Back To School

from Performance Life

Kids starting back at school? Writing a letter to your younger self might help you (and them) more than you could imagine. Giles Mountford tries it out.

Hi You. Or should I say Me?

First week at a new school huh?

I guess you feel sick to the pit of your stomach right now. Those shoes are stiff, your shirt collar rubs, nothing seems to fit and everyone else seems to know what’s going on whereas you don’t know where the hell you fit in – but hang in there. It may seem scary and a bit too much but believe me – the things that really, really matter, you’re going to do just fine in. Better than fine. Everything else will simply pass.

Here’s the strange thing. Even though this is your whole world right now, it’ll become nothing more than a vague memory. It’s not just the teachers and kids that make you feel you angry, scared or sad that you’ll forget – even the names of many of those friends that you play with, laugh with and hang out with will fade away. Don’t be sad about that – just cherish the good times. You’ll keep in touch with a special few but what really matters now is you. And here’s the amazing thing: whatever rules, expectations or pressure that gets put on you, from this day onwards you get to choose yourself. What do I mean? I mean that the person you are now and the person you’re going to become is down to your choices. No-one else. It doesn’t matter what other people say or do. You are the boss of you.

A word of warning – be careful with your feelings. They can be misleading. At times you might feel overwhelmed, insignificant, unable to do your own thing. Your feelings are plain wrong. The fact is you get a thousand choices a day.  And although you’ll make a few howlers (who doesn’t), you’ll make some great choices too. Most important of all, they’re your choices.

You’ll remember how you chose to stand up to a teacher bullying another kid. And how you chose to fight back against the kids who tried to bully you. Spoiler alert: it’ll be hard but you’ll even manage to squeeze out of the straight jacket of religion and choose to use your own mind. The values of good honest graft you see in your family that currently exasperate you will eventually be the real creed you choose to live by. Here’s something that should make you smile: you will struggle to remember the grades you got in your exams but you will always use the chords you learned when you first chose to play guitar.

Follow your passions because, whatever you’re told, that’s a great thing.

Follow your passions because, whatever you’re told, that’s a great thing. Many will stay with you forever. And although your dreams won’t turn out quite as planned (I’m not going to give the whole game away), you’re going to have some amazing experiences and end up loving what you do. Just remember when you go through the tough times, it’s then when you’re learning and growing.

So, my young friend, enjoy the good days – really enjoy them. Wring every last drop of fun you can. But the bad days? Take a bit of perspective from the future. Learn to let the bad stuff go quicker. You won’t lose the benefit of what they teach you – you’ll just lose feeling lousy for longer than you need to. Listen to people who deserve your respect and ignore those who don’t have your interests at heart. There are plenty of people you’ll get on with (and a fair few you won’t), but true friends are rare indeed. When you find them, fight tooth and claw to keep them. You’ll know who they are – maybe you can do better than me at that one. I learned it a bit late.

And yes – do your studies because they matter but don’t imagine for one minute they are anywhere near as important as growing yourself through your passions. They just add to the mix. One other thing – your mum and dad are trying their best. They don’t have a guide to effective adulting anymore than you have a guide to navigate yourself through the perfect childhood.

Am I moving too quick? After all, it’s only the first week of a new school year. Sorry about that but the future is so exciting. Take today and each day by the scruff of the neck kiddo because if you remember nothing else, remember this. Only you are the boss of you.

All my love

G

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This article is from the Performance Life channel.

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