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  • Dear Tom,

    I'm not sure why I'm writing this letter. I guess I wish I could tell you what's going to happen, but that's life. I mean in 4 years, when I'm 25, and I send a letter to my 21 year old self, I'll probably say similar things. But let's not get all meta here.

    There's quite a lot, but here's a few quick ones:

    1. You break up with two girls, and you feel pretty awful. You feel guilt, which you deserve to feel. And then you get over it, and so do they.
    2. You make a lot of friends. Really interesting, nice people who change you, mostly in a good way.
    3. You discover that most people are doing things for their own good. Even those who appear to be doing something for a greater cause - that greater cause is usually them.
    4. There's someone now. She's really special. You've lived with her for a year, and it's fantastic. Don't try and change how that all happens, because it's perfect in it's own way.
    5. You put on weight. Like, not shit loads, but enough that you can tell. I know that right now you look at yourself and think 'FAT' but let me tell you right now - you don't. You look thin, and healthy. Right now, I'm typing this with a belly and a dodgy beard.

    When I went to write this, I did what any person would do. I went through all my Facebook pictures of the last three years, over 1000 of them, and I reminisced for a good twenty minutes. Smiles, frowns, laughter and a yearning to do it all again. You're still friends with Pat, Gary, Alex, Mike and all the old lot. Not as close as you used to be, but during the holidays you always make an effort to see them - and believe me, it's just the same.

    It doesn't seem like it now, but eventually you decide that as a white, straight man, equality is something that is close to your heart. Amazing people teach you about your privilege and the suffering of millions around the world, as well as the very place you live. You decide to help those who are doing something about it.

    You see that at your University, students are reaching out for a counselor, but waiting 8 weeks to see one. You fix that. You do that. You act on that and the University employs 3 more counselors. You've become an activist.

    There are, of course, a few regrets. You don't write anywhere near as much as you used to. I'm trying to view it as stocking up on experiences that will help create the foundation of some novel in the future, because I know that, deep down, writing is still the end goal. You also haven't seen as much of George, your little brother, as you should have. You're quite selfish, in a weird way, and sometimes that makes you lazy. Don't worry yourself too much about that for now though - I'm sorting it.

    Still, I wouldn't change anything drastically. Maybe just eat less, get involved in a sport and try and write when you can. Follow your heart as well, because that has worked out for you so far. That might change though (it's starting to) but right now, I think it works out just fine.

    Speak to you in 4 years,

    Future Tom.
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