A letter to my eighteen year old self

Hey up, Charlie,

I know you will probably dismiss everything I say as nonsense but I ask you to read on and reread until what I tell you sinks in. I know you believe you need to live with reckless abandon because you are destined for failure. So why try? Well, I am here to tell you that you are not destined for failure. That feeling/nagging that you have; the one that tells you not to try. It is a liar. Don’t listen to it. You have more to offer than you could even begin to imagine but you have to try. You have to get off your fucking arse and do something. Instead of sitting around drinking alcohol under the pretence that you are a rebel. You are not a rebel. You are a human with huge potential that you are pissing away because you don’t dare to try to change it. Your fear of failure is stopping you from progressing.

Dismissing things because of fear isn’t cool. It’s cowardly. You have value. You know you have value because you stand up for yourself against people but yet you allow yourself to treat you like shit. You call yourself names. You eat shit food. You have no self-respect. You know what you want to do but you daren’t do it because you are scared of failing. I am telling you that until you begin to take steps you will not move. Until you start planting seeds nothing will grow. So follow your heart, soul, gut, head whatever you want to call it and ask yourself “What the fuck do I want to do?” You know. You know but you just won’t go for it because it might not work out. Make that a goal. Make it a line in the sand and head for that. That’s how you get shit done. Because the way it’s going you will spend the next fourteen years sat on a barstool moaning about how life dealt you a bad hand. When in reality you just didn’t have the courage to try to do something and as a result you became lost. Believe in your strength and make an attempt. Trying and failing doesn’t make you a failure. Not trying makes you a failure. Each attempt that doesn’t succeed is just a lesson. I should know. I have learned many along the way. Here are a few:

  • “You can do anything but not everything. You have to pick the things to sacrifice.” Spending all your time and money in the pub is doing nothing. You have one life. You can go out into the world and experience all its beauty. You don’t have to be working 9 to 5 in a job you hate. That’s where you will end up if you don’t have a plan. Even if you do have a plan it might not work out so you may as well try to do something you enjoy.
  • Look after yourself. Treat yourself with love and respect. You are young and believe you will live forever but take care of yourself. I know you are scared inside and that you think you are not enough but you are. You are enough lad. So treat yourself accordingly. Drop the act it’s a load of bollocks. Everyone knows it.
  • Don’t get into debt. It’s a trap and takes a lot of escaping. The shit you will buy will not be worth the agony of paying it off. Go without and save. By the time you have the money, you won’t want the thing by then anyway.
  • Watch how much you drink. I know you love it but be careful. It is addictive as fuck and destroys lives. I know you don’t care as you don’t believe you have any value but to realise your potential you need a bit of clarity. When you notice the drinking is getting out of hand, reach out to people for help. It isn’t weak to ask for help, it is human. We all need a helping hand sometimes.
    Don’t be scared of love. Be vulnerable. YES, you might get hurt but the trade-off is worth it… sometimes. You’ve got to buy a ticket if you want to win the raffle. Not every ticket guarantees success.
  • On the topic of emotions; don’t be scared of them. Having them doesn’t make you less of a man. Avoiding them does. So don’t be scared. Embrace them. Don’t push them down because they will manifest as anger. Internalised anger at the world. This, in turn, creates a toxic mind that will take years to purge clean, if you’re lucky.
  • Eat well and exercise; I know you don’t see the point. Just do it to look after your body. You don’t have to be ripped, just healthy. You will have more energy and will feel lighter. The saying healthy body healthy mind is missing a word; and. It should be healthy body and healthy mind because they work in harmony.
  • If you want to be creative then do it and be proud of it. Don’t be ashamed of what you can do.
    If you don’t believe how much potential you have then set a goal. When you meet an obstacle on the path to achieving that goal, instead of abandoning it, seek to find a solution. I am sure you will be surprised at what you are capable of.
  • Travel to learn about life and yourself not just get drunk. Learn about new cultures and experience life. Go with an open mind and an open heart. You will be rewarded.
  • Don’t be ashamed of feeling down. Self-medicating anxiety and depression with alcohol is the road to addiction. Seek help when you feel down. It will be hard but you have what it takes. Fuck what others think. Take the steps to get yourself well. Alcohol is more destructive than helpful. It will take a long time for you to realise.
  • Accept yourself. In its entirety. Feminine and masculine. The dark part of your soul. Your fears and strength. Until you do you will feel you are missing something. Only love can fill that void. Self-love that you can share. You will search far and wide for something to fill that void. There will be fun. There will be pain. The realisation will be you are everything you sought. Enjoy it. Bring love.

I know many people will offer this advice throughout your life and you will ignore it all. Even though you know it to be true, you will dismiss it all as boring. Well, I know how it ends up and a lot of the lessons you will learn the hard way could be avoided by listening to people other than yourself. You think you know everything. In ten years you will realise you know nothing. Ten years still, you will realise you know less than that.

Take care, mate.

I love you, I just wish I could have told you sooner.

Older Charlie

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