Bill Boorman


Dear 13 Year Old Bill,

I can tell you that you have a hell of a ride ahead of you. Enjoy all of it even the down times. You will learn more about yourself in the hard times that will shape who you become. You will never be finished. Always remember that you are defined by who you are rather than what you are.
I have written this letter in one take with no editing. Live life this way. That means there will be plenty of grammatical errors and typos. Don’t worry about that. The content of who you are is the only thing that matters, the packaging and presentation really is secondary. Go full tilt, unedited. I spent too many years striving to be normal, only to learn that that is a fantasy. There is no normal. We are all wired a bit different with our own challenges, looks, appearance, colours, genders and things that shape us. Take it all. Enjoy more of what you do have, rather than stress about what you don’t. Celebrate what others have and achieve, don’t let envy make you disatisfied with where you are. Don’t allow room for regret.

For a lot of years i worried about what others might think of me

As i got older we called this personal branding. I was concerned about having a corporate career, and measured my success by how i compared to the success of others. Ambition for something meant that i would follow the company line in life, and measured success by the things i owned compared to what other folks didn’t. I don’t look back on these times badly. Though I might not like the person I was, I had to be that person in order to appreciate where I am now. I don’t regret a day I spent in corporate life, but i dont regret a day out of it. When I went bankrupt in 2009 or so, I discovered everything i lost was stuff I didnt need, and that what I had close by was more than enough. Learn that new things are nice, and a good reward for hard work, but live in your means, and know you already have enough.

One of the biggest lessons I can pass on to you is to live life with no fucks given

I dont mean dont care about others. Caring about others and being bothered and angry about their lot in life has become central to who I am. Always be kind. It’s not a weakness to trust others. People are inherently good. You will get let down by some folks on this who will abuse that trust, but don’t let that shape you. There are far more good people than bad in this world. Don’t let fear of the bad ones prevent you from discovering the good. Most folks lose this as trust is beaten out of them by life. Don’t be that person. Remember that revenge on those who might seek to attack you for whatever motive, is a life lived happy.
I say live life with no fucks given for a specific reason. You really should not let your actions or words be shaped by what others might think. Do what you think is right. Life is not a popularity contest. There will be people who like you, and people who don’t. Be open with what you think about all things, but think about any hurt you might cause to others in the delivery of what you have to say. Don’t be an arse to make a point, but don’t hide what you think. Oscar Wilde once said be yourself, everyone else is taken. Thats good advice for life.

If you can help someone else then do it.

Do it without expectation or hope that you are going to get some kind of return, and don’t keep a ledger of who owes you. Hopefully you won’t be the mafia, but who knows how life turns out. Try not to have too much of a plan, react to opportunity, and give new directions everything. I have changed what i do and how i make my money regularly. If I was on too much of a plan, this would not have happened.

I only really want one thing for the children you do not yet know

but will grow to be proud of, and that is for them to be safe and happy. Love who you want to love. I told you at the top of the letter, there is no normal. Dont try to be that or worry that you are not. Be beautifully unique with all that comes with it. Equally, remember that those who are not like you, are just following their own path. In life there are only two types of people, cunts and not cunts. Try to live you’r life in the latter.
I hope my use of this word does not offend you. As i have told my children who you will get to know and love unreservedly in later life, swear often, but swear appropriately. Never do it for effect, only because you mean it and no other word fits. Like I said, the importance is in the message, not the packaging.

Be thankful for any privelidge you might be fortunate enough to be born with

Don’t beat yourself up with guilt over this, but be open to understand how others did not have that advantage. Be supportive of their desire to get some equality in that. Be willing and ready to join them in this. Don’t feel you are losing anything by advancing others. If you get less opportunity because the field is even, then you can enjoy the wins more because they were earnt, and accept the losses, because we all had an equal chance. Campaign often, and loudly for the things you believe. Direct action will sometimes be neccesary. Don’t fear the consequence of what you believe to be right. Have passions, and convictions, and don’t do things by halves. You may not be able to change the big picture. The challenge may be too big and out of your grasp, but you can change your own world, and help those directly effected in any way you can. Charity is not philanthropy, or even religion. Be good to others, one day you might need it. Be what some might call being an allie, but never think of yourself as one. I accept the compliment when it is offered, but struggle to understand how this is not just not being an arse. This is how we all should be. You dont need a badge.

I hope my use of this word does not offend you

Im signing off by saying if you live life as I have, you will probably ignore any advice I may have passed on. Good. I have lived my life by listening and finding my own way. I have gone from right wing Tory to commited socialist, a homophobe to being open and understanding. Looking back, I have been racist, also a bit of a bully, many of the things I now stand against.
Thats the journey. Be open to change.
Learn to love art quicker than I did. You are going to need it.The best is free and on the street. My only regret in life is that i didnt learn that sooner.
Your older self.

Thank you Bill Boorman for writing A Letter To My 13 Year Old Self. Support Bill’s Birthday Fundraiser here

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