For Christmas I received a wonderful book titled Letter To My Younger Self, a compilation of interviews with various celebrities, where they consider what they would tell their 16 year old selves about what life holds for them.
A Twitter pal and I wondered together what we would write to our 16-year-old counterparts if we could and I want to share my letter with you here.
It‘s good to write to you because it forces me to remember who I was and how I felt at 16. You must’ve just completed your mock GCSE exams. I remember that Mum had our watch re-strapped to mark the occasion and that we started getting eczema on our left hand; we all thought it was the new watch strap causing the problem, but we were wrong. It gets worse, but please just treat it as the Doctor tells you and it will be a lot easier to cope with. Don’t worry, it almost completely disappears by the time you reach your early 40s!
Oh, and about the GCSEs, you end up just getting enough to get into college, but if you’d done an ounce of work you would’ve flown!
I know how scared you are of the world, but I also know how keen you are to branch out – to go and do things and live in places just a little bit different from where you’re growing up. Just be careful; you’re in a big hurry and you’re about to bite off more than you can chew. Don’t rush, take things slowly. You’ll end up being disappointed with yourself and your self worth will plummet.
It’s okay to be shy and awkward, just be honest, with yourself mostly, and then quite naturally you will be with others too. Up until now you’ve spent a lot of time lying – to make things seem and feel better, but you don’t need to. You have wonderful friends who love you – a family that thinks you’re amazing and you’ve been born into a wealthy western country; you have no fucking problems!
Ah, the gay thing; you’re really not feeling too great about that are you? You may find that you already know a couple of people who are gay and they will be right by your side throughout it all, so don’t worry. Another thing, society is going to change dramatically over the next few years; that Section 28 thing – gone (eventually), marriage, kids; all of it possible one day soon. Hang in there and don’t feel ashamed of who you are.
Just remember that you can’t control everything and you certainly have no business trying to control the people about you. The only thing that you are in control of is how you react to things. You do need time on your own a lot – it gives you the energy to be the best version of you for the people around you, but don’t forget to make sure that you don’t retreat at times when others need you present. Be sensitive to how your solitude affects others.
You’ve made some great friends at school, and yet you’re in a big hurry to branch out and meet new people, but keep making the effort with those school friends throughout adulthood – they’re always there for you and probably know you better than most and love you anyway!
It’s interesting as I sit and write this aged 43 in January 2020, as an alcoholic 8 months into recovery, that I find myself wondering if i I should stop you from ever picking up a drink. Could I really ever do that though? I doubt I would listen to this particular piece of advice. Just know that whatever you might think, you do have a problem with alcohol and this ‘controlled drinking’ experiment ends up driving you insane.
Try and give in and surrender sooner, your life is much happier when you do and alcohol is gone completely. Oh, just one more thing about the drinking; PLEASE do not drink and drive. PLEASE.
Despite the struggles and the high octane emotions that are to come, your life is good and you can appreciate it if you’re present in the moment.
See you when you’re 43.
All my love
P.S. Never date men called Geoff or Clive. Mx
2 thoughts on “Letter to my 16 year-old self.”
Love this, Matt!
If only we could love ourselves fiercely when we were young!
Its always hard to wonder if you could give 16 year old you advice on how to avoid the upcoming pitfalls, would you?
And if we did, wouldn’t that make us completely different people now? And not necessarily better people. Have learned its not good to regret the stuff you can’t change…
Maybe we should get together in a decade and repeat the exercise.. lol