A Brief Note To Myself.
To my past and future selves.
There are very few things that I know for certain, but one of them is that you worry more than you should. The world is less frightening than you’re making it out to be. In fact, it’s only as scary as you allow it to be in your head.
I’m not going to patronise you with any “you can do anything” bullshit. Of course you can’t. Some things are too hard. There are things that you’re not talented enough to excel at. There are paths in life which you’re already too old or too unlucky to take advantage of. There are things which you simply won’t work hard enough to do. But I’m saying that despite all of that, you’re going to be okay if you let yourself be.
In fact, the biggest threat facing you in the world is the fact that you worry as much as you do. Don’t take this as an opportunity to start worrying about your worrying though. Instead, realise that whatever it is you’re hesitating to do, the consequences of going for it won’t be as bad as you fear. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the consequences of not going for it will be far worse. I’m speaking from experience here.
I mean, there are so many moments that we all let slip by every day. So many things we could have said, or chances we could have taken. Moments so tiny that we never think about them again. But if we’d made something of them, who knows what might have happened? Who knows where we could have been or what we could have done. And how little it would have cost us to find out?
As you get older, these are the things that are going to weigh on your mind; the things you didn’t do. The risks you didn’t take. As you get older, worry stops being something based in the future and becomes something focused on the past. That’s all regret is really; worry turned in on itself.
Still, if you don’t manage to do better than I did, that’s okay. It’s not like I criticise you for making the same mistakes I did. I’m writing this for you, but I’m also writing it for myself 20 years from now. I’m writing this in the hopes that in 20 years time, when I’m looking back on myself as I am now, I can thank myself for taking my own advice.
And that advice is to be a bit more reckless. To live your life a little less carefully than you have been. Speak to strangers. Tell people what you’re really thinking. Let yourself be vulnerable. Throw caution to the wind. At least occasionally. You can get a lot done in 20 years. So try as much as you can. Make mistakes. Don’t worry, I’ll be here to clean up the mess for you.