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Day 25 - What Would I Tell My Younger Self?

MVP

I am sitting here at my desk considering and reflecting about what I should tell my younger self.

It is a big responsibility.

If I influence myself to actively pursue or avoid something, then I could change who I am now.

Every trigger action has a resulting consequence, good or bad. Cause and effect.

So rather than advise myself, I choose to simply reassure myself.

I would appear to myself as a ragged old man with a swirling cloak, a long staff, and a wispy grey beard. Someone familiar, wise, ancient, 8-bit.

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I would exclaim to my former self in a booming voice, "You have accomplished so much. There is much more to come. The moments are everything. Enjoy them! Don't worry, you are going to be okay. Take more holidays!"

I would keep it positive. I wouldn't want to be rich. I wouldn't want to be poor. I wouldn’t want to change things, no matter how bad or good they get. I don't believe in fate or destiny; I believe that we are all creatures of endless possibility.

As a boy, I enjoyed reading about magical faraway trees and friends who journeyed to imaginary lands to fight against evil. I read as much as I could all about the myths and legends of ancient Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Norse gods, and the ancient Green Man who still resides in gardens all over the U.K. I loved the adventures of Sun-Wukong the Monkey King on his Journey to the West, his powerful staff made from a mountain, his chaotic vagabond spirit. I read about nature, wildlife, and the delicate ecosystem we share on this planet.

I attended university and studied for a Bachelor of Science in computer communications at Northampton University. I was not particularly clever or studious, but I was determined, and I didn't give up.

I learned about neural networks, spectral equations, X25, all the theoretical stuff we rely on every day.

I postulated about the multiverse, secret societies, and the Big Bang.

I learned first-hand about mind control and subsequently about fear and the dangers of quackery and woo. The internet helped me find like-minded individuals who supported each other. I explored our capacity to survive and to move on and that there is no instruction manual for life.

I was inspired by Carl Sagan and his Pale Blue Dot.

An opportunity to travel presented itself and I took it. I wholeheartedly recommend this to everyone. Go get your bags packed, leave your desk behind, and have adventures.

I saw the beautiful golden skink lizard who ran over my feet in Australia. I swam around the Maldives and saw the damage we are doing to our beautiful world. I sat amongst the flax in New Zealand watching for yellow-eyed penguins. I swam with the fishes off the edge of a huge reef searching for black pearls in the Cook Islands. I met a flying German botanist named Wolfgang from Leipzig who taught me to go slow and appreciate my surroundings. I was audited for Thetans on Hollywood Boulevard. I discovered music, my singing bowl, guitars, ukuleles, and an old tape of the Bee Gees that kept me going while driving with a boating injury in New Zealand.

I helped out at an international cheerleading competition, learned how to tumble like a clown, and still avoided learning to dance. I found my place on the front line of a political protest. I met a Nazi nun and an ex-Metropolitan police chief who I upset because he was prejudice and I told him so. I am the only person I know who has crashed an electric car halfway up a lamp post. It was icy.

My trade was learned in data centres, garages, workshops, back offices under stairs in data cabs, with interesting people who all have amazing stories. I've seen technology change. I'm amazed where we are now and I can't wait to see where we are going.

I have been lucky enough to be able to afford my own home, lucky enough to find a wife, lucky enough to have a child, lucky enough to have supportive family and friends, lucky enough to have a lot of animal friends. I also discovered I preferred being vegetarian, most of the time.

I lost my father recently to dementia. A horrible experience. If you know anyone who has it, hug them. It’s too late to learn things from him now.

In 2013, I formed a limited U.K. company based around SolarWinds monitoring technology. SolarWinds made my work interesting again and gave me purpose. SolarWinds gave me the tools and access to knowledge I needed to help others.

It became possible for me to walk into a room and know things.

I know things all the time now and so do you.

So after all this, would I traverse space and time to give myself advice?

No.

I've seen the movies, the paradoxes, the risks, that a butterfly effect or a sliding door could disrupt time and space messing things up and I wouldn't be me and you might not be you.

If I was to go now, into the unknown.

I would go with a smile, knowing that I have lived.

Laugh with me and have a wonderful Xmas!

30 Comments

Enjoying the moments is so important.  That is probably why I enjoy photography so much.  I try to capture the moment so it can be remembered and enjoyed over time.

The priceless reaction of meech

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Or a challenging night photo of downtown San Antonio.

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There is so much going on here but I like the ducks in the foreground. 

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MVP
MVP

Love that neon, it should be obligatory on all buildings. Seems to attract the ducks.

UX design looks pretty scary ha!

Level 13

Great article. It's true that our pursuit of excellence and progress can diminish the work we've already done. Perspective is everything. My condolences about your father as well. Merry Christmas 

Have a great Christmas time. Thanks for sharing your story. All the best with your company.

Level 11

I guess this proves don't let your past influence your future.  Every day you have choices, make that choice and move forward.

Nadolig Llawen - Merry Christmas

Level 9

It has always been my philosophy to accept responsibility for my actions and move on. It doesn’t help me to dwell on those actions whether good or bad. Each day is a new day and new challenges will come with it. I can learn from the past but I can’t change it. Understanding this and focusing on the future are important to me.

MVP
MVP

Assurance goes so far - we need to assure ourselves, and assure others. Each of us accomplish a lot every day, but receive precious little confirmation of what we do. As a personal example - Just this weekend I spent 4 days with my daughter and her husband. Their son is just a few days short of his 1st birthday. The holidays are stressful enough, but a 1st time mom, Christmas preparations, shopping, young marriage, birthday party to plan, family visiting, oh, and they are remodeling. Can you say stress? Her son has recently (well for us on the "outside" it's recent, for her it feels like an eternity) decided that squealing is fun. So, he does it a lot, no ALOT. He's not angry, he's not being bad, he's not being mean, but the particular frequency and volume of his squeals is - to say the least - ear piercing. With the stress and the squealing you could see the frustration on her face often. She has a lot of support and the normal first response is "it's a phase." She has heard "it's a phase" many, many times, but it's still frustrating for her. Over this weekend I realized that she needed to be assured - often and sincerely. She will get through this and her son will get past the "phase," but in the mean time assuring her will go a long way.

Who can you assure today - and yes, assuring yourself counts.

Level 15

If I was to go now, into the unknown.

I would go with a smile, knowing that I have lived.

Beautiful.

Reminds me of this one:

Sleep out alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no when you don’t want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here. Believe in kissing.

- Eve Ensler

Wow! This was an impressive submission. You put a lot of thought and detail in it. Kudos!

On a somewhat unrelated note, esteemed CNN journalist Jake Tapper started a tweet thread a couple of weeks ago by announcing that this is about the time many high school seniors find out that they have been rejected by their first choice in universities. But they should not to be disappointed because it can be a hidden blessing. Fellow journalists, other media types, politicians, entertainers and athletes tweeted back 1,000's of times with stories of how first rejections turned out to be a great success. In the end things work out.

Twitter

Wonderful piece acmtix​. I too appreciate your sentiment very much.

If I was to go now, into the unknown.

I would go with a smile, knowing that I have lived.

I believe that I am here to enjoy life and in doing so bring as much joy and comfort to those I interact with as possible. I am not responsible for their emotions but I should try not to do harm. Like the little thing about making those shirts meech​ is reacting to in Radioteacher​'s picture above. I sought the input of fellow MVPs and felt I had the will to make it happen. It wasn't just her seeing us wear the shirts it was the way we all felt wearing them for her and the whole UX team. Fantastic! That was enough.

Level 9

I would tell my younger self to take the Solarwinds Position here at my job last year instead of now........playing catch up on outdated software is a pain in my Neck lol

Level 13

Merry Christmas

What a wonderful post. Do not go gentle into that good night.

Level 10

Excellent post.   Happy Holidays to all.    "Don't be fooled by the calendar.   There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.'   - Charles Richards

Level 13

@acmtix we are only sometimes scary, mostly fun--and we are good listeners.

Level 13

I loved this, and the part about parents with dementia resonated with me as I too lost my dad to dementia two years ago.  I especially love the part about not changing anything as it makes you who you are. Thank you for sharing!

MVP
MVP

Thankyou everyone, you are all so great in so many ways. Life is good. Let's look forward to a beautiful, bright new year.

Level 15

I find myself in a position endeavoring to due just that janobi

Level 15

Very insightful. 

Level 15

I very much enjoyed this read.  Thanks for an awesome article.

Level 12

Nice.

Level 15

Its a great treat to see so many write and contribute. 

To my younger self, if you are going to do something, go all in, commit to it and you can not fail. 

Level 10

I will tell my younger self, enjoy living life. Have fun on holidays and don't sweat the small stuffs!

MVP
MVP

Loved this post with the dementia line hitting hard, as sadly my mother has just begun down this path and it is heartbreaking to see such a loved one losing themselves.

MVP
MVP

Wow, that is a wonderful set of experiences! Thank you for sharing

Level 20

I love driving a stick.

Level 20

You gotta start somewhere right?  There's always a new version and look at it this way... you missed all the problems we dealt with in version 10.x

Level 20

Lol the shirts... I seem to remember some things similar... Can you talk a little more about that?  What do you think it should look like?  What do you think that thing should do?

You and Lazarus Long have much in common.  He was a character of Robert Heinlein's who has much practicality and good to emulate.

Thank you for a well-reasoned submission.  I liked it!

Level 14

I'm impressed.  At 06:00 on Christmas morning I was fast asleep and not even starting my massive hangover from Christmas Eve's excesses.

About the Author
Solarwinds consultancy working within the NHS for emergency services, the nuclear industry, space agencies, covert operations, cryptocurrency companies and for a large Insurance software provider. Based solely in the UK in an underground bunker somewhere.