Monday, 16 November 2015

A Letter To My Younger Self

Now there's a question. Instruction one would be to simply tell the arrogant and verbose younger me to be less of a cunt. I probably could have used a slightly less colourful word but none would capture the reality of what I was back then. Instruction two is predictable and would have been simply to value education, because I treated my entire school life as an inconvenience to be endured before I could find fame and fortune as a writer. As things turned out I made enough from writing to feed a couple of hamsters for a couple of weeks on the assumption that they ate conservatively. I should have listened more. End of. Instruction three, try to live your life without doing so at the expense of other people. I think I've apologised to most of the people I wronged during my school years as I felt genuinely bad about my behaviour. All but one were incredibly gracious and mature, and the one who was unable to forgive had good reason. Instruction four, try not to live your life as an apology, and don't get hung up over how others perceive you. I've mentioned before that the wait for universal popularity is a long one, so you might as well shed that skin before it makes you paranoid. Five, don't be afraid of who you are, unless the things that define you are likely to cause others harm, in which case get help. If you pose no such risk then experiment and enjoy learning about those shadowy corners of who you really are. Six, never be afraid to change your mind if that's where the evidence leads. You're probably not the genius you think you are so have a little humility and be prepared to think differently, even about the things you'd prefer not to. Seven; in this life you are going to be wrong about a great many things. Deal with it. Don't be proud and arrogant and oblivious to your own fallibility. That's a one way ticket to Stupidville. Eight; try curry. Curry’s great. This one requires no further exposition. Nine; don't worry about changing the world. You're doing that already by simple virtue of the fact you exist in it. You change the world every day. Ten; all that money you pissed up the wall from the age of 17-20 could have been spent doing any number of amazing things. Travel, or save; just don't let it all wash away. Eleven; don't get in that van with Craig Dawkins. He’s hammered and that van is going to end up on its side on a ditch with glass and sparks popping all around you. Twelve, just because you were a chubby kid doesn't mean you have to lack confidence with girls. They actually quite liked you once you stopped trying too hard. They like your sense of humour, and your big brown eyes. What you were doesn't equal what you are. Thirteen; value your relationship with your dad because he's going to be gone long before you hit 40. And realise sooner that he survived perfectly well without your advice before you began sharing your dubious teenage wisdom with him. Fourteen; stand up to bullies. You may win some and you might lose some, but the thing about bullies is that they love a soft target. So don't be soft target. Fifteen; those karate lessons you take once you've left school; when you fight the bigger guys get close to them. It's far more painful talking a full punch from a 17st lump and if you can get inside them you can cause all kinds of problems. Sixteen; learn that you're naturally a pleaser, and that it's OK to take pleasure in giving pleasure to others. And yes, I am talking about sex. You're already battling with this one ; give up buddy. It ain't going anywhere and somebody you'll meet this incredible lady who knows exactly what to do with what you are. It doesn't make you less of a man to want to put your lady first. Quite the opposite. Seventeen; that ability you have to laugh at yourself is going to be one of your defining qualifies. Never lose it. Eighteen; just because you never managed to earn a living as a writer doesn't mean you're not a really good one. Have confidence in your ability to communicate your thoughts, because someday you're going to have a blog that's read by people in over 135 countries, which when you think about it is really kinda cool.

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