Craig Watson

Director, Recstra & Co-host at Tapod

Hello Young Friend…

It’s me… and, by me, I mean you… all the way from 2020.

How can I prove it? Well let’s see… I know you kissed Susan Merry last month without Mum finding out… and I also know that you kissed Karen Pinch 3 days later without Susan Merry finding out – well played! So now we’ve established authenticity (don’t worry if you don’t know what it means right now… you’ll work it out and the fact that probably only about 34.5% of people you meet over the next 30 or so years will have any authenticity themselves), let’s get down to it.

I know you love life (and hate reading)

You’re probably up a tree or at the BMX track, or having a surf. You’ve jumped off the Olivia Newton-John bandwagon and moved on to Madonna. The only thing you’re really worried about is what night of the week it is. If I remember correctly Mondays are sausages, Tuesday lamp chops, Wednesday spag bol, Thursday rissoles and Fridays McDonalds if you were good (so that was about once every 2 months!).

I just wanted to let you know that your life (so far) has been pretty good.

You have learnt, grown and changed a lot. You haven’t always made the best decisions, but that’s ok… you haven’t been shipped to Azkaban yet… (will make sense in about 20 years). The 2020 world is a crazy place to live. No flying cars I’m afraid, but with a global disease that started by someone eating a bat in a place you’ve never heard of and a crazy Reality TV President of the USA acting like your younger brother when he doesn’t get an ice-cream. It’s kind of mad. I really don’t know where to start with advice mate… maybe I’ll just talk to you about some of the moments I believe have been life-changing for both of us…

The next couple of years are going to be so great for you

Your mates at the beach – Gamby, Marty, Jezz – stay close to them. Surf, play backyard cricket, talk about girls, build cubby houses in the bush, go on adventures. There’s a movie – Stand By Me – I’m not sure if it’s out yet, but it reminds me so much of your ‘gang’. You guys are going to go through some absolutely massive changes together and always remember… you are stronger as a group than as an individual.

In a couple of years 2 major – and I mean major – incidents are going to change your life forever and you’re going to question everything. There are people whose lives are going to depend on you and you won’t know what to do – you’re too young. Remember that. These events will stay with you forever. Even now I think about them, question my actions and wonder what if. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.

Look for your friends and don’t be afraid to tell them you are scared, confused and sad.

There is only one major regret I have in my teens and I hope you may be able to rectify… I’m begging you to steer clear of the bleached, perm mullet. We tried… and failed to pull it off.

I realise now that there are 2 types of education.

Academic (school) and the university of life. You are so incredibly lucky that you have the opportunity to embrace both. So do that. Embrace it. Learn from it. Study… books and people and you’ll be ok.

Don’t always believe that Mum and Dad are right all of the time. I’m here to tell you that the world is very different from the one you grew up in. Don’t be a racist – like mum and dad. Don’t be a homophobe – like mum and dad. Don’t judge people on their religion – like mum and dad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disrespecting our parents, but you have the opportunity to think and act differently. And if that’s one lesson I can pass to you it is please… Please… please think different (oh… and if you get a chance trademark that saying… ‘think different’… preferably before 1997).

Life is going to take you to some amazing places.

You’ll live in LA, London and in a remote island in Papua New Guinea. Let life lead. A little like the feather on the wind in Forrest Gump (again it’ll make sense). Nuzzle life and don’t be scared. If I was to tell you that you would be working in a remote jungle with no electricity… having to grow your own vegetables and go spear fishing every night just to eat and keep a machete by your bed in case of invaders… you’d call me out as a bullshitter. If I were to tell you that you’d be running down some side streets in an Egyptian desert town to escape soldiers with semi-automatic weapons again you wouldn’t believe me. What about commentating Australian Rules Football Grand Finals live on Sky Sports to all of Europe? Life really is what you make of it. You have opportunities and that is the greatest gift of all.

And what of the present?

My present – not yours. Well I’m… you’re married to the most amazing woman. Megan grounds me and allows me to follow incomprehensible dreams and flirt with stupidity. She reminds me to ‘pull my head in’ when needed, but I couldn’t have wished for a better partner in life.

We have 2 amazing boys – Charlie & Tom. Coincidently, Charlie just turned 13 last week. He’s much more sensible than you, but Tom is exactly like us.

Oh… and guess what? We’ve come back to Venus Bay… to the Lifesaving Club, funnily enough I’m President… what would Dad say eh?

As you grow older things do get less pretty… girls… the world… your outlook. I’d be lying to you if I said any different. But the same things that get less pretty get more beautiful. More beautiful every single day.

I look around me and see a lot of cynicism. People who I consider friends who can’t see the beauty in anything anymore, but what’s the point of that? If the world is as fucked as they say what hope is there for my 13 year old boy Charlie? If the world looked through the same lens when I was 13 and only saw despair what hope would I have had to explore, learn, love and have fun.

Be optimistic about the future

because the future is a beautiful place, and I am damned sure the next phase for me and my family will be just as wonderful. So, Craig – don’t do anything different. If it feels right… it is right. If it feels wrong, flip a coin.

And if you get a chance just before the start of the 2015/16 Premier League Season invest all of your life savings in Leicester City to win the League… you’ll get 1000/1 and you’ll thank me.

Love ya mate… and I’m proud of you.


Thank you Craig Watson for writing A Letter To My 13 Year Old Self. Make sure you catch the best industry podcast down under, because it’s Tapod

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