Dear sixteen year old Mike,
I was going to say “Dear Me”, but of course I’m not you anymore and never will be again. You aren’t me either, not yet, but you will be one day, in a very different time and place.Before you actually become me you will have been several different people, had over seventy new sets of fingernails, around ninety-six new heads of hair (not that there’s much of that left), over four hundred and eighty new layers of outer skin and your blood will have replenished itself more than a hundred and twenty times.
I’m writing to you from the future in the hope you’ll take on board some guidance from me which should help you a little throughout the coming years.
First off, stop agonising over Jacquie dumping you. Actually she did you a big favour because, in a few months time, you’ll meet another girl who will prove to be a far better catch.
You’ll meet her on a day’s outing to Clacton-on-Sea with some of your band members. When you’re on the train coming home, listen out for someone called Mary Johnson, because you’re destined to spend the rest of your lives together.
Actually, you’ll miss the morning train heading off to Clacton, but a miracle will happen and you’ll find yourself on it anyway. I won’t tell you what the miracle was; I’ll let it come as a surprise!
The two of you do get married but I’m not going to tell you what year it will be (You need to have many surprises along the way). Not going to tell you if you have any children either. All I will say is you don’t fire blanks!
Leave the pop group; it ain’t going nowhere, sorry ‘bout that.
One day when you’re saving to get married, you’ll meet someone at work called Frank. He’ll be engaged to a girl named Sue; she’ll be a cashier in a post office dealing with savings. You’ll have no idea she’s engaged to Frank.
One evening, you and Frank will decide to go out with your partners for a drink. For the first time since last seeing each other, Sue comes face-to-face with you. She will say she remembers you at the post office and she’ll tell you she thought you were a funny little man. Your confidence will be shattered and you’ll feel pretty worthless.
But I want to change all that. When you walked into the post office and she saw you, why do you think she smiled coyly at you and turned bright red every time you went in there? I can tell you that she didn’t think you were a funny little man at all; far from it. She had the hots for you Mike, so she said that in front of Frank and Mary to cover up her guilt. When the time comes, give her a knowing smile and erase it from your mind.
I know you really want to be twenty one right now but stop wishing your life away. Enjoy the rest of your teenage years because they’ll be gone soon enough, and you can never get them back.
When those years have gone, remember they have gone forever. Don’t keep revisiting them in your mind and keep regretting and resenting things that have gone before. Don’t lose tomorrow while reaching back for yesterday.
Stop worrying that you’re in a dead-end job, working in a factory. It won’t always be like that. In a couple of years you will learn to creatively visualise and manifest many good things into your life.
You might not believe it right now but, one day, you’ll have your own successful business. You’ll help thousands of partially-sighted people across the United Kingdom by supplying low-vision optical aids. Eye hospitals, blind societies and opticians throughout the country will buy them. I won’t tell you what your income will be, but it will be vast compared to your wage in 1963!
Mike, I really wish you’d stop smoking, although I know you won’t. Now listen to this carefully. When you’re fifty-one, you’re going to have a pretty serious smoking-related health problem. When that happens, you MUST give up the weed immediately. If you don’t, you’ll never receive this letter because I won’t be here to write it. Fortunately though, you will take my advice because I AM writing this letter at the age of sixty-four, so thank you for that.
At some point in the future, you are going to dream of a very different way of life for you and Mary; It’s a life that, right now, you can’t even begin to comprehend. You’ll own and live in the house of your dreams which will be right next to a beach, overlooking the ocean. I’m not going to tell you where it is; I’ll let that be another surprise for you.
Your art master, Mr Carey, wanted you to stay on at school to sit your O’levels. He said you have a wonderful imagination and would easily pass the exam with no problem. He said you were almost up to ‘A’ level standard. He also said he would promise to get you a job as a commercial artist (read “graphic designer”), if you didn’t want to go to art college.
You refused, and he said “It’s such a waste of imaginative talent”.
But he was wrong, Mike. You’ll put your imagination to very good use in the years to come, but it won’t be in painting pictures on canvas; it will be painting pictures in words.
Mike, NEVER give up your dreams, because they WILL manifest into physical reality if you keep them alive. Store every experience you encounter, both good and not-so-good, in your memory bank because, one day, you will realise just how valuable those experiences were, and will continue to be. Keep up your writing as well. I know you don’t write at the moment but, believe me, you will.
One last thing before I go. Be a little more tolerant with our Mum and Dad. They are only doing what they think is best for us, and Mum lies awake in bed all night worrying when you do late night shows and don’t come home until two or three in the morning.
We’ll only have Mum and Dad once, Mike. Although they still have many, many years ahead of them, there will come a time when we’ll see them both pass over within five months of each other.
It’s a pity you can’t reply to this letter, or ask me anything that might be worrying you but, if I think of anything else, I’ll write again.
I’ll let you go now Mike. Enjoy the ride you’re about to have and don’t worry about the obstacles that are out there awaiting you. You’ll defeat them all, be a great achiever and lead a very happy and successful life.
Take care, and I wish you the very best of luck.
Start loving yourself a little more too.
Love and best wishes,
Your future Michael Baldwin