Dear Young Me – these are not the role models you think they are. Love, Old Me.

You know how people often write a letter to their younger selves, full of sweet comments and life-affirming encouragement? Yeah, turns out I can’t be that nice.

Hey, you – yes, you over there in the corner of the pub, skinnier than you think (certainly skinnier than you’ll ever be again), trying to figure out how to hold a conversation with this bunch of people you’ve ended up sitting with but don’t actually know.

It’s me, Older You.  Nearly three decades older, actually. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – still alive, who’da thought? Bit crepey round the edges, but not bad going for an old bird. Anyway enough wittering, we’ve got some shit to catch up on. Put that glass down – you hit your limit two hours ago, not that you’ll ever listen – and cock an ear to what Old Vi has to say…

Whenever you think ‘that’s ridiculous, it would be so much fun!’ just wait up a minute
Because I can tell you now that it almost certainly IS ridiculous and you really shouldn’t do it. It’s okay to stay out all night and visit the local petrol station for ciggies and Coke at 7am dressed in nothing but a nightie and a fur coat (n.b: you will start dressing like a woman called Courtney Love – this is fine, but for fuck’s sake please put some underwear on). But stop kidnapping people’s dogs when you’re leathered, just cos it’s cute and you want something to cuddle. No, it doesn’t matter that you give them back later. NOT YOUR DOG.

Seriously, sort out your shit taste in men
That one next to you right now, that you’d completely deny being interested in but who you’re almost certainly going to wake up next to tomorrow? Utter bellend. He doesn’t drink because he’s artistic and tortured, he drinks because he has no social abilities whatsoever and needs three pints of Strongbow before he can speak to you. By which point he’ll be rude and slightly aggressive, but you’ll be even ruder having downed five Jack Daniels and Cokes whilst waiting for him to make a move, and you’ll both just fall asleep with all your clothes on. Not very sexy but definitely for the best.

Stop worrying about what you’re going to do with your life
I’m talking to you from nearly 30 years into the future and I still have no fucking idea what I’m going to do next week, let alone for the next forty odd years. You’ll end up earning a living as a freelance writer though, which should please you as it’s what you’ve always wanted to do. Let’s not talk about the two and a half decades it takes you to get there and how even when you do manage it you’ll be scraping to make minimum wage. DREAM JOB SO SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Stop worrying that you’re, you know – A Bit Weird
I can confirm right here and now that yes, you are weird. Eventually you’ll find out you have Asperger’s Syndrome, which will explain a LOT. For now, just get used to apologising for the weird shit that comes out of your mouth – you can’t help it, and anyway some people deserve to have a few home truths told. Although you’ll also get fired a lot. Sorry ’bout that.

You know those Nick Cave CDs you’ve started collecting?
Yeah, you might want to put up another shelf – there’s a lot more where those came from. You’ll finally meet him about 25 years from now and will make an utter tit of yourself, but hey ho – can’t have everything in life.

Somehow you will end up responsible for two children
Who will spring forth from your very own loins and very nearly break your fanjita in the process, but hey – look at ’em now, aren’t they just so cute you could forgive them anything? Okay so one’s actually already an adult and the other is, well…unique, to say the very least, but they’re all yours. Obviously you’ll need male input, but we try not to talk about that these days – your choice in men takes nearly 30 years to improve, but you really do breed quality kids in the meantime. Must have strong genes. Oh and you give birth to one of them on the living room floor without any drugs. I KNOW.

Stop drinking. Seriously. No, I’m not kidding
It makes you ill, it makes you do stupid things, you’ll eventually end up allergic to most of it anyway (not gin tho – gin will turn out to be one of the best things that ever happened to your world. Lovely lovely gin). 90% of the dickhead things you’ll do over the next few years will be down to alcohol. Including the time your kidneys pack up. Good luck with that one.

Give up worrying about what other people think
I know that sounds pretty much impossible, but you’ll spend SO much time over the next years and decades worrying about what other people think of you, and it really is fucking pointless. Cos people will think you’re a dick anyway. And those who genuinely care will still care even when you are being a dick.

Enjoy the ride
You certainly have Interesting Times ahead of you. They’ll include many bad moves on your part and some ridiculously awful shit that just happens to you for no good reason, but here you are nearly 47 and still standing. I’d take that as a win, if I were you. Take care of yourself. I love you.