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What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?


I was in the San Jose airport last night, waiting for my horribly late red-eye, when I checked my Twitter account. Lots of people had responded to a question I’d idly posted a day earlier: If you could give advice to the young you, what would it be? I posted the responses on my book blog (not that the question is especially book-related…)

I thought about myself. I moved from country to country in my 20s, putting space between myself and anyone who got to know me well enough to ask hard questions. So I was thinking about giving the old me some relationship advice. But if I’d figured out that stuff in my 20s, who knows what turns life would have taken? My kids’ existence hinges upon me showing up in El Paso, unfettered, at age 30.

I got an email from Laurie Friedman, a press person at IBM. She was telling me that Bill Pulleyblank, who has had a rich and varied career at IBM, is now taking a week of chef boot camp at the Culinary Institute of America. When asked my question, he urged the young Pulleyblank not to buy the used Porsche in Belgium in ‘67. It cost only $3,500 up front, but he spent more than ten times that amount keeping it alive for twenty years before finally donating it to Car Talk.

Did it look like this, Bill?

The question is on my mind, I guess, because we’re driving out to Madison tomorrow to see our 20-year-old.


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