Hey, young people, taking advice from a 53-year-old self-described “cranky old man” as he calls himself in this video, might not be your first priority as you venture out into the world this graduation season. But Henry Rollins isn’t just any cranky old man.
As the lead singer of Black Flag, one of the 1980s’ most important and most hardcore punk bands, Rollins knows a thing or two about rebellion, standing up for yourself and speaking your mind. But Rollins went on in his post-Black Flag life to a career as a movie and TV actor, an author, public speaker and radio DJ — to name but a few of his occupations.
And though he’s never been preachy about it, Rollins has always led a drug-and-alcohol free lifestyle. Which may be why he manages to look about 10 years younger than he is and maintains the energy to keep up with his numerous occupations.
You might say that this cranky old man makes a pretty solid role model. So when he tells you to “go for your own,” it’s worth a listen.
In fact, even if you’re not a young person, even if you’re a member of the Henry Rollins generation, these four-minutes and 15-seconds of wisdom have something to say about your life as well.
“You’ll find in your life that sometimes your great ambitions will be momentarily stymied, thwarted, marginalized by those who were perhaps luckier, come from money, where more doors opened, where college was a given — it was not a student loan, it was something that Dad paid for — to where an ease and confidence in life was almost a birthright, where for you it was a very hard climb,” Rollins opens.
“You cannot let these people make you feel that you have in any way been dwarfed or out-classed. You must really go for your own and realize how short life is. You got what you got, so you have to make the most of it. You really can’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about his. You really have to go for your own.”
Take the few minutes to listen to the remainder of Henry Rollins’ thoughts. They just might change your life.