21 February 2014

My advice to you

I have toyed for a long time with the 'after I've died' letter. There is so much I want to say but I have struggled with the juxtaposition of emotions involved. There's the dislike I feel for the morbid nature of a letter from beyond the grave. And then there's the desire I have to share the sentiments and emotions attached to such a letter. So this is my compromise. Here's what I'd say, if I had died, topped and tailed by a reminder that I haven't. I will probably bawl my eyes out whilst writing this. But that's ok.

I would certainly have very different advice for you if I were to die in 10 years time but what I have to say now will never stop being relevant so, here goes:
So, your Mummy has gone and it will be a very hard thing to come to terms with for a while. But then one day it will be easier. You probably won't notice that day coming but I absolutely promise you that it will. And if there is one thing I need from you now it is to know that you are ok. Don't deny me that.
So, now that I know you're ok, there are some things I want you to try to remember. Things that will matter to who you are and who you become. Things you mustn't ever lose sight of.

You are only three at the moment but you are currently very aware of other people's feelings and emotions and are visibly affected by them yourself. This is such an important quality. Never stop caring and being there for your friends and family. Empathy (look it up if you're not sure) benefits those around you but also helps you to obsess less about yourself and your own woes. Self obsession is not a nice or healthy trait. See life through other people's eyes. It will help you in a wide array of situations.

Now, material stuff. It's nice, but it really doesn't matter. Flash cars, fancy toys, big houses, they do not make a person. Don't judge anyone on what they own. Ever. What makes a person is who they are, what they contribute, how they behave and how they make you feel. I wrongly thought that that material stuff was important once. But it's really not. Please believe me. I have come to realise that removing any focus on material things is healthier than wanting them or obsessing about who else has them. Happiness is not in any of those things so stop looking for it there. I can guarantee that you will get as much happiness from being around the right people and fulfilling your own creative potential than you will from anything material.

However....There will be things you want and need. And for those things you must work hard, earn your own money and buy them yourself. It is the right and only way to be. Don't expect them to come to you. This is such an important message for me to communicate to you for so many reasons. You shouldn't look for wealth from anywhere other than from your own endeavours. You are bright, resourceful, clever and beautiful and you will be capable of a brilliant career that you will forge for yourself. It will create a secure future for you and will make you proud of yourself. You will be able to look back and say, "I achieved that. No one else. Just me". There will be people to help you along the way and to look out for you, of course there will, but if you can be strong and independent then you'll be able to deal with any curve balls which come your way.

The next thing you must do is cherish your friendships and work hard to maintain them. 
My best friends are everything to me and have become more important the older I've got. I am grateful every day for them. You must nurture your friendships too. Your lifelong friends, almost certainly, aren't in your life yet but keep your eyes and heart open, you never know! When you're little they'll share your adventures. When you're teenage they'll share the angst that you will feel nearly every single god damn day. And from there on in they will help you to shop for clothes that you won't look stupid in (you will buy some clothes that you look stupid in *remembers some fashion disasters from the '90s* but your best defence against this will be your friends). They will buy you exactly what you want on your birthday because they know you inside out. They will understand what films you'll love and tell you when they're on so you don't miss them. They'll write perfect messages in your cards reminding you how lucky you are and they'll be your insides when it feels like yours have been crushed for whatever reason. You really can't buy that stuff.

Some less important things:

- pay a little bit of attention to keeping healthy. I was fat and unhappy for a long time
- you'll regret bleaching your hair. Mine turned to straw for a while
- don't drink too much alcohol. It never works out well
- watch how much eyeliner you use at around age 15. I looked like Robert Smith from The Cure for a period (Google him)

And above all of this, know that you are absolutely everything to me. You're the best thing that ever happened to me and I love you unconditionally and always will.

See you in the morning darling.


  1. Thanks Carl. I loved writing it. Not in a morbid way though. That wasn't what it was about :) Thanks for reading.