So in the interest of full honesty and openness, I stole this idea from my cousin for an interview that he was doing. He wrote his letter for his 25 year old self (about eight years of difference), so I've decided to write a letter to my 20 year old self (six years difference). At the risk of looking self-obsessed, I thought I would freestyle this letter and see where it goes. I hope you can take something from it no matter how big or small:
"Dear 20-year-old Luca,
Right now as I write this letter to you, you're in your second year at Southampton Solent and I know you’re probably reading this with a hangover. You've got a special group of friends that will one day scatter all across the country and you'll miss those days at Landguard Road and Ancasta Road with them. You'll soon understand that the memories that you're creating right now will live the test of time and it'll fill your heart with joy knowing that you stumbled across the quirkiest and funniest group of guys ever.
I know that you're hating the back injury that you have right now. I would love to tell you that once you've healed up, you'll be good to go. Unfortunately, it's just the beginning of a very challenging time with your health. You won't be going to San Francisco this summer for summer camp. As silly as this may sound now, you'll shed tears about it in bed because deep down, you know that at this moment in time, you haven't got the fight in you. All I can say is you'll build a foundation for your life that defines you for the good moving forward.
You'll have surgery on your back in July. Sorry for the language, but fuck me, it'll be shit! They'll sign you off for exercise in about eight months time, to your surprise, it'll be too early and you'll find a determination that you've never had before when surgery number two comes around. When it's fight or flight, you'll fight, win and go back to Boston for round two of summer camp. What a bloody summer that'll be!
To this day, I don't know whether it's what you overcame to get there or the people you were with, but it will feel truly magical. That 2012 summer in Boston may have changed you; the 2014 summer will be where you find who you want to be as a man. The closest thing to a dream in real life that you've ever felt. A special group of people coming together to provide the summer of a lifetime for an amazing group of kids. It'll seem like the ultimate redemption for your 2013, and it'll also be the beginning of the end of another story. Spoiler alert, people will not be as happy about this one.
You're going to drop out of university. The year away from uni will open your eyes to the fact that you've never enjoyed your degree. Family and extended family will feel let down and you'll run away to summer camp one more time after working at pubs and clubs. Don't worry, you're going to finish 2015 working for Joe! Your cousin, Joe!
That's right, he's doing pretty well nowadays and has his own office in Richmond with an online plan and his own range of healthy eating recipe books. You'll join him at his office with a big team and start grafting in a big boy office. Don't worry, you'll still be a drunken mess on weekends for a little while.
Life will move pretty quickly from this moment onwards if I'm honest. It'll all be a bit of a blur and before you know it, you're at April 2017! You'll go to a four day seminar with a guy called Tony Robbins. I get it, you don't even go to your uni seminars now and suddenly you're going to go to one for fun?! This particular one is a game-changer.
Tony Robbins is a motivational speaker/life coach and off the back of it, you'll lose a bunch of weight, find some emotional stability in your life, and you'll fall in love... with a stationary exercise bike and a company called Digme Fitness.
You'll spend a whole bunch of your spare time in a studio, sweating and riding on a bike with a community of the most positive and caring people that you've been around. This will be on display when you randomly decide to do 100 of their classes in 100 days. It'll feel like finding an extended family.
Right now, it's March 2019 and you're hopeful for what life will give you over the next six years. It's not always going to be easy, but you've been blessed with a truly special group of people around you who really help.
The main piece of advice that I can give you is that you can learn from the highs and lows in your life if you open your mind to them, and having some blind faith every now and then will help you through the tougher times. Here's a poem called Footprints in the Sand that will help:
"One night I dreamed a dream. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. "Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you."
2019 Luca :) x"