Now that I’m dead, I want to tell you a few things.

I want to tell you that we are nothing but auto-magic respirators made from soft organs and delicate hide, with bones like dry kindling and blood pumped through intricate and vulnerable tubing. If you are one of the lucky ones, your animated carcass will survive the dings and scrapes of everyday living and the deleterious effects of illness or poor health decisions, and you will soldier on in good fortune until your skin suit is worn and feeble and you collapse many, many years from the day of your birth, content with keeping your body more or less intact. Take care of yourself.

I want to tell you that you only get one shot at this, it’s true. Life is too brief and too rich to sit idle, so live a hundred times. Move to new cities, make daring fashion choices, fill your world with a diverse group of friends that fade and return, find peace somewhere in the great outdoors. Build yourself up, break yourself down, rebuild anew with improvements. Do not be afraid to change habits. Take risks after calculating odds, but to hell with the odds on occasion. Learn from your mistakes and successes, learn from your closest friends and your least favorite earthly inhabitants, learn as you grow and change and explore. Never stop learning.

I want to tell you that you must—you absolutely must—find a way to express yourself. I want you to write and draw and photograph and film and paint and dance and sculpt and cook and build and code and above all you should learn to love music—it is the most soulful art we have, as close to the dust and soil and old spirits as you can get without being in the ground yourself. These are the ways we commune; these are the ways we reach out our timid arms and wrap them firmly around our fellow humans. This is how we make our mark on the world.

I want to tell you that we are on this journey together, that we are all born naked, that we share the same naked thoughts when it is dark and we are alone, and that every one of us is filled with self-doubt and insecurity. This is a rule, and if you recognize the rule then you will be filled with hope and confidence and the desire to make the world right for the rest of us. You will be open to love and to forgiveness, you will give and get, you will feel the tingle of solidarity when you meet a kindred soul. You will be able to touch and be touched, and that is a very powerful and important thing. Do not be afraid to love and forgive.

So take care of yourself. Never stop learning. Make your mark on this world and don’t ever be afraid to love and forgive.