By Alex Porter
Dear past Alex,
Listen up because I don’t have a lot of time, you grow up to be VERY important in the future so moments of peace and quiet among the responsibility and decision making are few and far between. Just kidding, you’ve shunned the conventional 9 to 5 in favour of a more bohemian lifestyle and there’s literally full days where you can binge watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or try and learn guitar for the millionth time. And that’s actually the crux of this timeline defying letter.
As you get older you’ll learn that being the one person happy with the life you’re living is infinitely better than making a million people happy about it except for yourself. You will arrive at crossroads, both metaphorically and literally, because you move into an apartment near one later in life. Approach them with caution, make the decision that is best suited towards your goals and happiness then blaze through them with reckless abandon. Everywhere you go I urge you to carry the mantra – we have but one life, but if you live it right, one is more than enough. On that note, here are a few things to keep in mind knowing I’m right behind you, or waiting in front of you as it where, to let you know things will be OK.
You’ll hit puberty and it will get bigger, don’t worry.
Using Cinnamon scented candles to study for your HSC with the hope of crushing cinnamon quills in your pockets on the day of exams to invoke some sort of biological olfactory recall to help you ace your tests will seem like a good idea at the time. You’ll only end up with cinnamon everywhere and it won’t help at all.
On the topic of school, don’t stress so much about what to do when it’s over. Not to go all preachy and cliché but your HSC marks, and indeed the decisions you make in the following years, will not define you. You can change your goals anytime, enjoy the ride rather than stress over the destination.
Having a ponytail in high school won’t work for you, trust me. But grow it out again later, the man bun will be all the rage and you won’t look so much like a Dutch field hockey player when you have the facial hair to match it.
Spend time with your parents more while you live at home. It’s not the luxury of having someone cook and clean for you that you’ll miss when you get older, it’s the time with them that means everything.
When your Mum says you’ll have to move out if you buy a pet scorpion, do it anyway. You and Jack the Nipper will move to the Inner West and your twenties will really take off in an amazing way.
Dive headfirst into hospitality. You’ll end up seeing the world on the back of your hard earned coin at late night venues all over Sydney, you’ll never regret a single shift, even when you get so loose at Staffies you wake up in Punchbowl with your socks missing but your shoes still on.
When it comes to your career, find something you go to work to enjoy, not something that pays for your enjoyment when you get home. Spending your money on tattoos and travel while throwing your spare time into pursuing a career in writing will not be the greatest regrets of your life, they’ll bring you the greatest joy.
Let’s be real Alex, if you’re reading this in your formative years then my message will fall on deaf ears. You’ll go out and explore the world in the only way you know how. You’ll ignore advice, brush by conventional wisdom and figure shit out as you see fit. More power to you my space and time bending brother because truthfully, if I had the chance to reach back through time and communicate with my younger self it wouldn’t be to give advice, but to thank him for being the building blocks of the man I am today, the man he will become.
So tear up this letter and get back to that life you’re living grasshopper, I promise you it will be a hell of a ride.
Oh and one more thing, when you’re 19 you’ll find yourself at Sydney Uni with a speech due for a certain history class. Don’t sit in Victoria Park and smash a full 6 pack of Corona’s to try and get your courage up to do the speech. They will notice, you will fail. Actually fuck it, enjoy every moment, hit the beers regardless and I’ll see you in the future.
Yours in time,