You write to me that you feel afraid because you have no work and cannot help fearing you will remain without earnings for quite some time. I’m a bit older than you and can advise you from a position of experience. Give up this fear. Do not trouble your head about a thing. If you have deprivations to bear, be proud to enjoy the privilege of bearing them. Live in such a way that you can live on just a plate of soup, a piece of bread and a glass of wine. One can. Do not Smoke. Smoking robs you of those few physical restoratives you can afford. An enormous freedom lies before you. All around you the earth is fragrant, and it belongs to you, wishes to belong to you. Take pleasure in it. The faint of heart know no pleasure. So begone with you, fear! Do not be coarse, and do not curse any human being, not even the wickedest one. Instead do your best to love where someone else, a less considered and strong person, would hate. Believe me when I say to you: Hatred annihilates the human spirit in devastating fashion. Go ahead and love absolutely everything. There’s no harm in being profligate in this regard. Rise early in the morning, don’t sit too much, go to sleep properly and quickly. This one can do. When you suffer from the heat, do not be overly concerned about this circumstance but instead act as though you hadn’t noticed. When you come to a fresh woodland spring, do not fail to drink from it. When a person gives you something with dignity, go ahead and take it, but with dignity. Test yourself constantly, settle accounts with yourself, it is better for you to enter into conversation with your own spirit than with the minds of learned men. Avoid the learned, for with few exceptions they are heartless. Provide yourself with frequent opportunities for laughter and flirtation. This will result in your becoming a more beautiful and serious person. Be beautiful in every way, even if you find this challenging. Dress in elegant clothes, this will guarantee you respect and love. You needn’t expend money for this, just exert your senses. As for girls, keep most of them at arm’s length. Spurning requires practice. Make a habit of always having a passion, this is the mark of a beautiful man. The most passionate man is the best one: learn this. One can learn anything. I shall write to you some other time.
Simon was a twenty year old man. He was poor but undertook nothing to improve his circumstances.
Robert Walser, Letter to a Man, From a Man, 1912