letter from my 1995 self

The year was 1995.

Hillary Clinton was the First Lady. OJ Simpson went on trial for murder. Christopher Reeve was thrown from a horse and paralysed. Hugh Grant was arrested for picking up a prostitute.

The Adelaide Grand Prix moved to Melbourne giving us 4 years of peace and quiet until the Clipsal 500 started in 1999. Telecom Australia became Telstra.

The top 3 Australian movies were Babe, Muriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Braveheart won Best Picture. Toy Story, Die Hard with a Vengeance and Apollo 13 topped the worldwide box office. Brad Pitt was named People’s Sexiest Man Alive.

ER, Seinfeld, and Friends were the most popular TV shows. Aeon Flux and Xena premiered.

Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio was the top song of the year. Waterfalls by TLC was the MTV Video of the Year. Everybody danced The Macarena.

Amazon sold its first book. eBay let us start buying things we don't really need from total strangers. Windows 95 was the hot new thing.

And I turned 21.

Later on that year I wrote a letter to my 42 year old self, put it away in a box and didn't exactly forget about it, but did forget exactly what it said for the most part.

I'm not sure exactly how enlightening it is... but I thought it was interesting, and I figured I'd comment along to describe exactly how wrong I was about a lot of things...
5 September 1995
11 January 2017... weirdly it just so happens that the time between those two dates is exactly 7800 days... or 21 years, 4 months, 7 days. I swear I did not know this before I chose today to reply to this letter.
Dear Yani
This was a couple of years before "Yani" was born as an identity (names have been changed to protect the innocent throughout this though). That came out of living with Ludo and he just randomly came home one day from work and started calling me that (I think he worked with someone whose husband was the Greek version, Yanni, with the two N's, we just changed the spelling).
Well, it's 2016, I can't believe it, we are 42! Twice my age. At the moment I can't even conceive of the person I will probably become by the time I'm 42, all I can say is that I hope that the 21 year old who is writing this letter will approve of where the 42 year old is, and what he has done.
Okay, so it's 2017... I didn't get my shit together at any point between March when I got Ma to dig this letter out of the storage box at her place and now. I could have gotten away with it in September, since that's when I wrote it, but no, here we are in 2017.

To some degree the 21 year old may or may not approve of where I am. Given the rest of the contents of the letter he certainly had no idea where the hell life was going to take us, for both better and worse. And I think that certain things he would definitely have liked a warning that they were coming so he could have gotten out of their/his own way. And other things he may have been a little jealous about.
Just to remind you why I (you, we?) wrote this letter in the first place. I saw a TV show (Northern Exposure), and one of the characters got a letter that she wrote at 15 to herself at 30. Sufficive to say, that got me thinking, and this is the result.
That would have been "The Letter", season 6, episode 4 (thank you 2017 internet)...
Maggie receives a sealed envelope in a the mail from her dad that contains a letter she wrote to herself at the age of 15. After reading the letter, she compares her accomplishments to her teenage expectations and analyses her life. Her teenage self, Mary-Margaret, visits Maggie for several trying conversations until she realises that even though she hasn't lived up to an idealised 15-year-old's image of what success is, she is happy with the person she has become.
I did not remember this at all. I do remember having a conversation with the partner of someone I worked with at my 21st birthday party who said that I was at that point twice his age. Which means he would be 63 now... fuck.

Also, "sufficive" is not now, nor has it ever been a word. I obviously meant "suffice it".
I suppose a good thing would be to put down what I would like to be, or would like to be doing by the time I read (or rather re-read) this letter, and perhaps a few of the things which are important to me now.
Yes, that would be good... to be honest it may have been better if you'd spoken a little more about what you were thinking and feeling about yourself and life and all the rest of it rather than just wondering if certain people were still in your life 21 years later… but that does tend to be the pattern we follow. We talk about what happened or what was done rather than how we specifically feel about it. Good to know this hasn't changed in all that time.

At the very least, some idea of what you were into at the time... books, movies, music... would have been good. I mean I remember some of it, but it would have been nice to have a snapshot of that particular moment. What was the thing you were most excited about that week?

Sadly these questions only work the one way.
As to who and/or what I want to be it is kind of a hard one, because at the moment I don't really even know what I want to do now, so as to what I will be doing in another 21 years time I really have no idea. Ideally though - my own word processing/ secretarial agency is kind of where I would like to be headed - but that is really just a dream so if we never got there then it doesn't really matter. I know that I'm never really going to cut it as a writer though, that dream is long gone, although it does rear its head every now and again. Realistically, I see myself as a personal assistant to someone, or maybe as the head of a department.
Essentially the job I do now didn't even exist at the time, at least not in the form it does now or with the importance it has now. So I couldn't have even conceived of it back then.

But interestingly it's not THAT far removed from the idea of the word processing thing (and the skills I learned from my first job where I was a word processing officer are ones I still use pretty much all the damn time). And it has some of the writer element mixed in too. The personal assistant thing, no, that really wasn't ever a thing, I don't have the personality for it. Head of a department, a little bit of wishful thinking there I think... although head of a team is an appealing idea.

I will say that I probably write more in these last ten years with the blog than I think I've ever done. Sure, it's not "creative" writing, but it's still writing.

If memory serves the letter was written in the gap after my first real job came to an end, and was part of the time when Raury and I had a bunch of ideas about putting together a company... but like many of the plans Raury had, this one never really went anywhere.
Well, that's work out of the way, as for my personal life, I would certainly hope that I have one!
Yeah, you know what, not really all that much. And I'm not sure how much of one I really want. I'm mostly happy in my little bubble, I interact with people at work (and actually even like some of them), I can mostly survive without them elsewhere.
A string of intense and torrid affairs would be nice (if highly unlikely), but by 42 I hope I'll have found that certain someone that I want to spend if not the rest of my life then a good chunk thereof with.

Sorry, I fell off my chair laughing.

Yes, let's go with intense and torrid affairs, given that for all intents and purposes you were a virgin when you wrote this (the odd blowjob notwithstanding).

There have been men (oh lord has there ever), some of them were intense, few of them were torrid. Also, I'm pretty sure you didn't realise that 'torrid' means 'full of difficulty'... because I'm fairly certain you wouldn't have been wishing that on yourself.

But no, where has been no certain someone. And at this stage I feel like I'm too damn old and set in my ways to even make the space for someone.
And my home life at 42? Well, I'd like to have my own house, or maybe an upmarket apartment somewhere, perhaps even sharing it with the special man mentioned above, but above all I want somewhere I feel at home and at ease, and somewhere I can store all my books!
I don't know that anywhere I've ever lived has technically been "upmarket"... but I did have the "at home, at ease, store my books" think in the last apartment. This place, let's just say it doesn't completely fill the first 2 boxes. It's interesting though that I mentioned a house... I don't know that I've ever really wanted a whole house... maybe more of a townhouse idea, but certainly in the last 10 years, I much prefer the idea of an apartment.
I think it is about time for a trip down memory lane, I'm just going to mention a few of the things I consider to be important in the here and now of 1995, and see how many of them are still around and still important to me in 2016.
Spoiler alert... none of the people mentioned below are still part of my life. And I also didn't know at that stage that I was a couple of years away from meeting Lownee, who would have the greatest effect on my life thus far. In fact, the pure amount of things I didn't know were in my future at that point was kind of astonishing… but that's life in general I guess.
Ludo - I certainly hope that his grand bitchiness Felicia is still in our life, which ever woman he ends up with - be it V, M, H, even K or someone neither of us have met yet. My one true wish is that he is happy and whoever he ends up with they make him happy! I'm going to make a prediction here, and see how it holds up in 21 years time. I don't think that Ludo will ever stay married, I'm sure that he will get married (probably more than once), but I really don't think that he will stay married for any real length of time.
Firstly, Felicia was a reference to Priscilla... and for the record, I was the Bernice. I'm not sure we ever officially had a Mitzy.

I've spoken about this before, but perhaps never in such explicit terms... Ludo was a very important part of my life for a period of time. He led to a large number of very important changes and my time living with and knowing him definitely shaped who I became as a person... at the end of the day he kind of turned into a douchebag. So yeah, not sure about that happiness wish.

He was quite often manipulative by way of charm (which I'll admit, I made use of at the time, it was just a little different when it was aimed at me instead of being something I could benefit from), he became ridiculously jealous, petty and controlling (more so with Lownee than with me to be honest, but it still affected my relationship with Lownee) and as long as his needs were met, he didn't seem to be all that bothered about other people.

And it's interesting given what I mentioned here about him getting married, since I only discovered in the second half of 2016 that he and Lownee actually did get married at some point when they disappeared out of my life. Partly because I'd done the occasional internet search for her under her original name, but that day just thought "hang on, what if they did get married"... within 5 minutes I'd found her LinkedIn profile.

The other interesting thing about this section is that the 4 women I mentioned (who had full first names in the original letter), V was who he was dating at the time and turned out to be a full on psycho, H was his ex and the mother of his child, K was actually dating a friend of ours and I don’t think there was ever actually a chance of them dating, so I'm not really sure why I mentioned her. But for the life of me, I can't remember who the hell M was. Like, seriously wracking my brain, no damn clue. Weird.
Kanga, Short-round and Tigger - Kanga will be 43/44 when you read this, Short-round will be 22 and Tigger will be 21. I really can't imagine what sort of men the boys will grow into, I just hope I'm close to them, I would hate to have had distance or time or whatever get in the way of the bonds that we had.
Pretty much once I moved out of home Kanga and I started to lose contact. She and the boys came to see me in North Adelaide once when I was living there, Short-round was very excited to see me (he would have been about 3 or 4 I guess), but we really just didn't keep in touch. Have I mentioned that I'm really, really bad at that? And often there are people who were part of my life only for that specific section, once I move on to a new chapter, I often don't have any desire to stay in touch.

When I read the letter initially I did a bit of an internet search, I'd fortunately included Kanga's married surname, so went looking for the boys, but since I don't have a Facebook account it limits some of my internet sleuthing abilities, and I didn't turn up anything definitive.
PR - Just out of curiosity, do we still know P, or did she kind of just fade away into the woodwork. As I write this she is engaged to D who she has been dating for as long as I have known her. I just wonder if her predictions of long ago came true and we do still see each other, and she has a truckload of kids who call me Uncle Yani.
Going even further back... PR and I went to high school together and had many interesting conversations... we kept in touch on and off after school, I remember getting together with her in Billy Baxters (when that used to be a thing... I don't think that's a thing anymore... or at least not very much) probably around the time of this letter to come out to her, but I feel like that was one of the last conversations we had and we just, again, drifted apart.
Ash - My letter writing crony of the here and now. Do we still keep in touch, and what the hell ever happens to him?
Weirdly Ash did come back into my life briefly… he sent me an email (I think… maybe it was a real letter, I don't remember) wondering if I still had copies of all the stories he'd sent me when I was writing to him, so I scanned them all and sent them to him. And I read his first book, which was quite good if memory serves.
Framing Watson - The main reason I added this is because I'm curious about what happened to the band, whether they split up or if they did ever really make it big. I certainly would like to think that they could make it, but I suppose only time will tell!
This is definitely a blast from the past... weirdly enough I had a conversation about them with a couple of the girls I used to work with earlier in 2016. And looking up one of the few photos I could find online of the band makes me wonder why I ever had a crush on two of the members and also that they could not have been a more 90's band if they tried.

Also, just to confirm, they were a 90's band that Ludo and I were groupies for... we went to all their gigs, eventually got invited to parties and things at their houses. But no, they didn't make it big, they moved to Melbourne, broke up and the lead singer had a brief solo career (well I know he released at least one album if memory serves). I do occasionally wonder whatever happened to them, whether any of them came back to Adelaide, or if they all stayed in other cities.
Just before I go, the year you read this is the 25th anniversary of our graduation from high school. I had always planned to organise something on the 5th, 10th and 20th anniversaries, I'm just checking in to see if we do!

I thought about this briefly at the 10 year I think, but by that point I really had no desire to see anybody I went to school with for any reason. And I think I was basing this more on the American idea of school reunions… I just don't think we really do them that much here in Australia, especially not for government schools (more so private schools, but even then I don't know how much of a thing it is).
Actually it is kind of strange, the person writing this letter will never know any of the answers to these questions, in a way the 21 year old dies the minute this paper is sealed into an envelope, I become static and whoever opens this letter 21 years from now will find him and with any luck remember him fondly.
Wow, this got real dark, real quick. I think I'd either been thinking a little too much about things while writing this, or I was trying for some introspection and depth and it got away from me.

It's kind of true though (although not quite as melodramatic as I made it sound)... the version of me who wrote it is forever frozen at 21 years old and his words just sat there in that envelope just waiting for 42 year old me to come along as sass him for everything he thought we may have done and everything he didn't know about what was still to come.

And, yes, I do remember him fondly, although I wish he'd made some better decisions about certain things both before this letter and in the years directly following it.
All my love
And mine, back at you, through the veil of time.

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