Dear Twentysomething: Chuck Goodman

Dear Me,

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is some people’s definition of insanity! While there are lots of ways to interpret this quote, one way relates to what I would tell my 20-something-year-old self. I might say, “learn from your mistakes!” That is a pretty negative way of looking at things. I should learn from my successes too. This brings me to the idea that most people do eventually learn, but often it is too late. But enough verbose piffle! You are older now, less time, so get to the point! Here are ten tips to help make your life a little better. Things I know now, I wish I knew then!

  1. First thing I would say is you are going to make mistakes and probably lots of them. Learn from them and don’t spend your time dealing with regrets. If you learn from your mistake, maybe you won’t repeat it? Even if you don’t, you are not making good use of your time drowning in a pool of regrets. So “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming.” So my first tip to myself is learn more, lament less!
  2. Most of what really seems to matter now doesn’t really matter at all. I hope at this point I have learned what really matters. (Life long learner…still learning)  Before you conclude that some event is a crisis and you just want to die, stop, take a breath and ask, “does it really matter in the big picture?”  Try and open your eyes wide and see beyond the present. Will life go on? Will this really matter to you in 10, 20 or 30 years? Probably not, so get over it. Tip two is look at the big picture, only a few of the details are needed for a happy life!
  3. Sometimes you are just not sure what to do. Uncertainty leads to fear, which precludes action. You spend so long thinking about what you are going to do that by the time you decide to do it, you can’t. Sometimes you just need to follow your heart. So my third tip to myself is don’t wait too long to act, follow your heart, or it may be too late! This idea is well expressed in Madeleine Peyroux’s lyrics: 
  4. You can cry a million tears
    You can wait a million years
    If you think that time will change your ways
    Don’t wait too long

  5. You keep trying to please so many people. Tip four to myself is trying to please other people is pretty much futile!
  6. When you get older, you will see a card in the pharmacy where you work. It will say something like youth is fleeting, immaturity lasts forever. My fifth tip is don’t leave your inner child behind (Any reference to NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND is regretted and honestly accidental…grrrrr).
  7. There will be times when you pretend to be someone or something other than who you are. Perhaps you want to fit in or just be loved and accepted. It doesn’t really work. My sixth tip to myself is be yourself. This is a bigger idea than it seems because if you accept and love yourself, you will not need to be anyone else.
  8. It is hard for me to look into your 20-something eyes and tell you to talk less and listen more. It’s hard because I am still working on it. Perhaps since I am not there yet, I can quote this poem. It makes the point better than any words I can find. 
  9. A wise old owl sat on an oak,
    The more he saw the less he spoke;
    The less he spoke the more he heard;
    Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?

  10. You are going to have more to do; you are going to eventually be very busy. You may feel you don’t have time for things you want to do. I want my eight tip to be pursue your passion, no matter how busy you are!
  11. This is the penultimate tip I have for you. Please allow me to quote a cartoon character that will be created in a few more years. “Remember as far as anyone knows, we’re a nice normal family.”– Homer Simpson. The point is everyone is a little messed up, accept it. Your family is included in the everyone and SO ARE YOU!  Love your family and your friends and don’t try to change them. We all have our issues, but family is a great blessing. So the 9th tip from me to me is love your family as much as chocolate or fudge, even if it has a few nuts.
  12. One thing I have learned for sure is the more I know, the more I see what I don’t know. People may eventually look up to you for answers and expect you to have them all. So before I finish I want to my last tip to be, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know. “

See you in about 30 years! Thank you for your time.



In addition to being my dad, Chuck Goodman is a pediatrician and math professor. When he’s not working, he can usually be found taking care of his saltwater fish tank, riding his horse Kacie, moderating Wiki Answers, or eating large quantities of dark chocolate.


2 Responses to "Dear Twentysomething: Chuck Goodman"

  • Busy doesn’t even begin to describe it! So true.

    1 Michelle said this (December 10, 2011 at 8:28 AM)

  • I love that you had your dad participate! So sweet!

    2 Thinking Cat said this (December 12, 2011 at 8:31 PM)