What I would tell my 25 year old self

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Well it’s April 27th, my Birthday. I’m sitting in the kitchen having a coffee, flipping through Facebook smiling. It’s been a hectic few months at work, and there’s been health trouble for my Mum in Belfast. But other than that, life is great.

When I was 25 I was a very worried guy. I worried about everything. Whether I would be able to pay my bills, if I would find a good job, if I would become famous and if I would ever find love.  It was all one big ball of worry.  When I was in elementary school, one of my   Teachers noted on my report card “Gary is a worrier”.  He must have been in tune with what was bothering me, worry has been at the root of my being ever since I was a child.

As a grown man I can see the error of my ways. Worry will get you nowhere. At 25 I had been in the United States for 8 years. I had just got my green card, and my first “real” job as a van driver for Inacomp.  I was in a band and would write songs in my spare time. Listening to those songs today I cringe, because the worry came out in my writing. I was 25 in a new country with nothing but opportunity before me, yet my mind was preoccupied with worry.

If I could take a trip in time back to my 25 year old self I would look him in the eyes and promise him that life will turn out just fine.  To stop worrying about things. Stop taking everything so seriously. I would tell him to insist on better healthcare for that ear infection and save that hearing in the left ear.

At work I fumbled through life fueled by worry.  I’d tell my 25 year old self about the joy of sitting still, and the joy of taking a walk and looking after one’s self. I’d tell him that rejection will happen, some people will fall out of love with you, but there will be moments of clarity down the road when it will all make sense, and your best friend will be sitting on a park bench right next to you.

It’s a happy birthday indeed. I am a man who is finally becoming self aware. I know where this worry came from, it’s in my DNA, it’s how I was wired. But I am learning to accept it and live a life of purpose, seeking work that challenges me and new friends who understand me.