This morning on BBC Breakfast there was guy talking about writing a letter to his 16 year old self. It caught my interest mostly because I’ve found that writing is the most therapeutic thing in the world to me.
I have journals and notebooks full of streams of conscious, I’m writing whatever comes into my head, I’m working out a problem, or how I feel about something. If anyone ever reads any of that stuff they’ll discover two things. 1) They’ll think I’m far more crazy than they ever thought and 2) They’ll be able to see my thought process at work and wonder how I’d avoided the nice padded cell.
So with all of that in mind, I’ve written myself a letter. Not my 16 year old self, I figure at 16 I was allowed to make all kinds of stupid mistakes, it is after all what 16 year olds are meant to do. No I’m writing to my 25 year old self. 25 is a weird year, I think it’s harder than being 40, at 25 you’re not a kid anymore but you’re not an adult either. It’s like being in limbo. It’s even more weird and hard if you still have no idea what you want or even who you are. God knows I didn’t have the answer to either of those, and 16 years later I’m only now working out who I am and I’ve changed my mind about what I want so many times even I’ve lost track.
So with that in mind, here’s my letter to myself
First of all, Happy Birthday! I know you have no idea why you want to cry and why this birthday is so hard but I know. You set yourself these targets, all of them you haven’t achieved. I know right now it’s hard to see past feeling like a great big blob of fail but believe me you’ll get past it and in a few years you’ll be so glad you missed out on all of them!
I know you feel like the black sheep of the family, you are the only one not working, still living at home and you’ve not seen the inside of a college. You’re doing that thing that you’ve done since you were a kid. You’re comparing yourself to others, I’d tell you to knock it off but I’m still doing it. Believe me though, you aren’t the black sheep, just because you still haven’t worked out where you fit in the world doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Nor does it make you the black sheep, the weird one who still lives at home. In years to come you’ll actually embrace that feeling of weirdness and make it your own. You’ll happily walk to the beat of your own drum and know that it’s not only fun but it’ll in some ways define who you are. In a few years you’ll hear the song Minority by Green Day and feel a connection to the song in a massive way.
Life does get better and you’ll end up having adventures beyond you’re wildest dreams in a few years. So go have some fun now. Enjoy being you, stop trying so hard, stop worrying about things you can’t change. Just be you.
You may never work out what kind of a career you want but that’s okay, you’ll settle into a job and discover you’re pretty good at it.
One last thing, stop worrying about not feeling like an adult. You’ll be happy you never really grow up, growing old is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to grow up. Growing up is boring, you’ll be happy to know.
With lots of love,
ps Get Dad to give you the Mustang a hell of a lot earlier than he does! Don’t ask questions it’s all spoilers, just do it.