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What would my 50-year-old self say to my 15-year-old self?

Written by  Nov 28, 2021

“Wait A Minute, Doc. Are You Telling Me You Built A Time Machine...Out Of A DeLorean?” Yes, as sure as night follows day, the festive season is approaching as fast as a Delorean and the traditional rollout of Christmas films has started. You know that as soon as you see Macaulay Culkin screaming into the mirror that it’s time to start wrapping up those presents.

And an old favourite has already been unwrapped, the Back to the Future trilogy. Quite why Home Alone and Back to the Future are Christmas movies has always been confusing, but I’m not here to rock the festive boat.

So I was watching the first Michael J. Fox the other day and it started my curiosity to run wild. If you’ve never seen the movies (surely the whole world has seen these movies) the premise is that a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the eccentric scientist Doc Brown.

So this is where my curiosity got the better of me – if I had this time-machine what would I change in my past? What would my 50-year-old self say to my 15-year-old self?

Now of course this has its own problems, as our hero soon found out in the movie, changing the past will subsequently have an outcome in the present. You could call this cause and effect or as Issac Newton would say, that every action has a reaction.

Now the first piece of advice I would give my younger self would be one my parents continuously told me “work hard at school.” When you’re in your turbulent teens and you keep getting told “these are the best days of your life” you think at the time “surely it must get better than this?”

However, the huge thing that you don’t realise is just how these early educational years will shape your whole future. So instead of telling myself to work harder I would just say be more determined, more focused. This would have had a greater impact on my future life path.

And then read more, travel more, diversify more and let my young self know that girls are just as interested in boys as we are in them. I’d have said start a pension at 18! I’d have said buy shares in a few companies that doesn’t exist yet – Amazon, Google, Apple and Microsoft.

I’d have said don’t waste time but also don’t let time just slip by. I’d have said the pen is mightier than the sword. I’d have said remember to actually print photos that are important to you and don’t just leave them floating on a cloud. I’d have said don’t overthink, instead plan. I’d have said to solve hard problems and not just give up or walk away. I’d have said forgive, because as Alexander Pope once wrote “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” I’d have said fear is a wolf. Chase the wolf, and you’ll never be afraid of the things you once feared.

And don’t spend time chasing money, the journey is what will make your life rich and memories are the greatest wealth anyone can have.

Oh, and I would have also sadly mentioned that England are unlikely to win a major football tournament in your lifetime, so keep your expectations low.

But as I’ve already mentioned all this advice would change my present and my future. Which is why our hero in the film is trying to make sure that he doesn’t change the past too much.

For if I’d have taken all this advice then there would have been a good chance that I’d have never met the love of my life and my life partner, and just as life’s dominos keep falling in line I’d have never moved to Dubrovnik. And without doubt that’s one thing in my life that I would never have changed. Or to quote or hero Marty McFly from Back to the Future “Wait, you don’t understand. If you don’t play, there’s no music. If there’s no music, they don’t dance. If they don’t dance, they don’t kiss and fall in love.”

I’m so glad that the music keep playing.

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