The new Bugatti just came out, who wants to buy it? Be careful about raising your hand. Too many of us fret over the clothes we’ll never wear, the cars we’ll never drive, the places we’ll never go, the models we’ll never kiss, the friendships we’ll never make. People have always been keen to point out what they don’t have, whether it be material items, experience, or social status. Maybe they’re competing with others, or wanting a taste of another life. I’ve felt it all before, you can trust me. Hopefully you’ll be conscious enough to learn from me.
Remind yourself of the things you can’t have, and only embrace them for a second if you can. Take my example. Whenever I’m at a mall, I head straight to the nicest department store to try on suits. I know I don’t have the money or the need to buy them, it’s just neat to post selfies on Twitter. It’s sort of a tease for myself, but there are loads more students worried about not being able to get a Lakers jersey with their name custom-written on the back. Some hope to compete with others for prestige. One may brag about the new hoodie his grandma bought him from American Eagle Outfitters, but I can one-up him with my $3,000 fitted wool suit from Saks Fifth Avenue. Where’s the joy in that? I’d sound like a pompous rich kid with nothing better to do. Wanting something just to brag about it is the dumbest thing; humans like me have evolved to lust for something without much thought of how they’ll feel about it afterwards. It’s like when I bought myself a bright blue blazer and only wore it once. So don’t do anything just to appear rich, because eventually it’ll make you resent the life you live. If you’ve had a pipe dream of becoming a billionaire, you’re going to need to work tirelessly and go to one of the finest schools. Who has willpower to do that anyway? Most kids, in fact, would be just fine going on a dinner date at Red Robin. I would rather take a girl to 801 Chophouse. It’s never going to happen, I realize I set the bar too high. Nothing is enough for us. And it’s not just materialism.
There are those who say experience equates to wisdom and strength, and we’ll chase after it. Now everyone wants to add to their bucket list, and it’ll bother them forever until they do it. There are those who say you’ve never lived until you’ve tried LSD and weed together, or jumped off a ledge on a skateboard, or lost your virginity. It only convinces other teenagers to try these things. Learn from me: at age nine, I longed to ride a scooter barefoot down a hill as my friend could, and I fell, hard. A kid tells me, “Dude, I went cage diving in the Bahamas and saw a 20-foot great white shark!” Green with envy, I shrug it off and reply, “Well, I rode on a pterodactyl’s back and used a magic grenade launcher to kill Martians!” See? The desire for experience corrupts us just as much as the desire to buy a big mansion in Beverly Hills.
The lust that hurts us the most, especially teens of my age, is the desire to connect with other people. I’ve had crushes before, and I was so forward and flirtatious, I would’ve driven away an ogre. It’s best not to come off like she’s the only thing on Earth to complete you. What’s the best you can do, brag to your buddies that you made out with her for four hours in the backseat of your mom’s Chevy (we all itch to say we’ve done it)? Don’t even think about wanting friends too badly. This is what that drove me to run away from home in the middle of the night, only to be tracked down by cell phone after 10 or 11 miles. What I wanted was to be able to talk to her as a friend; I overreacted and accused her of hating my guts. In other words, don’t just control your desire to earn something, also be careful of how you express it.
So look what happens when you desire too much. If you’d like to wander the streets with 50 cents in your pocket, give in and buy it all. Go be rich for a day, and rent a Porsche 918. Strike up a simple (not too personal) conversation with that nice girl you’ve ached to meet. If you want too much, you won’t focus on a nice family and cozy house to be thankful for. Don’t worry, be happy.