Many of us dream about what might have been. We daydream about our past decisions and we fantasise about how different life might have been if we’d gone left instead of right.
We think about what might have happened if we’d told our high school crush how we felt or what would happen if we took that job opportunity we passed. The list is endless but the point is, what if you could send a letter to yourself as a teenager? What would you say? How much information would you divulge to yourself and your future? Would you tell them about your mistakes and how to avoid them or would you simply instil some much needed wisdom upon your past self to help them through a difficult time?
Well, these are question I put to myself as I sat down to write a letter to my past self, my teenage self.
To My Teenage Self,
Regret is a funny old thing. Everyone has it, even if they say they don’t. It could be regret about something as small as having that second helping of ice cream after dinner. But for many of us, it can be something much more serious.
I think it’s human nature to look back at ones life and wonder “What If…” is it not?
I don’t think there’s a person alive that can honestly look back at their life and not find at least one point in time where they wish they’d made another choice, even if it’s just a small thing.
For many of us, there are a lot of moments throughout our lifetime in which we were presented with a clear choice to make, a choice which we then later look back on as being the wrong decision despite how right it felt at the time.
At the time of writing you, I am halfway through my 26th year on this planet. Life hasn’t exactly gone the way I had expected it to go when I was your age. A lot has changed in the past ten years. I’m stronger, wiser, older… Your dreams? They’re not my dreams..
I’ve changed from the care free boy you see in the mirror every morning into, what can only be described as a faded reflection of my former self but you know what? I’m OK with that because I’m better off.
Sure, you may not end up the richest person around but I learned a couple of years ago that success isn’t measured is the size of your bank balance, it’s measured in happiness and the truth is I’ve never been happier than I am right now. Anyone who can say they failed when they followed their dreams is a hero in my book because at least they had the guts to try.
Yes, you’re going to make mistakes in your life. A lot of mistakes actually. I’d love to tell you what not to do and what to avoid. I’d love to tell you who is going to hurt you, who isn’t worth your time and above all, I’d love to tell you how the girl you think you’re in love with right now isn’t worth a second thought.
The thing is though, I’m not going to tell you what to do or what choices to make. Every failed relationship I’ve had, every broken friendship, every failed endeavour has led me here to this point in my life.
You need to figure out the answers on your own because no matter how bleak the future may seem at certain points in your life, trust me when I say it all turn out OK. Our life may not be perfect, but it’s a pretty damn good one so don’t lose hope no matter how black the night may seem.
I started this letter wondering what I’d go back and do differently in my life and the truth us, I wouldn’t change a thing. Every choice I’ve made has led me here, and in t truth, I quite like it here. Everything I’ve done up until this point has made me the man I am today.
However, if I could give you a little piece of simple advice?
Stop looking to the future and focus on your present. Value the time you have because the future will come around quicker than you realise. Make the most of every day you have and savour every moment because they won’t come around again and before you know it, you’ll be me.
Until next time,
Your Future Self.