Dear Twenty Something Self, 24

As you get older you will find there is nothing worse than wondering about something you never did but had the opportunity to do. It’s like off milk. The smell isn’t so apparent at first, but as time goes on the stench gets worse. That’s the same as passing up an opportunity. You at first kid yourself with the reasons why you made the right choice, but as time goes on it becomes more and more apparent that you made the wrong choice. Suddenly that thought becomes your most prominent thought and it becomes the first thing you think of when you wake up. You will think of that opportunity lost as you hand the train conductor your ticket for the morning commute and when you sit out back smoking a cigarette. It will be your last thought as you go to bed and you will spend many a night lying awake wondering ‘what if’.


Go to America. Please. Even if you don’t like it then at least you can come back and say you didn’t. It’s OK for something to fail, its OK to say you tried and it didn’t work out. I know you worry whether you’ll make friends but the great thing about cities is they are full of people. There is always someone who wants to be your friend. And as for life continuing whilst you’re gone, that’s just life. You think you’ll miss all these great things back home if you go away, but what you soon begin to realise, is that nothing drastic really ever happens. Your friends start to get married, a couple of your older relatives die, but nothing out of the ordinary.

There are things that you sometimes can’t avoid. An illness, a rainy day, the death of an old family pet… There are things that you can’t avoid to miss though, and that is missing opportunities that are given to you.


Don’t be the person who thinks ‘what if’ – just do it. If you hate it, come back. That’s what no one told you when you were twenty-four. Wherever you are, you can always come back.


Tony, 70