A letter to my Younger Self

Steve, how are you? I’m just trying to visualise myself when I was 16. Yes, you’re ok. I know how hard things are for you just now, dealing with that overpowering shyness that has dogged you for so long and will continue to hold you back for a very long time.

What can I tell you, what do you need to know?

Well, here a few things that might be important to you.

It’s too late to tell you now that choosing metalwork over art at school was a big, big mistake. You hated metalwork I know and only chose it because of a crazy idea that it might just somehow help you get into motorsport. Wrong. It didn’t and it never would. You couldn’t drive when you were 16 and neither could your Dad. You’d probably be interested to know that the big stars of the future in motorsport were all helped by their fathers. Lewis Hamilton and Jensen Button, names that won’t mean much to you now but they became F1 stars because their fathers loved motorsport and started their sons off in go-karting and up through the racing levels until they reached the giddy heights of F1.

You should have stuck to art because you loved it and you were good at it. Remember all those times when Mr Markland would point out your painting or collage and show it to all the other pupils and comment on how good it was? Remember how good that felt? Remember too that time when you saw Mr Markland in the corridor and he told you that you were heading the wrong way to the new art room and you answered that you were doing metalwork instead. He never spoke to you again. That hurt, I know.

Anyway, at 16 it’s too late to rectify that, well, not too late. Your Dad wanted you to go on to college; you could have studied art there.

Why not give it a go Steve? I know, it would all be so new with strange places and new people but it might be worth it.

Here’s another thing. Remember when you told the careers teacher you wanted to be a journalist and he got you a job interview –at Barclays bank?

Mr Sheriff, the careers teacher said you had no chance at the Manchester evening news but what about other papers? There used to be a local one if I remember, that might have been a possibility. Did you ever think of trying for a job as a junior reporter? Maybe you could have even tried to study journalism at college. You were the top of the class in English if you remember.

Anyway, don’t think that people like Mr Sherriff have all the answers. They don’t and their advice isn’t always good. Some people just want to do the absolute minimum of work in their job and then get off for home as soon as possible. Others care about their jobs and their work and someone a little more dedicated might have listened more and given you better advice.

Try to focus on what you really want to do Steve.

Think about your job, well your future job. A job takes up so much of your time, so much of your life, it might be worth spending some time, a lot of time in fact, working out what you want to do and what you want to be involved in. At various times you wanted to work in motorsport, be a journalist, a screenwriter and a film director. Sit down and have a serious word with yourself Steve and think on this; you know that you love writing, you always have, even just for the personal pleasure of crafting a piece of writing work so maybe journalism was the job for you after all.

I’ve had some dreadful jobs and for some crazy reason I stayed far too long working for the bus company because I hadn’t got a clue how to get out of that job, how I could improve myself and go and try to do something that I would really enjoy. In a word Steve, focus. Focus and stop daydreaming and work out what you really want to do and go for it.

Oh and by the way Steve, get all that hair tidied up!

One final thing: Build a few bridges with your Dad. You and he are from different generations, different backgrounds. Make a few adjustments and try to get on with him because when he’s gone you’ll regret all that wasted time when you didn’t get on together.

One final word about your Mum. She’s very fond of saying ‘never mind’ but sometimes you should mind and mind so much that you work hard to do better and better until you get the job you want and the life you want.

One last thing, one day you might just think it is OK to fill your car’s leaky radiator with tap water on a cold and frozen New Year’s Eve just so you can get to a party. I know you really thought your car would be OK, believe me, it won’t and a little antifreeze will save you a hell of a lot of money!


Floating in Space is a novel set in Manchester, 1977. Click the links at the top of the page to buy or for more information.

A Child of the Universe


quotescover-png-67Getting older is a strange sensation. Once you reach a big birthday like sixty you start to re examine yourself and start to silently ask lots of questions. Inside, I’m the same person I always was: The same in fact, that I have been since I was a child, at least to me, at any rate. It’s only the outer layer that has changed. The outer layer has got fatter, heavier, and somewhat grayer. But inside, the essence that is me, the real me, is essentially unchanged. What is my essence though? What am I? How did I come to be, what purpose, if any, have I served?

Those questions are ones which people have been asked over and over for millennia and of course, will continue to be asked over and over again. As for the answers, well that is something different. I could quite easily be an accident of fate, just like the rest of the population, like the insect and animal world, like plant life, like the earth itself. It could be that the Creator of All Things, God, Allah, or whatever you like to call Him created us all, and that every step we take has been pre-ordained in some way. It could be that when we die we vanish, or it could be that our spirits live on, that you and I have lived before and will live again. Who knows?

It’s interesting to think that in some eastern religions, they believe that we are all born with a finite set of breaths. Breath then, in such a religion, is life itself, and when our allotment of breaths has gone, we are no more. Yoga, the understanding and practice of breathing was understandably very important to ancient people, perhaps for that very reason itself, for by controlling breath, one can live longer. It’s an interesting thought.

Another interesting concept is Samsara. In the Buddhist faith there are three primary states, birth, death and rebirth. Samsara is the wheel of life and only those Buddhist scholars who can escape from the cycle of life by meditation are those who achieve enlightenment, which in its highest form is nirvana, freedom from rebirth.

Normally, I think I would have probably taken my new birthday and my age in its stride but the big six zero does have an effect. Recently I have been on the look out for new jobs. Something more challenging, something different to what I do at present. I’ve started looking at roles outside of what I do in my day job, jobs involving social media, blogging and so on. Of course things aren’t like the old days, in the 21st century you cannot get a job without a qualification and the fact that I’ve been writing this blog for two years now, and single-handedly producing the graphics and the videos and promoting it all on Facebook and Twitter doesn’t really mean anything, not to an employer anyway. A degree in social media is what employers want. Anyway, two letters I received lately stopped me in my job hunting tracks. One was from an old employer saying they were ready to pay my pension and how and when did I want it: A lump sum? Monthly payments or a combination? Interesting, I thought. Then I got one from my current employer telling me I could retire if I wanted to or go part-time; semi retired. Well, wasn’t expecting that.

Yes, the thought of working part-time is starting to appeal to me. I’ll have more time to write, to make my videos and to create my graphics. Time to finish that second novel. Perhaps even time to take up a social media course! I’m not sure what to do but, if I continue to think about life, the universe and everything, taking up a philosophy course and really looking into the meaning of life might be an option!

It may be that the only meaning to this life is the one that you yourself give to it. I’ve always taken inspiration from that fine poem the Desiderata that says in part, ‘no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.’

We can only suppose it is.

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If you enjoyed this post, why not try my book, Floating In Space? It’s available from Amazon as a Kindle download or as a traditional paperback book. Click the links at the top of the page to buy or for more information.