I was a little self-centred bitch at 17. No way would I have listened to a thoughtful, meaningful letter from a dirty old man like me. What I needed at 17 was some tough love, a bit of a reality-slap across the face. So that’s what I’ve decided to go with instead…
|Thats me on the left, at 17yo.|
Dear 17yo St. Murphy,
Now listen here you little shit, chances are you will not listen to a word I say, but trust me that I know what is best for you! The past 22 years have taught me A LOT and if you listen to me now you can save yourself monumental grief down the track. Yes, yes I understand that at 17 some of these subjects will be disturbing and completely foreign but I really don’t care. This is stuff you need to know.
First off, and I think most importantly… YOU ARE GAY!!! That's why naked men keep popping into your mind. I know you don’t really know what gay is at the moment or what it means but save yourself 7 years of turmoil and COME OUT NOW!! The reality is that everyone already thinks that you are, you are as camp as Xmas for godsake, and no one will be surprised when you do eventually come out. I do not want you to have any regrets, if you came out now you could probably make a difference for others who come after you. You will be a very proud gay man, and a very very happy gay man. Embrace it now!
While you may have a 6-pack now with the lungs of a marathon runner DO NOT TAKE THESE FOR GRANTED. If you don’t keep working on them one day you’ll wake up in your mid-30’s with a gut and a smokers cough. Which reminds me, and this is critical, you should never ever put a cigerette in your mouth. You will soon find that you become addicted to anything and everything very quickly so lets nip that one in the bud now. You could have travelled the world twice by 40 on the money you waste on cigerettes.
|Yes, you are gay!|
Look around your classroom, your 3 best friends now will be friends for life. Go give Cass, Sonia and Alana a big hug and be nice to them every day. They will be with you for life. They will be the ones wiping the dribble from your mouth when you are in the old-mans home.
Already you have too much fun. Now this isn’t always a bad thing but one of the toughest lessons you can learn is that fun should not come at the cost of everything else in your life. Be particularly careful in your late-20's and early 30's, we call 2004 'the Dark Year' for a very good reason. Thank god you fall into a career that is fun otherwise I would have grave fears for you. On that front, just forget right now that you are destined for a life in business or finance and start looking up courses in Communications. That’s where your skills are, and that’s a job that will get you out of bed each day and out of bars each night.
Ok, brace yourself 17yo St. Murphy, this is a tough one. You will lose your father far too young. Not what you want to hear I know. Sorry. But I think its really crucial that you know this as it will change how you behave in the lead-up. The loss is bad enough without also having regrets. You will go crazy for a while after, and that’s ok, its to be expected. Also, I beg of you, please recognize that you are not coping and give yourself time to heal. No one bounces back quickly from the loss of a parent! Thank god you have your mum with you for a very long time cause still at 40 you will be a complete and utter mummy’s boy.
On the upside… you do not die young! I know this is already something you are thinking and feeling, you weirdo. Get over it, put it to the back of your mind. And stop using it as an excuse to do whatever and whenever you want. Start planning for a long life and treat yourself better. That body is gonna have to last you a LONG time.
|try and maintain those lungs love!|
Stop being so superficial now! Cliched I know, but stop judging a book by its cover. This will shoot you in the foot over and over and means you miss out on a lot of good stuff and a lot of good people. Whenever you come across someone who is happy in themselves and treats others with respect just grab hold of them. They are the ones you need to keep. Not the pretty ones. Not the ones with the nice clothes or ‘cool’ friends. You eventually learn this but only after some frightful experiences, especially in Sydney.
Stay away from straight boys. Just be warned, thinking you are best friends with a straight guy means you have actually fallen in love with him and it will be torment and heartbreak for years. Stick with the gayers and all the fabulous women in your life as your closest friends. Much less risk of embarrassing yourself.
Just be nicer to people. I know you think your funny but you are actually cruel and offensive, especially when you are drunk. Nice people go further in life, and good things happen to nice people. So stop being a little bitch, you can be funny without having to make fun of others. There’s more than enough material in just making fun of yourself.
Finally, you are one lucky little fucker! You have many flaws and make so many mistakes its almost comedic but still you manage to have an incredibly lucky life. Do not ever take this for granted. Your friends, your partners, your workmates; all have incredible patience with you but you need to pay them back ten-fold with respect and appreciation. You will have some of the most phenomenal life-experiences that introduce you to people and places that will continually change your life and make you a better person. Always remember that is it the people around you who make your life so exciting and fulfilling. Nothing is more important than the people you share your life with.
Brace yourself 17yo St. Murphy, you are in for one helluva ride! Your life is going to be an incredibly exciting adventure of both great highs and a few lows. Enjoy every second as much as you can.
Lots of love, xoxoxo
39yo St. Murphy
|At 39, very happy.|