We would all love to go back in time & tell our younger selves everything we now know. Reassure ourselves that everything will be fine. Explain that school teaches you very little, but does prepare you for the much harsher lessons that follow in ‘real’ life. But if you could go back, what would you say? Except from, beer eventually tastes better & don’t ride your bike straight into the corner of wall. That scars…see picture.
I was cheeky kid, average in school & loved to play football. But I always looked up to people who had seen the world, experienced people bursting with real world knowledge. Like any young boy I admired extreme sports athletes, surfers, skaters, climbers, skydivers amongst all the others. Me & my friends would always end up hurting ourselves trying to copy these guys. Building ramps & throwing our bikes over them, towing sleds behind cars I the snow (not recommended) & rolling cheap skateboards down local hills. These were my interests for a long time, however my life took a different path for a while. Looking back I was never completely happy at this time. Although without it leading me to breaking point I wouldn’t have accomplished as much by now.
In my late teens I stopped all these fun activities, got myself a good job & became a gym going robot, someone who’s life was planned daily. Anyhow 4 years later my life switched back again & I found myself in Switzerland. Getting back to the stuff I loved growing up, skating, going on surf trips to incredible locations, snowboarding. Even pushing out of my comfort zones, cliff jumping, shark diving & trail running.
A couple of years on from the big move to Switzerland & I had a real moment of clarity. I had become the person I once looked up to. Not through forcing it or pretending to be that guy, it just happened organically. It was a feeling of being at peace, contentment. Not in a bragging “look at me” kind of way. Just finally able to say I was happy in my own skin. I mean don’t get me wrong Ive made & will continue to make mistakes. However this meant I was now able to focus on other things. I no longer need to impress anybody as long as I’m being myself. I can focus on being creative, getting my ideas out in the world. Push boundaries further & explore my limits.
So what would I tell my younger self?
“Education is a gateway but not the makings of you”.
I haven’t used any qualifications from school or college to create this life I’m now living. I’m sure others have goals which require good grades, I’m just stating that its possible to do more with your life despite a grade or score you are given by someone who has never met you.
“Take every opportunity possible”.
Become more of a ‘Yes Man’ & live outside your comfort zone. More opportunities will arise from this, new experiences will be gained & lessons will be learned. I’ve learned so many new skills over the past couple of years & purely by taking opportunities others have offered, some of which have felt awkward or have been unsuccessful but overall, it’s worked out positive.
“You can’t control everything”.
Stop worrying about things you cannot control. Stop focussing on today or tomorrow, the future. Whether a girl or guy likes you. All of this is out of your control. Focus your energy on things which are within your control, it’s a hard lesson to learn but is extremely healthy.
“Let go of planning everyday”.
Put simply if you knew what was going to happen everyday for the rest of your life what would be the point of experiencing it. The beauty of life is not always knowing the future. The most exciting parts are the ones you weren’t expecting, that is what feeling ‘alive’ is about. Loose plans are the best let life build things around them.
“Judge no one”.
I have realised that you can never tell the details of somebody else & their life. I’ve met some really interesting people around the world, some homeless, some drug addicts, some are rich beyond belief. The point is that no matter their social status, there are reasons for this. I met some homeless dudes telling some pretty extravagant stories but really how can I tell if they are real or not. I’ve met women who are ‘Ritchie Rich’ rich, but who’s to say they hadn’t built their business from ground up, maybe its even charitable.
“Talk to everyone”.
Talking is the easiest way to learn, impress & network. My previous point can be linked to this not only are people generally interesting they have so much knowledge to give. Maybe you make friends for life or maybe you just keep someone company & make their day. Being a traveller I dip in & out of Switzerland quite a lot, so the last time I returned, completely broke, I had to find work fast. In the past 4 months of being back I’ve had 4 jobs. Some were temporary but all of them were earned through talking to people. I gained nothing from writing a CV (Resume).
This blog came about because my close friend from home just visited me. It made me rethink some awesome times growing up, times which shaped the men me & Danny have become. Its great looking back now & being proud of myself & friends I grew up with. Just realising that my younger self would have looked up to me is an awesome feeling. One I hope continues long into my future. Who knows 1 month, 1 year, 3 years, from now maybe things will be different but for now this is me talking to a younger Matt. “Don’t Worry”.