dads Special – Open letter to my 17 yr old self

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Dear Dan,

Thought I’d drop in and say hi. You don’t know me yet, but I know you. You’re the geeky kid in school with very few friends. You’re always trying to be cool, but missing the mark miserably which has brought about endless bullying. I have watched you walk the school halls trying to make friends but always being the new kid never really fitting in. It’s easy for me to say, however you need to listen. Just relax. Don’t be so intense. While you think sacrificing your self-esteem so you can be popular is a good thing, I’m here to tell you it isn’t. These people your trying to impress are just kids themselves and will very shortly be very very little fish in an incredibly huge pond. They are not your friends so stop trying. You know who your friend is? The German exchange student who is always happy to see you, that guy is your friend. He doesn’t judge you because of the shoes you wear or the hair cut you rock. Just on this, don’t give yourself an undercut, you look ridiculous. It’s not your style it is someone else’s. Find your own style, rock that and forget the haters. The German exchange student is the one you should be hanging around, at least he shows you the time of day, but right now you think your too cool for him don’t you? Well my friend your not, but it will be a while before you learn this lesson.

And your girlfriend, the one you think you will be with for the rest of your life? Hate to break it to you mate but she is cheating on you. Yep, true story… With your best mate. But you will find this out in about 4 months at toys R us in the city, just after you get her pregnant. Honestly I’m not making this up. Your life is going to go into a flat spin. But I’m here to tell you it will be ok, it really will. Your world won’t end. In fact all of this will make you stronger. You won’t see it at the time, but these few events will shape your personality for adulthood. Your going to join the army, cool huh? Play with some cool big boy toys, meet some truly awesome people that you will be friends with for a long long time. You will get to see the world and it will be then that you understand that the world is bigger than Midland. There are more important things than the latest sneakers and the coolest haircut, but your passion for cars I can tell you will burn strong for years to come.

Why am I telling you this? Because I know about the day in about 4 months where it all gets to much for you. I know about the day you go up to the quarry and break down sitting on the quarry edge. Thinking that no one cares. Thinking that you should just step off. But mate, your parents care way more than you can imagine, your future wife cares, your future children care. They need you to be strong. I need you to be strong. It gets better. The way you feel when your sitting there will pass. Yeah your going to make some mistakes, some that you will pay for for a long time. But your stronger than you think. Give yourself credit for making it this far. Be proud of who you are. And never give up.

Things won’t always go your way, your going to make dumb choices. But you will learn from them. You will also make some great choices when it really matters. Relax and enjoy the ride. Your world wont always revolve around you, you will one day become a dad. It will be as awesome as you have always imagined. But that’s a lot for you to take in right now. I guess if I had to leave you with one piece of advice it would be………

Just be you.

No one will respect you if you try to be something else. Oh and if anyone ever says “let’s go out on an all night bender” say no. Trust me the fun is not worth the hangover.

From

Your future self.