Day 97

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Ed: "I guess I'd say have an idea of what you want to do before you go to college. It took me six years to complete college because I bounced around a lot and took a lot of classes that I wasn't interested in and that caused my grades to suffer. The whole process would have been a lot easier if I had just spent some time understanding what I was interested in."

Day 96

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger selves?"

Tim: "I'd say take a moment to pause, and think about what you're doing, think about your future. I tend to do a lot, and not think."

Ben: "Take classes more seriously. I could have gotten much better grades if I had!"

Day 95

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Vimki: "Be less kind and be less nice. When I get to know people and I connect, I will give everything to them. Irrespective of what you have done, what you are, I will commit. And I will push you to be something amazing. And that can backfire, and can hurt you. Learn to set boundaries."

Day 94

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

McKenna: "Don't worry so much…everything always works out in the end!"

Day 93

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Connor: "Invest in relationships that you care about. I have missed out on two relationships because I didn't put the time in and I regret it."

Day 92

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Becca: “Saying “I think I can” is terrible advice because it allows for uncertainty to take over; say “Why not?” instead. Patience will pay off. Trust your mom. Trial and error is how you learn. Always offer your food. Hair will grow back, but find a better hat. Sometimes doctors mean well. Bite the insides of your cheeks to stop from laughing at jokes that you don’t want to laugh at. Cantaloupe is better than granola bars. You’ll know your limits and your comfortability with yourself. Burn that bridge when you get there. Learn to drive stick shift asap. Ginger ale is good for upset stomachs, sip it slowly. “Boys will be boys” is terrible excuse for anything, educate why it is wrong. Picking just one thing to say or think or feel is the most impossible decision, go all or nothing.”

P.S. I met Becca on my flight to Chicago today and really enjoyed speaking with her throughout the duration of the flight. I can’t remember being as wise as her at only 17 years old!

Day 91

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Tim: "Don't eat junk food, do more sports, study better at school, and be a better person."

Ernie: "Woof! Woof! Woof!"

Tim is 15 years old and just moved to Austin, TX from Moscow, Russia with his parents, and dog, Ernie. He is very excited about starting school in a couple of weeks! Ernie seemed very excited about the move as well despite the long flight and jet-lag!

Day 90

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Annie: "I'd tell my younger self to not worry so much and to not sweat the small stuff. Everything comes together in the end. Everything seems to be momentous and huge in the moment, but in retrospect you live to see another tomorrow!"

 

Day 89

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Sara: "Don't care so much about what other people think of you. It has affected a lot of the decisions I've made in my life. I feel like I made some of those decisions more for them than for myself."

Day 88

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Tyriek: “When you’re younger, you’re in a hurry to grow up. You want to be an adult and do stuff that adults do. So, I’d say don’t grow up so fast. Also, be more social. I used to be very anti-social as a kid."

Day 87

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Him: "You don't know what you don't know, so take more chances…things always have a way of working out one way or the other. Things will be as they should!"

Day 86

Me: What advice would you give to your younger selves?"

Shayan: "Do stuff earlier than I did. Don't be lazy, be more responsible. We were trying to get into medical school, but we slacked a lot, so we didn't get through. We got into dentistry instead. It's not bad, but we could have done it earlier. Anyway, it all worked out in the end. We had a good time when we were slacking, and we don't necessarily regret it."

Amir: "Also, I did stuff in between, I worked and that's a different type of experience. If I had come into dentistry earlier, I wouldn't have had the same experience. Also, network, network, network. I used to have a few friends, didn't really care about talking to as many people. It makes stuff a lot easier if you network, you are less confused, you learn from other people, find easier way to do things."

Day 85

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Courtney: "Remain hopeful. We all go through ups and downs, but maintain a positive outlook. Things always work out in the end, so no point getting stressed about it!"

Day 84

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Geraldo: "I'd tell myself to not worry about taking risks and don't let fear hold you back from doing what you want to do in life. Going through failure sometimes makes you a better person in the long run. And take more city exams, you're young! I am totally not about putting myself out there. Fear of failure just stops you from doing what you want to do. I worry about the bad part instead of thinking about what could go right. We tend to spend too much time planning, and not enough time living in the now and doing!"

Day 83

Today was a special day! I got to meet Brandon Doman of The Strangers Project. Brandon has been collecting anonymous handwritten stories from strangers since 2009. He now has a collection of ~25,000 journal entries. You can learn more about his project at http://www.strangersproject.com . You can also follow him on Facebook or Instagram . His first book is available for purchase on Amazon.

It was an honor to meet Brandon and of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask him my question.

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Brandon: “I would just encourage my younger self to continue attempting any of these ideas I have had. This wasn’t my first idea, there were other ones that I didn’t do that I have no idea whether they’d have worked or not. I am very grateful that this one did, but I’d just encourage myself not to be hesitant about trying new things and seeing what works.”

 

Day 82

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Pim: "Pay attention in class. Learn more. And take care of yourself!"

Day 81

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Dillon: "The advice I would give to my younger self would be to be more open about doing things in general. I have missed out on opportunities that I should have taken advantage of, but I didn't simply because I thought about what could go wrong if I took it."

Day 80

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger selves?"

Them: "Do less drugs. I mean drugs are alright, but I think I did too many. I'd not have married at 22 years old, I was too young. I wish I had waited a few years. Get outside, exercise and get more sun so that you have stronger bones. I broke my hip when I was 16. I'd have warned myself that my whole family has celiac and instead of getting diagnosed now and having brittle bones, I could have been more healthy and less skinny."

Day 79

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger selves?"

Maude: "I would tell my younger self to go to sleep away camps, because I never did. I feel like I missed out on a big part of my childhood by not having that experience."

Emily: "I would tell my younger self to start playing field hockey earlier. ..I know it's really specific, but I really do. I started in ninth grade, but I wish I had started it in middle school, because I really love it and when I go to college, I won't be able to play it as much as high school."

Mia: "I would say relax…Don't take things too seriously! And also you'll get taller!"

Day 77

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?

Stephanie: "Please put everything in perspective. The things that you think are vitally important are not that important in the grand scheme of things. When I was in high school, not getting into a play or not getting cast in a show was the end-all, be-all. That's all I wanted. And I remember talking to a teacher about it and saying what am I going to do if I can't do this and he said feed the hungry, clothe the naked. I was 13-14 years old and I couldn't comprehend that then, but now I do. If I give a bad performance, I feel bad, and I beat myself up, but that's why I say – if nobody died and noone got hurt, that's a good day. If you can get out of bed and do more good than harm in the world, that's a good day. And my definition of a good day has changed from when I was younger because of that. You meet people and you see what they go through, and you put your own life in perspective, and everyone's got problems. And everyone's problems are legitimate. You know we talk about first world problems, but to that person, it gives them stress. So I try to cut them a break, and say their shit is legit. But that said, I try, I don't always succeed, but I try to put my own life in perspective and relative to how much worse it could be. I have had that summer I was working at Burger King, and that summer I was working in the shirt factory, the fact that I don't have to do that now, I know that I am very lucky. And I thank the Universe daily for that and I know that the things that I have can go away, the luck that I have can go away. So again, try to put it in perspective."

Day 76

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Abhishek: "I'd tell my younger self to start running…I started running six years ago, but I wish I had started earlier. It is so rewarding."

Day 75

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Vanessa: "Be smarter. Make decisions for the moment, and not what you expect the outcome to be. I always make decisions looking into the future, but sometimes I should decide just for the present moment."

Day 74

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?

Fernando: "Listen, obey, honor and respect your parents first, always. Also, the exciting thing is that when you shake hands with your destiny, it turns your life upside right. And when that happens, you go to bed late, you get out of bed early, knowing we all have 86,400 seconds a day and it's pretty, pretty exciting. You go from existing to living with purpose, and when that happens, it's a game changer. You become the it-factor in people's lives. That's exciting!"

P.S. Fernando was a personal trainer in LA working with many celebrities and has recently moved to New York.

Day 73

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Him: “Get moving! I wish I had started taking interest in art & culture earlier on. I missed out on twenty years of that good stuff!”

Day 72

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Sam: "Eat healthy. Say your prayers. And exercise."

Day 71

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Chandler: "Stay patient. Good things will come. Tough times don't last, but tough people do!"

Day 70

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Anna: "Don't be afraid to do things and try new things sooner. I started doing things later in my life, but I could have been more evolved sooner, but I realize I didn't have to wait around as much as I did."

Day 69

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Sana: "When you're in college, explore things a little bit more. I come from a family of doctors, so I knew everything about going to a medical school, but I didn't know anything about going to an engineering school. I didn't know what I would do after I got out. I didn't know what banking or investment banking was or anything like that. And then when it was time to pick a major, I just talked to people and they pretty much told me  you're going to do this and I just followed that path. In my last years, I started taking management classes,  brain and cognitive sciences, and I realized I was way more interested in that. So everyday I still think about what if? I still think that maybe I should do a startup on the side that is more aligned towards my interests, but I am still sticking to the same path because later in life, you can't really switch around as much. You're thinking about starting a family, you've more responsibility. I take care of my mom as well, so I need the financial stability. I got offers from startups, but never took them up, because it was too risky. I need to be financially secure for my family. The time to explore, the time to think about different things is when you're younger. Especially when you come from the kind of education background I come from, you're on a straight path and you need to know out of high school what you're going to do and that is not the American education system. So I'd tell my younger self to go explore and see what's out there and think about what you want to do. It's not like I don't like what I do…it is fun, but I am a different person from what I am doing. It's like I am living two lives. "

Day 68

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Will: "I am going to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson and say: In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him."

Day 67

Me: "What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Jamal: "Focus on your academics. I was an athlete, and I just did enough to get by, to play. To play, it was great, but I'd have taken that opportunity to go into Harvard vs going to play."

Day 66

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Dylan: “It was my tendency, in high school years, or early college years to just enjoy solitary activities. And then it dawned on me, that everything that I was doing, no matter how much I enjoyed being by myself was in the end going to affect other people or that there’s always a cause & effect to every action. You can’t isolate yourself. No one is an island. Even if you seclude yourself, you’re still connected to the world.”

Day 65

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Jagoda: “I’d change nothing. I was very loved in the family. Everyone respected my family because they helped people around them. I really wouldn’t change nothing. Can you just make my wrinkles go away in the picture please *chuckles*?”

Day 64

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Matt: “Don’t take things so seriously. Things will work out on their own. Stay on top of things, but don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Day 63

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Kathleen: “Wisdom comes with old age, so hang in there. Be more understanding of yourself and of other people. Be more patient with yourself and other people. And maybe to not expect as much of myself as I did.”

Pat: “Don’t be in so much of a rush to prove yourself or to keep up. Set your own pace. Find peace. Find God. Find love for others.”

P.S. Kathleen & Pat are catholic nuns.

Day 62

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Her: “Be patient. I have found that when you’re young, you tend to take life very seriously. And it’s all about you, how you can get there. And then you realize, this is not what life is all about. It is not about you. So, you learn to slow down and see what life is all about… Life is about having a relationship with your creator.”

Day 61

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Joey: “Live. We are all caught up in minutiae, we don’t actually take a step back and live.  Our society focuses on the little things. I think we don’t live life. We just go by a routine and go through all the motions, but we don’t actually live.”

 

Day 60

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Conya: “I would tell my younger self to not worry about working so much and having a 9 to 5 job. Travel, eat well, drink well, have fun, and enjoy life!”

Day 59

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Mickey: “I’d just say that think things through. Don’t just jump into things. Be clear about why you’re doing something. Because if you don’t, you can end up making the wrong decision and it can end up hurting you and others. ”

Robert: “It’s the same thing as him, but it applies to me as well. Think about exactly what you want to do and why you want to do it before you do it. For e.g., a relationship.”

Maria: “Don’t overthink things too much because there’s no need to complicate things!”

Day 58

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Kendra: “Don’t worry about boys! It doesn’t matter when you’re in middle school or older. It’s better to focus on yourself and your career.”

 

Day 57

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Dartanya: “Slow down and relax…take time to enjoy the life that is around you. And that’s exactly what I am doing today. I took a mental health day. I just needed a break. Lawyers, brokers, everybody can wait. I just need some time for myself.  The wind, the grass, trees, the sun, the waves…everything is rejuvenating me right now.”

Day 56

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Lyanne & Elaina: “We would do exactly what we did all over again because it’s all our experiences (good & bad) that developed our personality and made us who we are. For e.g., we are au pairs from Germany and we thought maybe we should have taken advantage of this program when we were younger, but then our experience would have also been different. So, everything happens at the right time.”

Day 55

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Mike: “Advice to myself in the past would be to focus on the present. Because the past is gone, and you can’t worry about the future because it hasn’t happened yet, right? So, you need to focus on the present because that’s what you have; that’s all that there is. Focusing on the past and worrying about it blinds you to what is happening around you right now. It takes away from your ability to appreciate the present and your ability to build your life.”

Day 53

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Vered: “Don’t worry so much about the future…It will turn out to be better than you ever imagined!”

Mish Mish: “Woof woof woof!”

Location: Vieux-Montréal

Day 52

I met Sarah & her father, Carlos, at Cafe Chez Jose on Ave Duluth in Montreal. It’s a really cute family run Portuguese cafe with quirky decor, and a lot of vegan options! I fell in love with the photographs on the vibrant yellow wall. There was something very unique about them. Each photograph told a story and had a soul. Turns out Sarah’s dad took those photos and he happened to be at the cafe while I was there so I was able to speak to him in person!

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Carlos: “It’s hard to pick out one over any other. Giving advice to my younger self has to do with the point of view of today, but when I think of my younger self, I think of a free, exuberant, fearless individual who was not very receptive to advice like everybody else today. I’d perhaps tell my younger self to be a bit more disciplined, I think that’d be helpful. To have a sense of focus. Because we see our former selves through our present, it’s so easy to find faults in our former selves, isn’t it? I’d rather be tender towards myself as a child, rather than being tough. It’s also important to identify what your passion is. Try to figure out what really turns you on. It’s not as easy as it seems.”

Sarah: “Skin problem affected me a lot in the past, around the beginning of adulthood. It blocked me from doing stuff I could have gone for, certain dreams and projects. I wish I hadn’t let it affect me so much and just not think about it so much. It’s not important. We stop ourselves from doing things we want to pursue due to lack of confidence. Sometimes really ridiculous things hold us back. I had weight issues and I was just so self conscious. We don’t have to be so self-centered, so self-conscious. We just look at ourselves too much, instead we should focus more on what’s going on around us. That’s something I’d have really liked to know when I was younger. It’d have helped me face some obstacles. I don’t let it affect me anymore. I am working in a super interactive environment all the time. My mind is different now. I am really focused on the outside world and I try not to see myself all the time.”

Day 51

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Tare: “I’d tell my younger self to not be so harsh on myself; that things will get better and there is no point in being so hard on yourself and being so judgmental.”

Erlinde: “To not worry so much, to enjoy life and do the best you can for the people around and the people that you love, but don’t stress so much about things that are not in your control!”

Location: McGill University, Montreal, QC

Day 50

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Sarah: “Buy real estate in Vancouver, I’d be a millionaire by now had I done that!”

Christina: “Take more risks, be less worried about how the future will play out. Pursue some quirky ideas, and explore a little bit more with a light heart. I have taken more risks after my 30s than before. If I had two choices, I chose school, the job I was supposed to take, or the stuff that was career forwarding. Given that we live in such uncertain times with so much change, we have so little control over how things go anyway. So rather than always focusing on achieving things, explore for the sake of exploring.”

Location: Plateau Mont Royal, Montreal, QC

Day 49

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Jean-Francois: “Trust life. My father was very strict with me in my childhood. So I grew up feeling repressed, I lacked trust and that made me fearful. As a result, I lacked confidence and self esteem. Trust was often an issue in my life and you need trust to expand in life. I didn’t take up a lot of the opportunities that came up because I was afraid of taking risks. If you trust life, and if you trust what’s in front of you, you will go for it. Life has a lot of presents and offerings for you, but if you hide or escape, you’ll miss out on it. Don’t postpone what you want to do. Life is short, it’s happening now. Take that risk!”

Location: Mont Royal, Montreal, QC

Day 48

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Susan: “Don’t marry the first guy you fall in love with…even though he plays the guitar!”

Lucy: “Woof!” (pretty sure that means she agrees!)

Day 46

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

David: “I don’t know where to begin, but if I had to begin somewhere, and pick a random moment in time, I guess I would tell my younger self to not worry so much. Many things that I used to be terrorized about have actually turned out okay. There have been moments in my life when I was really in despair. For a long time, when I was younger, I just never thought I’d fall in love like other couples. It would have been comforting to know that things would work out in their own time and it’s better to focus on things you love doing such as playing music, writing songs, etc.”

Day 45

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Tabitha : “Dream big! Don’t be stuck in a box. Don’t think the future is going to be what it is like now. Start young, so you are set up for success early!

Day 44

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?

Liam: “To have more confidence and be more true to myself. I feel like when I was a little younger, I didn’t have as much confidence and I felt like I had to fit into this box. I think having an idea of what healthy masculinity is is really important, and not feeling like you have to conform to stereotypes. So I’d advice my younger self to be comfortable with who I am and just be myself because I am awesome!”

Iara: “I’d tell my younger self that you’re going to do great things, so trust yourself! As a kid, I never pictured I’d be here, and now I am living an amazing life. I have a great job, and I am going to be touring the country for a whole year. We are college graduates and we are driving the Planters nut mobile across the country! We are going to St. Louis tomorrow.”

Jacqueline: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. It applies to the present and the future. You’re never going to regret trying something different, whether its doing a ropes course, eating a pie, or another roller coaster you really don’t want to go on, you are never going to regret trying something once!”

Day 47

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Maureen/Geraldine/Kathy/Eileen: “Growing up we had a lot of restrictions. We were supposed to be seen, not heard. We never really had the opportunity to give our opinion. We were afraid to give our opinion. And even if we did, nobody wanted it. They would say “stop talking!” So we have raised our kids differently. We were open to listening and getting their opinion at the dinner table. We allowed them to choose. So you know, we would advice our younger selves to be more assertive and say what you really feel. Do more for yourself. Do what you need to do to make yourself happy. Travel more. Be more adventurous. Try more things. Try new things. Believe in yourself and trust your instincts. Don’t let other people influence you as much.  And don’t just be seen, be heard!”

Day 43

I got the opportunity to talk to the pilots who flew me from New York to Chicago last night 🙂

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Johnny: “I would have told my younger self to go to college earlier, because I went when I was much older. But if I had gone earlier, I could have started my career earlier. I guess it’s not a bad thing, but I had just messed around. I was a ski bum, working as a ski instructor. I was kayaking up in Idaho in the river, camping out. I lived on a camp most of the time. I don’t regret that, but in the airline business, we are seniority based. Our pay, our quality of living, everything is based on when we got hired. So I’d have reversed that and started my career earlier.”

Daryl: “Sometimes, we get upset when things don’t go our way, but then they actually work out better in the long run. I got hired by American Eagle a year before I actually got hired. I didn’t get through the first time, but got in the second time. If I’d have gotten in the first time, I’d have made Captain over there. But when I got in the second time, it was as First Officer. And then American Airlines started hiring, but they were only taking First Officers, so if I had gotten through American Eagle the first time, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity with American Airlines!”

Day 42

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Safwaan: “Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something.”

John: “Don’t fall in love in college.”

Brandon: “Take college seriously!”

Day 41

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Samuel: “Nothing! Because everything that I have done in my life so far has brought me to this point. I am married to the love of my life, and I am holding my daughter in my arms. There’s absolutely nothing I’d have changed!”

P.S. Samuel’s daughter is six days old today! 🙂

Day 54

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Alex: “I used to make things happen. And at some point, I stopped doing it. So, my advice to my younger self would be, don’t be afraid ever. Fear is the problem. Fear and guilt start to dictate your life. And then you start making decisions based on the path of least fear and guilt. And that’s bad. I was fearless when I was younger. At some point, I allowed fear to take over – fear of failure, and general insecurity. When you’re fearless, you don’t hesitate and then you picture a world, and you make that world happen. You don’t let other people and their thoughts, and your own negative thoughts get in the way. It happens quickly, just like that. And the next thing you know, twenty years go by. And you wonder what happened?!”

Day 40

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Him: “Believe in yourself. Be more confident.”

Her: “Don’t do drugs!”

 

Day 39

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Ketav: “Learn how to manage your time a little better. Learn when’s the right time to do certain things because I feel like when you get into college, it’s like a whole different experience up there and you just sort of go along with the flow of things sometimes without knowing why you are there in the first place.”

Jeff: “If you’re part of the pre-med track or whatever track you’re in, I’d say talk to juniors and seniors and anyone and everyone who has taken that path before you so you know what classes to take. Join clubs that they are part of so you get first hand experience so you know what classes you should be taking.”

Day 38

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Kofi: “Education would be my number one priority. You’ve got to be very serious about education because if you miss the boat when you’re young, then it’s too late and you can’t go back. I wish I was a big doctor, or engineer, so I wouldn’t be here doing this kind of job. Because sometimes the stuff I want to do for my kids, I can’t do it because I don’t have enough money. Sometimes I try to do it, but then it takes money away from some other priority.  For e.g., I started building my house a while ago, but because I am trying to do the best for my kids, I can’t finish my house in the time that I want. So if I knew this when I was younger, say 14 – 15 years old, I’d have changed my life by focusing on education because once you have a good education, and you stay away from drugs and alcohol, you become somebody…you can do whatever you want. When you drink alcohol and you get drunk, you can’t think clearly. You end up doing a lot of stupid things and you put yourself in positions you’re not supposed to be.”

Day 37

I met this really sweet mother-daughter duo at a dance studio. 

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Anna: “Keep going to school. Learning is always good. I moved to America from Brazil 18 years ago. I didn’t go to school in America, but I think I should have.”

Sophia: “Be more confident. I used to think I was really bad at dancing, and then I realized I am not that bad. So, I should believe that I am better than I think I am.”

Day 36

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Charlotte: “Take care of your health. Because without it, you really cannot enjoy life!”

Day 35

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Anthony: “Stay in school. Stay the course. Don’t let yourself be swayed by nothing. Take the path that’s less traveled. And don’t be a bore!”

P.S. Anthony worked for the Parks department and wasn’t too keen on getting his picture taken while on duty. So I am posting a picture of the location where I met him.

Day 34

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Libia: “Whatever it is you’re thinking of trying, get out of your own head and go for it. You might be pleasantly surprised. There’s a first time for everything, so you might as well just go for it! Also, smile at people for no reason at all. They’ll appreciate it.”

Day 33

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Bob: “I wish I hadn’t worked as much as I did and spent more time relaxing and enjoying myself. I have worked for 50 long years.”

Day 32

It took me 3 attempts to capture this spirited bunch of 17 year olds in the air 🙂

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Them: “Don’t be so close minded. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. Don’t compare yourself to others. Strive to improve yourself. Be the best you! If there’s something you want to do, then do it now! Don’t wait for tomorrow, because there might not be a tomorrow. Live life to the fullest. But know when to stop, think about the consequences of your actions.  Also, don’t trust everyone because not everyone is your friend.”

Day 31

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Ekaterina: “Enjoy your life in the present moment. I am not saying don’t plan your future, but focus more on the present moment.”

Knopa: “Woof!”

Day 30

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Him: “Don’t smoke.”

Her: “Finish your PhD.”

Day 29

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Yossi: “So when we are younger, when we are kids, we go out and explore. We take risks. We do things that sometimes people tell us not to do. We are just being ourselves most of the time. And people are not really judging us, because we are kids! And as we get older, we stop doing what we enjoy doing. So I guess my advice would be to not lose your inner child. Always look back and think of what you enjoy doing. Don’t worry about other people judging you. And don’t let others tell you what you can or cannot do. And take that with you throughout your life!”

Day 28

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Greg & Carrie: “Take more chances. Sometimes we are too reserved as kids and don’t stick our neck out there. Take advantage of opportunities.”

Day 27

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Him: “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good!

Her: “Don’t stress about the little things in life!”

Day 26

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Heli: “Follow your instinct. It’s never wrong.”

Originally from Germany, Heli has traveled to places far and wide.  She ended the conversation with another piece of advice – “Collect experiences, not stuff.”

 

Day 25

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Greg: “Focus on your education. Stay in school. Don’t do drugs. And don’t drink alcohol.”

Day 24

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Her: “Focus on your education & career. Worry about boys later.”

Day 23

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Hilda: “I’m quite happy with the way I have lived my life. Back in the day, everyone told me find a husband first. Find someone to take care of you. Instead, I focused on my education and career first. And then found a husband. I am glad I went about it the way I did.

Day 22

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

John: “Find something that you like to do because you’re going to be doing it for a very long time. Find a place where you like to live because you’re going to be living there a very long time.”

Jack: “Start saving for retirement as soon as possible. It’ll be here before you know it.”

Day 21

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Debra: “Listen to your gut, follow your instinct. Every time I have ignored it, I have been screwed.”

Day 20

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Jack’s dad: “You know how sometimes when things don’t work out, like a relationship or a job or something like that and you think it’s the end of world. Well, guess what? It’s not! There’s so much out there in the world to explore.

Day 19

It’s not often that you get the opportunity to talk to a NYPD officer on horseback, so when you do get one, you must grab it!

Me: “Officer, what advice would you give to your younger self?”

Officer: “Don’t give up on your dreams!”

 

Day 18

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Irina: “Don’t let any kind of idea, or religion, or dogma overcome your humanity – your feeling of human brotherhood or compassion towards others. Whatever they tell you, whatever the cause, it doesn’t matter. Just trust your own heart. If you have compassion for someone, never overstep your boundaries.

Don’t let yourself be dominated by others. Even though it’s easier sometimes when somebody else makes decisions for you and you just follow…and you think they are smart and figuring everything out for you, but it can end up being a disaster. So better make your own stupid, false, teenie, tiny decisions which can build you up into a person who can be independent and just live this life as your own person.

Also, never play with feelings of other people and hurt them. Never pretend that you’re in love or don’t feel bad if you don’t have feelings. Never give false hope, just be honest.

And lastly, don’t let anger take over. I wish I had known that I had the power of will to not allow anger to consume me when I was younger. I am still friends with people I was angry with, but unfortunately, it negatively impacted my health because I held onto it for too long.”

Day 17

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Georgia: “Focus on your career…set big goals and go after them. I tell my daughter the same thing!”

Day 16

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Debbie: “Do I have to give just one piece of advice? I have a few! Other people’s opinion of you is nearly not as important as you think it is. Sometimes the most difficult situations lead to the most beautiful outcomes. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. While I was struggling to come to terms with my diagnosis, life had bigger plans for me. I was presented with opportunities to travel internationally for my work for the first time. So trust the process…don’t try to control everything…nothing is in control anyway!”

Rosie: “Woof!”

Debbie is a child life specialist and you can read more about her on her blog http://www.pediaplay.com. Her stories on surviving breast cancer can be found here: https://pediaplay.com/category/surviving-breast-cancer/

Rosie is a beagle and feist mix that Debbie adopted a few months ago. She was going crazy barking at squirrels while her human mom was giving me profound, life-changing advice.

P.S. Talking to Debbie felt as if she had been preparing her entire life to give that piece of advice and I had been preparing my entire life to hear just what she had to say. Have you ever felt that way?

Day 15

An assortment of advice from these beautiful young women on a bachelorette trip!

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Them: “Have more fun and do less work. Do more things. Do more things by yourself. Take more risks. Say YES more. Say NO more. Just do it today. Eat your vegetables. Wear sunscreen.”

Location: Emerald Lake @ Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Day 14

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Lauren: “Don’t worry about the little things, everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.”

Jenna: “Live in the moment. Don’t think about the next year, the next year, the next year. Focus on the present moment.”

Aria: “Don’t care what people think. If you love to do something, do it. Don’t hold back because of other people’s opinions, you’re probably not going to know them in a year or two anyway.”

Day 13

Me: “What advice would you to give to your  younger self?”

Him: “Look up!”

Me: “What do you mean by that?”

Him: “Remember to look up from your phone, remember to look up when you’re on a hiking trail, just remember to look up!”

P.S. Location: Independence Pass, Colorado

Day 12

Enroute to Aspen, I passed by a town called Leadville, CO today. It sounded weirdly familiar and then I realized I had read about it in the book “Born to run” by Christopher McDougall. It’s famous for hosting an ultra marathon called Leadville Trail 100. If you enjoy running, I highly recommend reading this book. It was fascinating to learn about the super-athletic Tarahumara tribe from Mexico. Anyway, I had to stop at this town to talk to a stranger. Turns out I ended up speaking to someone who is actually part of organizing this insane race: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadville_Trail_100

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Rich: “Take more chances. I grew up catholic and very structured, until I knew better.

Day 11

These 3 young, bright, and confident ladies (~20 years old) came across like they were just waiting for someone to ask them this question 🙂 They were more prepared than I had expected!

Me: “What advice would you give to your  younger selves?”

Samantha: “Believe in yourself. Don’t stress about things so much. Sometimes things seem really daunting, but you’re fully capable of achieving them.”

Samantha: “Remember that you’re young, remember to have fun, but don’t forget that you don’t know everything because you are really young. And believe in yourself…every now and then remind yourself how far you’ve come instead of always focusing on how much further you have to go.”

Jessica: “Don’t give up. As clichéd as it sounds, but you never know what challenges are ahead of you. And if you get too challenged and don’t think you can overcome it, do keep going, the end result is so much better than calling it quits right then and there and saying I don’t want to do this anymore. It will pay off.”

 

 

Day 10

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Edward: “Don’t take education lightly. It will take you places you wouldn’t have even dreamed of going.”

P.S. His daughter is in the process of applying to colleges and Edward hopes she gets accepted by the best ones out there!

Day 9

I met this beautiful couple – Madeleine & Vincent, and their granddaughter, Mia at a park today.

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”

Vincent (86 years old): “Learn to communicate…it’s extremely important in all aspects of life. I struggled with it the first 40-50 years of my life. But now I am a lot better at it.”

Madeleine (84 years old): “Also, learn to listen. Too often, we think we understand what the other person is saying, but we don’t.”

Me: “How long have you both been married?”

Vincent: “49 years.”

Me: “To what do you contribute the success of your marriage?”

Madeleine: “He’s my best friend. And we always communicate. Also, it’s very important to forgive and forget. You cannot expect the other person to be perfect every day, so don’t take every little thing that happens in your relationship too seriously. Don’t hold onto grudges. Let go, and be happy. The only things we take seriously are sickness and death.”

Mia (9 years old): “To read more, and be more friendly”.

Madeleine went on to tell me how she grew up during the war. There was no TV, no fancy toys to play with. She thought they were poor, but her mom said “No, we are not poor. We always have food on the table”.  She said: “Life was much simpler and happier back then. All the cousins lived on the same block. We played on the streets. And on Sunday, everyone went to grandma’s house. But nowadays, families are spread apart. We see each other couple of times a year on holidays.”

Day 8

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Kevin: “You know I have thought about this before, I like where I am now. The only advice I would give to my younger self is to not go to an all boys high school.”

Day 7

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Jim: “Think about the consequences of your actions because momentary pleasure can lead to a lifetime of regret. I was a alcohol and drug addict for 30 years. And exactly 12 years ago, I was admitted to the hospital against my wishes with a bad liver. At that time, I wanted to die, but now I don’t. I had a lot going for me before I turned into an addict, but I didn’t appreciate it. So I’d also say seize the opportunity when you have it!”

Me: “Are you okay with me sharing these details of your story on social media?”

Jim: “Absolutely! If my story can inspire someone to live a better life, then I’d say it’s worth it!”

Jim has been volunteering at a soup kitchen for 9 years now and has been serving oatmeal for the last 3 years with his own funds. He’s fondly referred to as “Oatmeal Jim” by guests and others volunteers.

Day 6 – Part 2

Of course a trip to Little Italy in the Bronx wouldn’t be complete without meeting a cute Nonna. I met her at the Arthur Avenue Retail Market where she was signing copies of her recently published cookbook that her granddaughter had helped put together.

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”
Nonna: “Write down all your recipes so you don’t forget them”

P.S. This is her book if anyone is interested: https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Nonna-Celebrate-Classic-Grandmothers/dp/1631062948

Day 6

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”
Her: “Don’t be so shy…Share what you know!”

Day 5

Hank did not want to walk on this hot and humid day in New York. And Hank’s human did not want to be in the picture.

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”
Hank’s human: “Be more patient with yourself…Be more forgiving.”

Day 4

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Florence: “Be more aggressive about your career…don’t settle. I wish I had gone to law school or something; I’d have been able to contribute to society a lot more.”

Florence taught disabled children to read for many, many years.

Day 3

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”

Mehmet: “Don’t marry that second wife!”

P.S. Coincidentally, a woman buying fruit from him had the same response…”Don’t marry that second husband!”

Day 2

Me: “What advice would you give to your younger self?”
Her: “Don’t be afraid to try new things…go for it!”

Day 1

Me: “You look so happy! What’s your secret?”
Kenny: “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Also, everything’s good. I got a good mother, good family, good girlfriend, and no wife…that’s very important – no wife.”

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