I first felt inspired to write this letter to my 10 year old self in December after listening to a feature on Scott Mills Radio 1 show where listeners shared their own letters.
I’ve felt inspired to come back and finish it after reading a post by my friend, Claire Grainger, who’s planning to write her own post to her younger self. I’ve found this exercise both very compelling, hard in some places but very therapeutic.
Dear 10 year old Steven
In a few months from now, you’ll finish Primary School and move up to High School. You’ll meet lots of new friends, many of whom you’ll cherish reconnecting with in years to come. Before all that, though, you’ll go into hospital to have your appendix removed. On the plus side, you get to watch Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles light up the 1981 FA Cup Final replay from the comfort of your hospital bed as you recover.
You’ll be excited about getting out in time to go on your last school trip to Arbroath and buy some smokies. This will make you laugh as you look back on it but, weirdly, by the time you’re 50, a trip like this will feel as appealing!
You’ll discover that you’re not the best scholar at High school but that won’t stop you from doing anything you set your mind to. Besides, the job you end up doing and the one you leave to do it don’t exist while you’re at school!
Life Changing Moments
When you’re 26, you’ll experience some back pain that becomes the catalyst that changes your life. You decide that you don’t want your life to be affected by back pain in the same way your Mum did. View this as a sign that you need to do something about your fitness, and despite having not run the length of yourself for a while, you enter the London Marathon. You get in first time. You’ll choose to break this news to your mum by telling her that you’re going to be on tv. Her words, when you tell her that you’re going to be running a marathon will be “Yer aff yer heid!”
Running the marathon will give you a sense of achievement you’ve never felt before when you cross the finish line. You’ll run it again the following year and come away feeling inspired to help others achieve the things they previously didn’t believe possible for them as you have just done. Believing that if you can do it, anyone can, you quit your job as a Pizza Chef and train to become a Personal Trainer. When you’re 35, you decide to pursue what will be your ultimate dream by setting up your own business.
After reading another article in the same magazine, you start meeting up with your Dad every week for coffee and get to know him as a man as that’s how you’ll turn out, according to the article.
This is one of the best things you will do.
You will discover that your Dad is a truly amazing person and will chat to everyone. This will feel frustrating to start with but you’ll discover that one of life’s little pleasures is chatting to a complete stranger in a coffee shop. Among the many things you learn from your Dad, you’ll learn that experiences, the people you share them with and how they make you feel are far more valuable than things.
You’ll get to know a lot of amazing people through these chats in coffee shops and those you will work with. They will all help you learn something, either to help you move closer towards where you want to be or become clear on what you don’t want. The most valuable person you will meet will be Allison, who will eventually become your wife. The true romantic you are, you will propose to her the night before her first Half Marathon to calm her nerves!
After reading the book Yes Man, by Danny Wallace, you decide to try saying ‘yes’ more in the year leading up to your 40th birthday. This turns out to be the most amazing, memorable year of your life. You’ll do so many amazing things, visit amazing places and make lots of new friends.
The highlight of the year is getting married to Allison and it’s the most amazing feeling ever! You’ll celebrate your birthday in the best way possible, having a day out in Edinburgh with friends, going ice skating and having a few drinks.
Life Is Precious
Sadly, your parents won’t be around to see you turn 50. Despite being fit, healthy and rarely ill, your Dad is diagnosed with cancer and passes 3 months later. Your Mum dies suddenly a couple of years later. Nothing I can say will prepare you for either of these things happening. Running will provide you with the space to fully express your grief, feel at peace that they’re reunited once more. You will find that openly speaking to them while you run, to say thank you for everything they taught you becomes comforting and something you continue to do during every long run.
It isn’t until you go to clear out the house afterwards that you come across letters and cards that your parents sent each other that you realise that while you look like your Dad, you have a lot of your Mum’s character. You will treasure the creativity, tenacity and sheer stubbornness and these will serve you well in your business. It is at this time that you wish you’d got to know your Mum, as a woman, in the same as you got to know your Dad.
You’ll become aware of how much you have inherited from each of your parents. Growing up, you’ll hate these comparisons and rebel against your Dad as he teaches you about making exercise feel enjoyable. As you grow older, you’ll cherish these characteristics and feel proud that you’ve inherited them. Dad’s philosophy about exercise feeling enjoyable and that what you look like, how much you weigh, how fast you run etc not being important, will become your own philosophy for helping people achieve their goals.
Your parents will teach you that you CAN do anything, you will go onto achieve many more amazing things and help others do the same. Mum will teach you HOW to do it, or be able to find your own way to do it. Your Dad will teach you the determination to do it, to prove a point to those who doubt you and to have fun while doing it.
Over to you. If you were to write a letter to your 10 year old self, what would you say?
Give it a go for yourself, tag me in it or send me the link as I’d love to read your story.