I know you’re not enjoying boarding school and feel like you’ve been rejected by your parents. You basically have but you should know this is all dad’s idea. Mum’s not as into it.
I also know you’ve got low self-esteem and spend your time acting like a jackass to make people laugh, purely for attention, pissing about and breaking rules because you’re bored. That’s not cool but to be honest, things are about to get a lot worse.
When you’re offered the chance to smoke something (which you’re told is hash) in about 18 months on the top field, the night of the school disco you’ll need to make up your own mind whether or not to do it. All I’ll do here is tell you the consequences and silver linings.
Do it and you’ll get caught and face rejection again; expulsion from school. Irony of ironies. Nobody wants you. The upside? You’ll be living with mum again. Pretty extreme way to get what you wanted anyway. Staying there probably isn’t for you so just go do it. Or don’t. Whatever.
Did you notice I said, "with mum" rather than "with mum and dad", Adam?
Yeah well that wasn’t a mistake. Dad’s going to fuck off very soon, while you’re not looking and give you some half-baked bullshit reasons why. Guess what? He’s not the super-fucking-hero you’ll continue to think he is for another 25 years if you don’t read this letter. Although he’s an amazing piano player, accomplished CEO and the life and soul in every situation, he’s very flawed and I don’t want you to find that out too late. So stop copying him or you’ll take a path toward alcoholism and other bad behaviours which you’re in danger of thinking acceptable because they’re OK for him. Just as well YOU’ve got this letter, later living Adam.
Now, this is probably the most important thing so read the following carefully.
You’re going to get zero proactive guidance on how to live as an adult so don’t bury your head in the sand and act like an entitled little prick until you’re in your 30s. Grow up between now and leaving Uni. Don’t waste your entire 20s being a self-centred dick. In the real world you can’t get whatever you want because of who your dad is or what school you went to. No-one else gives a fuck so if you don’t know yourself and wise up, you’ll coast through an entire 15 years, numb, hazy and directionless.
So learn properly at school and get good grades
You’ve not got a God-given right to success without effort. Take rugby seriously. You’re good and you’ve got great potential. Train hard and improve. Take yourself with respect. Don’t be an unmotivated, lazy, wasteful bastard. You’re better than that and it’s worth it later. Also, carefully study what you actually want to do with your life. Copying dad isn’t a career strategy. You aren’t him. Believe it or not, you have skills he doesn’t. You’re not just a slightly disappointing version of dad.
Ask people about all the different professions which exist
what they involve, what different career paths look like, the pros and cons. Then get some relevant work experience and contacts. Do some actual prep for interviews. Believe me, the ASDA grad recruiter isn’t going to like it if you tell her your favourite thing about their company is that “The Curry Pot is pretty decent”.
Understand your privilege from now
Not in 25 years. It’ll make you a much kinder and less selfish human, with more purpose and that will make you happier. Spend a LOT more time with mum, starting now. She’s not just beautiful outside; she’s beautiful inside too, gentle and intelligent. Be a lot more mum and a bit less dad. That way perhaps you won’t go on to disappoint so many people.
Mum might not be the star of the show to you right now but that's fine.
I’m afraid you’ve only got 18 more years with her so make it count. Be her best friend. She’ll need you and you’ll need her. I’m not saying you should discount dad. He might not say it but he loves you and he’s brilliant company regardless of everything else. I’m afraid you’re not going to have him either by the time you’re 40 so spend as much time with him as you can in adulthood.
Listen, even without this letter, it's not all going to be bad.
You’ll be sorted in about 25 years when everything you’ll need in life clicks into place. Though with the warnings and advice you have here you can probably short-cut that by about 10.
Don’t take every risk in front of your face. Live more gently. Learn all about pipelines. Good luck.
Adam, yes you, in 30 years
Thank you Adam Gordon writing A Letter To My 13 Year Old Self