Tuesday, 29 August 2017

A letter to 18 year old Me (part 2)

Hi, I am Joe. 

I've just graduated from Cardiff University, with a BA in Ancient History & Religious Studies. I'm now working as much as possible in Cardiff, in the not-for-profit sector, and I am really enjoying it.

I've changed a lot over the past three years, this right here is a part 2 of a letter to me, three years ago.
(Part 1 is here)

Hi again, Joe from three years ago.

I don't know about you, but I really enjoyed writing some life tips to you last week. 

I've got a final five for you, if you're not bored sick of me. Well, I hope you're not, because you're me. This got very existential.

6. Indulge creativity
There's a time in a few years where you have a full-time job, and bills to pay. Right now, you've got the most time you'll ever have in the world, and you'd better use it. Spend a day with the guitar. Start drawing again. Enjoy creating for the pleasure of creating, not for any other reason. And bloody hell, believe in yourself you dweeb. Part of that is consuming creativity too, stop watching crap tv, I know it's a novel concept to be able to watch telly, but seriously, pick up a book. Read some poetry. Watch good films. Be a #CulchaVulcha for a bit, and enjoy it. Ooh and podcasts/Radio 4/audio books.

7. Cook
I guess this pointer is a bit like No#6, but it's something you'll really love in the future. 
Have you ever made pancakes with blueberries and cream? 
No? They're great. 
Have you ever made proper pad thai?
No? It's great.
And you'll make an amazing pasta bake, like, you'll just take the tray upstairs, screw bowls.
If you start now, you might know what herbs are, and I'd really appreciate that now.

One day you will be designated pancake maker for your house; it's a heavy burden, but a tasty one.

8. Stop wearing that jacket, you know the one
'Nuff said.

9. Start thinking about what you care about
This is a biggie. Right now,  you're a big mouth, with a veneer of intelligence. You really really think you know everything about every topic under the sun. 

I hate to break it to you flower, but you ain't jack. You're about to meet people your age who are experts in their respective fields, you'll meet some stupidly clever people. Stop nodding along without knowing what they are talking about, stop trying to look intelligent, listen to them instead. Ask dumb questions. 
"Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt" doesn't apply to learning. 
Because honestly, you are going to get some really good opportunities in the near future, be brave in them. Take every opportunity to learn. 

10. Think about your past, carefully.
Role models will dominate your head a bit, guaranteed. A few will surprise you. A few will shock you. A few will raise so high in your estimation. Be willing for that change to happen, and also:
Be willing for that unshakeable pride in your upbringing to whirl around your head for a year or two.
That will dominate your thoughts.
All that pride in the empathy, people skills, maturity, don't trust it. I'm coming back to the conclusion of the last little letter, but trust your family, and trust your close friends, and don't trust much else. 

Love you, you little git. 

All best

Future Joe.    

Monday, 7 August 2017

A letter to 18 year old Me (part 1)

Hi, I am Joe. 

I've just graduated from Cardiff University, with a BA in Ancient History & Religious Studies. I'm now working as much as possible in Cardiff, in the not-for-profit sector, and I am really enjoying it.

I've changed a lot over the past three years, this right here is a letter to me, three years ago.

Hi Joe three years ago. 

What a smelly boy you are. Good music taste though. That guitar you don't put down will be a really good friend to you, look after it. 

Here are a few words of advice, from future you. Hope they're helpful. 

And seriously, have a shower.

1. Takeaways are wonderful. But don't get them every week, they're really expensive.
That big loan and grant you have, don't spend it on takeaways. I know, you come from a family that didn't do takeaways. And it's so easy isn't it, to treat your body really badly, when quick tasty MSGy (it's a word) food is just round the corner. But the novelty factor of them will wear off, after way too much money spent on a variety of Chinese food that a Chinese person will punch you for calling Chinese food. And God it's not good for you. Future you will need to eat healthy for a few months at the end of University to drop that tummy.

2. Packed lunch
Spend £7 a week on lunch, big sandwiches/yogurts/grapes/crisps. 
Spend £17.50 a week on lunch, pasta/drink/crisps. 
Meal deals are the same as number 1, convenience = expensive (and not as filling as homemade)
This one's a no-brainer. Stop playing FIFA and drinking all the time, spend ten minutes making yourself lunch. Go on. You'll have so much more money to drink with. 

3. Blog more/Write more
Write a blog, boy. My blog has been for me, one of the most enjoyable explorations of self & ideas over the last few years. My journal similarly, the one you haven't written yet, has been amazing fun, and quite poignant every now and then. I find writing about my day, every day, is such a good habit, because in 5 years time when I look back to the 'bliss of university' I'll remember the mold on the ceilings and the bowl of plain pasta for dinner you just ate. 
In a less negative light, blogging and writing will create some awesome opportunities for you later. If you start now, who knows, future you could get paid to do it.

4. Do the things you enjoy
You will one day stop caring what people think of you so much. I know, I know. The crippling anxiety of what the person in the flat next door thinks of your new shirt is painful, but you won't live near them for much longer. Soon you'll be living with some equally awesome people, and you know that imagination you have, you'll be playing all sorts of awesome games that use that imagination. You'll meet some of the coolest people in your life, and have some amazing conversations with them. Stay close to them. Stay close to people who are just as odd as you are, and who don't care about it.

5. Trust your support network, you dummy
Sorry to say it, but there's going to be a lot of hurt in your next three years. You're going to get kicked about a bit, punched about a bit, and occasionally mistreated. The police won't be too much use, and I'm sorry about that. But remember, you little shit, you have one of the best and most supportive groups of friends you could hope for. Use them. You know your Dad? He's actually pretty good at listening for an hour to your ramblings. You know your sister? Believe it or not, she's experienced a lot of what you have, being your sister and everything, and she cares about you. You know your friends? Well you will lose a few, but the ones who stick around are the most worthwhile people in your life. They'll really help. And those takeaways I mentioned at the start? Don't feel bad about getting them sometimes, when you're feeling really low. I don't mind eating healthy now, so you can feel a little bit better on that evening. You'll know the one I mean. 

And look, me from three years ago, I know you didn't think it would be possible, but you turn out to be alright. You have a few amazing friends, too. You will develop. You will quite like you in a few years time. 

Sorry for getting emotional on you. I'll write to you in a few days with some more things you might want to know.