A letter to… my younger self: Wake Up!

They say that you can’t put an old head on young shoulders.  Sadly it’s true.  Here I am, in my 58th year, and only now am I beginning to realise what life is all about, and the things that should be important.

It’s taken a solitary often painful walk, totally unplugged from the ‘World’ for this to sink in.  6-10 hours of walking each day, for 40 days.  That’s a lot of walking, and a lot of thinking.   

Mix that with the fact that the ‘walk’ is along an ancient Pilgrimage route littered with so much history and Religious meaning that if you have an ounce of Spirituality in your bones you end up talking to your God on a daily basis.  I Did!  And I haven’t been to church since school, except to get married…..

This walk was going to uncover some interesting thoughts in one way or another for sure!

At first I was searching for ‘answers’.  A bit like the Hitchhiker’s Guide maybe.  The answer to life the universe and everything?    That kept me pondering for the first seven days…   Then I realised I didn’t even know the question I should be asking myself!  Another seven days of walking and thinking and the question emerged.

And that’s when I started to cry.   Sitting at the side of a gravel track beneath a wooden cross.  A middle-aged man with 4 grown kids.   Because I realised my life up to this point had largely been a waste.  Crap…   All those decades of striving, climbing the corporate ladder, bigger and better houses and cars.    Where had it got me?  Tired, stressed, unhappy and on a second marriage.  Always searching for that greener grass somewhere probably.

So, what was the ultimate question that took me 14 days to reach?  “What will make me happy”?   Then the answers came easily.  Making my wife happy, my kids happy, my team at work happy, my clients happy and helping those in need.   People make me happy.  Not stuff.  Not money, not status.

Now I’m chilled; I don’t get angry or stressed.  I don’t judge people.  I don’t jump to conclusions.  Life is happier.   Though I think I need to take my wife on a long walk soon, so she ‘gets it’ too…

So, my younger self, if by some weird force of the Universe you get this message, can I ask this of  you?   Please; so we don’t end up like this at the age of 58…..

LIVE life.   ENJOY people.  APPRECIATE everything that is around you.  And take BETTER CARE of those we love.  And don’t stress so much about stuff, money and status!   We’ll be much happier I promise you…

P.S. Please let’s not wait till 58 to do this Pilgrimage walk…

A Pilgrim


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