Dear Young Scar,
I thought I’d take this opportunity to write you a letter. I’ve seen these things on other people’s blogs from time to time, and I’ve thought about doing one for ages.
It’s the 18th of December 2015. You know what that means? Carols on the radio, lights up all over town, and people constantly banging on about Christmas. It’ll still annoy you, here in the future. But guess what? It’ll no longer make you sad or afraid. You’ll get over the sadness in about 2012, when you first spend Christmas with a friend. You’ll get over the fear a few years later, but more on that in a while.
Speaking of which: you’ll have friends, and they’ll be good ones. They won’t be the ones they’re currently forcing on you in your religion: those girls who are alright, but who really don’t *get* you at all. They’ll be proper friends, true friends, and you’ll feel lucky to have as many as you do. You won’t be able to imagine your life without them.
You’ll still be friends with Hannah. Being secret BFFs with her while you were at school will pay off. She’ll have grown into just the fantastic person you knew she would. And you’ll have new friends too, and they’ll be wonderful. Some of them you’ll meet through random circumstance, but most of them through work.
It won’t surprise you to learn that you’ll do loads of different jobs: some simultaneously, some consecutively. It will surprise you that you’ll be doing them because you love them, and that the horrible exhaustion you’ve felt all through life will go away. Mainly because you’ll actually go to bed sometimes in the future. Pretty much every day, in fact. Finally, in your late twenties, you’ll have learned how to sleep.
At 26 you’ll overcome your biggest fear. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that makes sense, and isn’t just a phobia of spiders or something. The one you can’t tell anyone about. Well, it’ll surprise you to learn that it’ll go away. Quite suddenly, in fact. You’ll wake up one day and realise you’re no longer afraid of it. You’ll see it for what it is, rather than the monster it’s been in your head for as long as you can remember. Part of this will be because you do end up telling people – only a few people, those you trust the most.
That’s right: you trust people now. I know reading that sentence is sending a lightning bolt of fear arcing through your core, but I promise it’ll be OK. They’re good people, the ones you trust. You’ll learn to tell the difference.
Part of the fear going away will be due to your job. You’ll end up working in an area that’ll make you proud. Oh, and there’s another thing: you’ll be pleased with yourself for what you’ve achieved. It’ll take a long, long time, and will involve a pretty major breakdown around 25. But it’ll be worth it, because you won’t hate yourself anymore.
But getting back to the job, because I know you’re obsessed with work, so you’ll want to hear about it.
You’ll do a few different things, which will come as no surprise. One of these will be working in forensics. You’ll help to solve crimes against children, and it will give you more satisfaction than you knew was possible.
You’ll also write for a living. I know, I know, you’re now jumping up and down and grinning widely. It won’t be quite what you expected, though. You’ll learn a few things about yourself as you get older; some things that won’t surprise you (you were right, you really don’t care about earning loads of money), and some things that will (you really, really love physics. Try telling Mr. Beaumont that!).
There will be a patch in your twenties – most of your twenties, in fact – where you do a number of things you deeply regret. Having said that, I’m not going to advise you not to do them, which probably means you don’t really regret them. You’ll learn some big life lessons through them, and although you’ll come out the other side asking yourself what the hell you were thinking, you’ll end up a better and fuller person for it.
Oh, and you’ve almost fulfilled your childhood dream of flat, cat and Fiat. The only thing missing is the car. In 2015, you still won’t be able to drive. I know, that’s insane. You’re a petrolhead and an F1 fanatic. But it’ll seem small in the grand scale of things.
You’ll travel a lot. You’ll get over your perfectionism in about 2013 and you’ll do stuff like play a gig where things go horribly wrong and not care; go abroad and not really be able to speak the language but muddle through…
Essentially, over the next fifteen years or so, you’ll learn to live. So in those times when it’s all getting too much and you’re sitting in the common room writing angsty poetry late into the night, looking forward to another night sleeping in the hut outside because at least that means you don’t have to go home, remember that it gets so much better than this that it feels like a whole different life.
Remember that, and keep going.
I know you’ll keep going anyway, because you’re a badass. I admire your ability to doggedly carry on through the worst of situations without complaining. You’ll lose a bit of that as you get older, but only because life will become so much easier that it won’t be necessary.
Thank you for getting me to this point. I hope you enjoy it when you arrive.