Wednesday, December 14, 2011
To 30 year old me...
You're gonna fade into the background
Like a better smoke'll bring you back round
Like a man slide inside you my dear
Your cheap beer's filled with crocodile tears
Hello! Happy Birthday! Aren't you surprised to get a letter from me. I'm you, from the future! I've always wanted to say that. 10 years exactly. Yeah, you make it to 40. Aren't you glad? You weren't really sure. It's hard to think of your 40th birthday when you've just turned 30. I'm certainly not thinking of my 50th...
So I'm sure you expect me to tell you all about the next 10 years. Well, no. I can't do that. We wouldn't want to end up in one of those "Back to the future" situation, now, would we? Especially as I still don't have a time machine (I'm saying too much already!)
However, what I can give, is a lot of advice. You're still slightly wet behind the ears at 30. Don't deny it, I know you are. It's nothing wrong, you're just finding your way. I know you won't listen to my advice, because frankly, you're a cocky little shit at 30. It will take you a while to be confident enough to drop the pretense.
But still, as you have to respect your elders, and I have 10 more years experience than you being you, here goes. At least think about it.
At the moment, you're a bit confused. You arrived in England 4 years ago, it's not been easy, you've already had some tough time, but right now you're in a good place. You think your life is going the right way. Sure, a few things missing (where's the wife?), but already you're afraid of losing it all. You have things to lose though, isn't that a wonderful feeling?
Bear in mind that you've proven nothing yet. Especially to yourself.
So that would be my first advice : Work hard. Harder. Don't be satisfied with good enough. Acceptable. I know you have it in you, I know that ultimately you don't want to be just good enough, but if you don't put the work in, that's all you'll be. Or less than that. And you know you abhor mediocrity.
Love like you want to be loved. If you don't put enough of yourself in your relationships, they will wither and ultimately die. I know you're afraid of being hurt, so you hold back, but if you're not honest with the person you're with, then it's not a relationship, it's a lie. Every morning you should remind her why you're together, and that you love her. And if she doesn't like it, then she's obviously not the right person for you. You're passionate, that's who you are.
Don't bottle your emotions. There is nothing wrong with a public display of emotions. All emotions. You laugh in public, you get angry in public, so you should also cry in public. Life is not always a bed of roses, some things will bring you down, and it's okay to share this with others. Some people think that it is a sign of weakness, they couldn't be more wrong. It's a strength. It means you're dealing with it. It means you have nothing to hide. It means you're at peace with yourself.
Don't try to be somebody you're not. Learn from others, but don't copy them. Trust your instincts. Trust your gut feeling. It's possibly the most difficult thing you'll face, but it is so important to your development. Don't be afraid of failure, in fact, fail regularly, if only to remind yourself that you're not infallible and that you still need to work. And failure means you've tried. The more you try, the more you'll fail, but the more you'll succeed too. These are the rules.
And finally, quite possibly the best advice you'll ever receive. Don't feel sorry for yourself. You have a tendency to wallow in self pity, And that's why I have to give you these advices. The minute you feel sorry for yourself, you change the geometry of your life. It's not longer the line it should be, it becomes a circle, and infinite loop.
I can tell you one secret. You'll fullfill one of your lifelong dreams. You'll have your own business. And it will be a very steep learning curve. I'm not going to tell you the outcome of this, you'll have to find that out by yourself. The popular saying that a business takes over your life is certainly true. But you cannot run a business as you live your life, as much as you cannot live your life as you run a business. You already know this, it has happened to you, when work is the only thing in your life, and work goes badly, your life goes badly. It's also very true when owning a business. It will take over your life but try to do other things too. You need to blow steam somehow.
I'm sure you have plenty of questions for me, but hey, it's a letter, not a discussion. One question I'm ready to asnwer is "If you had the chance to do the last 10 years all over again, would you do things differently?". Of course I would, that's what exeprience is for, isn't it? Hindsight. A beautiful thing. And without your next 10 years, I would never know that.
So once again, happy birthday. You're entering a new era in your life, and you don't have to be afraid. Don't fear your future. It's all to be written. Live, love, fail, succeed, but most of all, find yourself.
Oh, and in November 2011 you will have a massive screwup. And then you'll end up as me. Tough. I'm not taking the blame, it's in my past now...