A letter to my 15 year old self

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Hey Gordon,

Nice hair, how much mousse did you use this morning to get that look? Impressive. Enjoy it (it won’t last, but you won’t care).

It’s a big year for you, even though you don’t realise it yet. Events will happen around you and this will set the tone for the next decade. You will flounder around without really thinking ahead, you will act badly and selfishly, you will have a lot of fun.

You don’t have a plan for the next few years as you approach adulthood, you don’t really know where your life is headed, and no matter who tries to help – the guidance teacher at school, your parents, your friends (more on them later) – you are just not built to think too far into your future.

You won’t even realise most of this, of course, but when you do it becomes overwhelming to the point of distraction and so you retire inside yourself and act out a little to divert attention away from the fact that you feel completely lost. You will grab hold of any opportunity that you can to ‘belong’ without considering the implications further down the line. This is how you will live the next 20 years or more, but don’t worry, turns out that isn’t as bad a thing as some people might tell you.

I’d love to tell you what to do differently, how to act and how to make better decisions. If I thought you’d listen at all I’d only ask you one thing; that you pause occasionally to look around at how you are living your life, and be truly, brutally honest with yourself.

But you won’t, because you aren’t ready to be honest with yourself, but that’s ok, and that’s kind of the point of this letter.

My point is simply that you wouldn’t be me, writing this letter to you today, if you hadn’t have had all those experiences. To be me you have to have gone through all those highs and lows, the disappointments and elations, the fuck-ups, the fantasies and all the stupid fumbling about you are going to do to try and find yourself.

So, rather than advise how you should try and live your life, let me try and ease your mind. Things will be ok. Things will work out, maybe not always for the better, but your life will not be full of suffering. Don’t get me wrong, you will suffer badly at times, things will be very very black and you’ll question why you ever paid this letter any heed but please know that you get through it all and end up with a pretty damn good life.

When you eventually get to the age I am now you will find that you appreciate how lucky you have been, you’ll appreciate it so much more than you ever have in the past. You’ll find you have a life full of love and security, you will have friends that have stood by you for more years than any of you will want to count, you will have more love in your life than seems fair at times (but don’t worry, love isn’t a limited supply thing, there is always more to go round), and you’ll be happy.

And that’s really the point of all of this I guess to tell you that you will be happy, that you will be just another flawed human being trying to better themselves and that will be more than enough.

Anyway, you are still young, you still have your hair and your waistline (ohhh yeah, if you could MAYBE try and control that a bit better, that’d be great!) and you have your life in front of you,

So stop worrying about fitting in and go live it.

Yours,

Gordon (aged 42 and a bit)