Wednesday, 1 November 2017

What would you tell a younger you, if you could?


Welcome back! 

Before you ask, yes, that is me. All of about 6 years old, driving a tractor. Back when in the very late 70's, driving a tractor was considered normal on a farm. Kids had jobs. Some got paid in lollies, others with family trips to the beach.

But reminiscing is not what this post is all about. Well, not quite anyway.
This all started just the other day. I was reading a couple of different articles on the subject of teenagers/tweens, with the idea of looking to help my son who - like most teenagers in 2017 - is dealing with things like his friends not being very friendly at times, peer pressure, the presence of drugs and alcohol around him, sex and sexuality, increasing schoolwork, exams, teachers, which menu to choose from when we go out (kids or adults), not to mention him finding out where his place is in the world, what he believes in, his take on the meaning of life, how to handle conflict, job, car license, fear of the dark etc. 
Yup, all good times. Sometimes frustrating for both of us. Some just the same as when we were young, some not. All the time, we try to stay supportive. 
But it has struck me quite a lot lately, just how different being young nowadays is (in places) from when I was young, or from even when you were, no matter how old you are right at this minute you are reading this. 
Almost $1,000 iPhone's in the hands of 10 year olds seems almost common place these days, not to mention the insane levels of connectivity they have. My 3 year old granddaughter can drive YouTube on my tablet or phone, without even knowing how to spell or write.
In places, times have changed...but at the same time, some things just haven't. 
For instance, I think when boys aged between 5 and 25 hang out, the collective IQ of the group drops to the guy with the lowest IQ in support. See it all the time, plus, I should know. I've tried roof surfing on a van at 80 km/ph, have grass-skied behind a car doing 50 km/ph with a pair of shoes nailed to a skateboard deck and done tonnes of other dumb stuff. And now my 16 year old son is doing dumb stuff too, even when he is a lot smarter than I was at his age. Thankfully nothing as dumb as mine, but then like I said, he and his friends are a lot smarter than my friends and I were.
But the outcomes are more severe now. Because everything and everyone is connected.
The pressures and expectations seem to be very different than they were a decade ago, and they will be again with every new generation. Buzz words like "Busyness" aim to explain how being busy is now the new normal. What about the changes in yours and your team members expectations? Consider commerce in general. 
Intensities do seem to be growing. Things are moving faster. I don't think its overwhelming or anything, just being aware of the fact things change quickly is enough of a fact to deal with.
So where am I going with all this? Why would I write the subject "What would you tell a younger you, if you could?"

Sometimes its important to look back, before you can go forward.
Are you interested in what you would change now as a result of the things you would tell yourself back then? Would you still date that girl? Marry that guy? Invest in that get-rich-quick scheme?  
And if you would tell yourself NOT to do those things, have you considered the good things that happened as a result of doing those bad things? Maybe you had a child with that person, maybe you met the love of your life in the adjacent jail cell or someone taught you the error of your ways and now you lead a life all the better for it? Maybe all that TV helped you become a winner on a game show. 
Lastly, how interesting would it be to find out whether or not you still do the things you would tell yourself not to do? Do you still stay quiet when you want to - and know you need to - speak up?
Here are a couple I found on the internet to start you off.
  • Use your voice when you have something perceptive to add. Don't be afraid, because others will be using theirs. It is better to be heard than drowned out by some who are just being loud just to be heard, not because they actually have anything worthwhile to say.
  • "Different" does not mean wrong, different is just that.

  • Fear of the unknown should be embraced - you're about to experience something brand new that you have never done/experienced before - lucky you! But be careful. 

  • Regarding equality: You deserve it. It's not conditional. You don't have to exchange anything in order to qualify for it. It's yours. Take it, and make no apologies for doing so. There are times when you'll need to apologise for the things you've done, but don't ever apologise for demanding to be treated like a human being. Don't let the fear of retribution chip away at your voice until you wake up one day and realise that you've forgotten how to speak.

  • Regarding strength: You will meet people in this world who will try to convince you that you have none. They need you to be weak because it's the only way they can feel any power over you. But you are stronger than anyone could possibly imagine. You are bright and fierce and beautiful and your feelings matter. YOU matter. And you are not alone.

  • Work harder. Surpass expectations. Ask for help when you need it.

  • Enjoy the little moments; celebrate all the good things that happen to you, no matter how small.

  • Listen to others when they speak no matter what their role in your life. Sometimes the greatest advice comes from the least likely place.

Now if I had to talk to me at 12-13, here are a couple I would have to add;

  • You will not die a horrible death when you ask out that smoking hot popular girl and your voice goes from Barry White to Barry Gibb (Bee Gees). Your face - no matter how red - will probably not explode.

  • Putting hand-fulls of cutlery into a microwave and putting it on HIGH for 5 minutes is NOT a good idea. Yes the sparks will be kinda cool and hypnotically pretty, but the smoke pouring from the front and sides will not. Nor will the look on your Dad's face. Or the Fireman's.

  • It is not the best idea to pop a fully inflated dead cow that has bloat and been sitting there for a few days waiting to be picked up. Yellow and green are not flattering colours against your skin tone. Nor is an aroma that makes other living things cry.

  • It is also not the greatest plan to stab a fully inflated Hilux 4x4 tyre with a steak knife "like in the movies" just to see what happens. It will be loud.  It will be painful. As will the five finger marks be on your leg. Also - yes, Adults can run A LOT faster than you think.

  • It is likely Mum WILL NOT appreciate the fine construction of the metal sharpened ninja stars you make in metalwork. Nor will she appreciate how amazing it will be that you are able to throw them around the house with such mind-numbing accuracy and not smash a single picture on the wall. And no, the "holes" will not add character to the house. 

  • And finally, coolness and popularity are not the be all and end all. All those popular cool kids - some who want you to hang with them, others who tried to put you down - will not be the most successful people in life you know.  

So that's mine, now its your turn to share. 

What would you tell you?


  1. That's easy - I would tell my younger self that her childhood is the last of its kind, so appreciate all that it is. Run hard at Bullrush, buy as many double-happies as you can (and stash them away for soon they'll be illegal), climb that tree to the highest branch, and make more Joey guns. I do my best to teach my kids now the beauty that was back then, but it's getting harder.

    1. Hahahaha great answer! But have to ask...what is a joey gun?