Sunnyside Up

dear me

As part of some personal development I was doing this week, I was asked to write a letter to my 16-year-old self. I was asked to tell him from the perspective of the same man with 25 years more life experience what he could have done different, what he could have done better, what he excelled at and what he had done that he was proud of.

A difficult and thought provoking task that proved to open many channels of emotion within me as I relive some of my life experiences that in my day to day I had possibly forgotten about, some things that I was ashamed of, some things that I have never told anyone about and the moments that I was most proud about. I wrote to tell that silly, stroppy young boy how life can change and how his life would develop over time and what he should do better or different.

A difficult challenge, but made easier with the hindsight of “life experience”.

Later that day, I thought to myself “now if I was doing that exercise once again in another 25 years’ time what would that 66 year old man write to me now as a 41 year old? To think that and write that letter without the benefit of the experience of the years is even harder....

I think that my 66 year old self would start by telling me that he would really appreciate it if I drank less and he would really be grateful if I exercised more so that his 66 year old body was slightly fitter and more sprightly. He would go on to say that he would be ever so thankful if I put slightly more aside in savings for my later years to make him more comfortable.

But I think that the focus of his letter would be to tell me just how fast the next 25 years will go by, “time doesn’t stand still” he would say, “Blink and another month has gone by”. He would remind me that once upon a time I wanted to start my own business and if this is the case then please get on with it, he didn't do it and he can’t do it now at 66 so take the chance, take the leap while you still can.

He would politely remind me that I always wanted to write a book but never found the time, he would say “those pages won’t write themselves so get started, because soon your memory won’t remember the story you want to tell”.

He would tell me about the trips and holiday that I wanted to take and never did, “now this old body wouldn’t make it” he would tell me as he includes photo cuttings from the internet of the places he wanted to go but didn’t.

He would tell me to “make the most of the moment, it may be stressful, it may be busy, but once that moment has gone, it has gone for good”. “Don’t wish your life away – because it will go before you know it” he would write. “All those moment when you say to yourself, I just can’t wait till next month, I can’t wait till the kids are older, I can’t wait till…….. are times when you are not looking at the NOW. You are looking to the future and missing the moment” and those moments will fly by and never return.

"Make the most of the moments, make the most of family time, don't wish any of it away, make a whole bunch of really good memories for me to look back on and enjoy with a fondness. Make moments for me to be proud of, be everything you can be and more."

"Because if you don't, Before you know you will be 66 and writing this letter regretting the things you never did."

On reflection I think that is probably exactly what he would write. But is that everything that I would want him to write? I am not so sure….

Have a think, what would your older self write to you? Is it what you would want to read!!

Now I’ve got to go, my 66 year old self is waiting for me and I have things to do to make him proud...


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