What would you say if you had the chance to take a drive with your 20-year-old self? Project #YoungerMe continues…
There are a few things we should probably talk about. Maybe we could go for a drive? I process everything better when I’m driving. Cool?
What’s that in your CD player? Man, I remember CDs. I’m going to pick the tracks, OK?
I Used to be a King
That’s better. Pay attention to the songs by the way. OK, let’s get down to it. Let me tell you first that I’m not going to warn you about the next few years; I think you’ve got a good idea of what’s coming. But I do want to give you a few coping mechanisms.
Stand up for yourself. I know you think you’re already doing this but all those great comebacks you have up in that brain don’t mean shit if you can’t spit them out. It would be helpful for the both of us if you started saying exactly what you were thinking, trust me on this one. You don’t need to be mean about it, I’m just saying you need to recognize when someone is walking all over you and use these little things called “boundaries.” Conveniently, that’s also something I wanted to talk about.
You have a great imagination… don’t ever lose that.
You should learn to respect your own boundaries. I’m talking about giving yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty about it. This one applies to friends, family, relationships, DEFINITELY work. Your entire world doesn’t need to crumble every time you say no. Sometimes people won’t like it. Tough. Because the way you live-and-die by everyone’s opinion needs to stop. This might sound dumb but you don’t need to convince everyone you’re a good person.
Which brings me to this big problem we’ve still got. We absolutely need to stop worrying about what everyone thinks. And I say ‘we’ because I’m still guilty of this one. You have a great imagination and, honestly, don’t ever lose that, but all the energy you waste doubting yourself and wondering what they’re thinking, it just isn’t helping. So keep dying your hair crazy colours and if anyone asks, go ahead and call it your “rebellious period,” but I know deep down you’re not rebelling against anything, you just like the way it looks, and that’s OK! And, anyways, you should take advantage of the whole freedom of expression thing now because 2015 isn’t exactly a sanctum of tolerance and acceptance.
I hope you’ve got all this because I’m going to start pushing your buttons now.
This car stereo of yours has never been turned up past half-way. How about you roll down that window and we give it a shot?
Trouble Comes Running
HOW’S THAT? I CAN’T BELIEVE IT GOES THIS LOUD! This is making you uncomfortable isn’t it? There’s a red light coming up, maybe other drivers will glare at us, think we should turn this down?
OK, breathe, I’ll turn it down, but you have to keep listening to me. Please, for our own sanity, stop worrying about bothering everyone. This quest you’re on to please everyone you meet is totally out of control. You try to be so quiet and helpful, but here’s a thought: you can’t please everyone, and no matter how nice you are to some people, well, some people have attitude problems — and some people have a lot more than that — so relax, keep breathing buddy, roll that window back down and turn up your music. Just know that if you don’t stop trying to be everything to everyone, it’s going to get you in a lot of trouble.
I know you’re not afraid, but I’m afraid for you.
So as a favour, please try to enjoy yourself. You’re 20 years old and you act like you’re three times that age. I know it sounds impossible to lighten up right now. I know you feel like you’ve got a lot of people to live up to, and I know you feel like the expectations are impossible to achieve but please listen when I say that you’re the one setting all these lofty goals. What works for some people doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Pretty soon you’re going to revel in being the exception to the rule instead of the norm, but until you get there, try not to take everything so seriously.
Fear and Loathing
Let’s head back. I’ve got one more track for you.
Pretty good right? You’ll be able to buy this record in another few years, so keep at it with the vinyl. You’re actually ahead of your time.
Christopher, I know you’re not afraid, but I’m afraid for you. You’re worldly and thoughtful, but maybe a little naive. No matter what happens in the next 10 years I want you to hold onto everything that makes you unique. All your hopes and beliefs, and every crazy dream you have about writing. The voice you’re looking for now is just starting to develop (it’s still developing 10 years on) but in order to find it you need to stay confident and true to yourself. Enjoy things when they’re good but have to knowledge and confidence to stand up for yourself when they’re not.
I think that’s it. And anyway, it looks like we’re home, so I’ll let you get back to things.
Oh! I almost forgot. You really like gin and tonic, so try that. It helps.