Your Life Reloaded
There’s a very interesting trending topic making the rounds through Twitter this week. I noticed it this morning while eating my croissant (baked personally for me by a resident octopus) and drinking my tea (brewed for me by a monocle-wearing shark).
That Trending Topic is #TweetYour16YearOldSelf
For the uninitiated, what is a trending topic on Twitter? Essentially, a trending topic is a word or phrase that has generated a lot of buzz, having been mentioned by a lot of people on Twitter throughout the day. In this case, someone came up with the idea to tweet something they’d like to tell their younger self (perhaps some advice), and after a while, the idea spread like wild fire.
Reading some of the things people would say if they could send a tweet to their younger selves has been interesting, entertaining and thought provoking. But I wasn’t compelled to participate myself until reading a lovely blog post by Chibi Jeebs, in which she highlighted a few things in particular that she would tell a young Chibi.
How rad. Introspection is necessary to improve yourself as a human being, and this trend encourages it. What better way to make yourself a better man or woman in the future than to look to your past? You can’t change the mistakes, but you can learn from them.
What would I say if I could send a tweet to my 16-year-old self?
I wouldn’t stop at just one thing. Here’s what advice I’d give to Bizarro-Tristan:
- Those jeans are far, far too baggy. You look like a clown. Ask Dad to take them in for you.
- Is this what you really want? Or is it what you think everyone else wants? You know what I’m talking about.
- Be patient. You’ll find what you need; Just not yet, and not from who you think right now.
- No one person is ever worth neglecting your true friends for. You need them, and they need you.
- Geeks will be cool in a few years. Seriously.
- That idea you have, that thing that you’re building right now… It’s good! Keep developing it. Don’t let it die.
- You’re going to be stupid and end your friendship with your best friend. But it’s ok; You’ll both smarten up, and your friendship will become stronger than ever.
- Basket weaving is no substitute for calculus, and your high school does not offer such a course.
- Don’t stop writing code.
- Turns out it’s true – Mum and Dad really do know what they’re talking about. Appreciate their wisdom, you dork.
- Invent Twitter.
What if you could do it all again?
What if you could go back to sixteen and do it all again? Or what if you could go back, meet that younger you and guide them through their next few years with the knowledge and wisdom you have now? Would you do it?
Your first instinct may be to say yes. After all, think of how much better your life could be now if you had done a few things a little differently. But would you really be the same person you are today? Are we truly the sum of all our experiences? And if you changed even one of those experiences, what impact would it have on you or your life now? Don’t think about it too hard. I do sometimes, and it leaves my mind feeling like it’s just been smacked in the buttocks with a splintery cricket bat covered with angry fire ants.
But in the end, my answer is no. I made mistakes when I was sixteen. I’ve made mistakes since then. I’m still making them now. I need the experience and the strength I’ve gained from all those past mistakes, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Except maybe a coconut.