My Teenage Self
What advice would you give to your teenage self? In one word – grow up. Useless advice really, because it happens, whether we want it to or not. That said, I have lost so many young rugby players that I coached or played with, to driving accidents and other misfortunes, sometimes self-inflicted via alcohol or drugs, that to say grow up – please! – is so important.
Each morning I read the obituaries in the local newspaper. Afterwards, I look back over the path I have journeyed. If I had perished at the age of the current ‘missing person’ – say, 45 – 50 – 55 – 60 – I think of all that I would have missed in those intervening years. Then I grieve for all that they will have missed in the life that should have lain ahead of them.
“Don’t cry over spilt milk” – Old Welsh Proverb. And no, we mustn’t cry over what is lost. We must celebrate what has been achieved, Dylan Thomas (1914-1953), one of Wales’s greatest Anglo-Welsh poets, dead at 39 – what other glory may have lain ahead of him? Garcilaso de la Vega (1501-1536), one of Spain’s purest and most innovative poets, dead at 35. What more might he have written in an extended lifetime? Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), executed, many say tortured and murdered, at the age of 38. Think of the theatre, the poetry, the Gypsy Ballads, the songs of a dark love – what more did he have, hidden inside him, that was never allowed to spread its wings and fly out into the light of day?
So, I would give to my teenage self, the same advice that I would give to any teenager – grow up – please, grow up, don’t go too soon, – and please grow into that unique and wonderful being that you have the potential to be.