A Letter to My Younger Self

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You’ll grow up in the bosom of your mum’s affection.

Enjoy it, it will be a secure attachment for the next 30 years and beyond.

Your Dad will change from a gentle giant to a demanding disciplinarian. He’ll make you work hard and will have a cruel streak. He’ll expect high standards and offer little praise.

Don’t fret. His behaviour is not to do with you, it’s to do with issues arising from his own childhood, far deeper than anything you’ll have to confront in your life. Soon, you’ll be bigger than him, physically and emotionally. He’ll become inconsequential and when the time is right you’ll cut him loose. There’ll be an unexpected bonus from your Dads ways. The working world will be easy. You’ll wonder how you can get paid for what is a fraction of the effort required to work with your Dad. This work ethic combined with your mum’s emotional intelligence will serve you well.

You’ll be soft and compassionate by nature, like your mum. This will make life at school difficult, particularly primary and early secondary school. You won’t understand aggression and will be forced to tolerate it, until you can figure out what to do about it. Your gentle nature will also make you sensitive to your Dads behaviour. It will cause you to over-invest in friends who won’t invest in you. It will cause you to treat women with tenderness and respect but they won’t always see the value in that until much later.

You don’t realise it now but this is your greatest strength. Later in life, it will enable you to form many a loving relationship, mentor people to great feats and be a leader in almost every domain of your life. You’ll come to realise that strong is sensitive. You’ll learn to spread your compassion a little more wisely. There is only so much to go around, so you’ll learn to protect yourself a little better. Your relationship with women will change. They will come to notice your strength and sensitivity. This brings responsibility. They will be drawn to you in a way you are not drawn to them, be gentle with their hearts because one day you’ll wish someone was more careful with yours.

You’ll love sport. Rugby, gaelic football but in particular soccer. You’ll be of average talent. You’ll lack the aggression required for rugby and the skills needed to guarantee your place on the soccer field. This will play on your mind. It will be added to by puberty. No matter how many sit ups you do in your bedroom you cannot fight biology and so, until you grow tall, you’ll remain chubby as your Dad will remind you. This uncertainty about your athletic identity will be compounded by a younger brother full of the talent and aggression required for sporting prowess.

Your early days on the sporting field will be difficult but your love of sport will sustain you for the rest of your days. You and your friends will follow your sports teams around the globe. You too will become an athlete. In the autumn of 2003, with your mum’s encouragement you’ll go for a run with an athletics club. The main thoughts occupying your mind will be ‘how to keep up and not be embarrassed’. What you don’t realise is that this will be the first day of the rest of your life. You’ll become an athlete in a sport where your work ethic is rewarded. You’ll suffer many injuries but your perseverance will pay off. You’ll meet a mentor, an older man, who will become one of your best friends. He will be the first man in your life to tell you that anything is possible. You’ll believe him and with every step you run your confidence will soar. You’ll make a career in sport and understanding all there is to know about it. At times you will feel as though you are living your dream – you are, well done my resilient friend, well done.

In your late teens and early twenties, you’ll still feel a little at odds with the world. You’ll struggle when not surrounded by your tribe of hard working athletic friends. Working abroad you’ll wonder why you don’t want to go the pub with everyone else, every weekend. You’ll wish you could fit in a bit better but at the same time you’ll always feel compelled to choose the alternative path of your interests.

You are right and they are lost. They appear certain by the strength of their numbers. In reality, they crave, at least subconsciously, your hobbies, interests and passions. These aspects of your life are what keep you physically and mentally sharp. It’s hard being the odd one out but on a Sunday morning, look at yourself and look at them. I know which one you and they would rather be. Hold tight, being the odd one out is what will make you a great leader. Remember, although you see things clearly, they cannot, so be gentle. Give more and expect less of them and your friends. They have not yet had your good fortune.

You, your mum and your brother will become the 3 best friends that anyone could ever have and by the way, eventually those sit-ups will give you a six pack.

Aren’t you the lucky one – enjoy the rest.

This article has been published as over five hundred words, only because the author is exceptional.