Lenny's Letter to My Younger Self

17 February 2020

Lenny's Letter to My Younger Self

Photo by Kylie Kluger

Dear 15-year-old Lenny,

Don’t worry that your dad just passed away. You have still got your older brothers to take care of Mum. She did bring up all of you, anyway. So instead of worrying too much, find out what you really want; what makes you happy.

You’ve been a good kid. You just tend to follow well-meant but useless advice, mainly from people who have their own interests at heart – not yours. It took following the wrong path to learn to listen to your heart more.

Don’t be concerned about your nerdiness and awkwardness – it is just a combination of being a teenager and being you. Being smart doesn’t prevent you from making stupid choices, like hanging out with people who take advantage of you, taunt you or encourage you to do dangerously stupid things.
Forgive your dad for not being around when you needed a male to help you become a man. And forgive your brothers for drowning their loss in alcohol. Nothing is forever and all of us will lose someone we love, need and look up to.

It is okay to ask for advice or help; just don’t blindly follow other people’s ideas. It is great to be able to do things on your own, but it is much more fun to do them with others. This will create bonds that will carry you through the dark times. Know that no-one can avoid the blues. Embrace them and transform them into smiles so that you don’t sink into dark holes for weeks, months or even years.

Okay, the most important thought will finish this, if you are still paying attention: listen to your heart. Your overactive, babbling mind needs to quieten for a moment to allow this to happen. Whenever you listen to your heart, you will grow, and your life will take unexpected turns.

Don’t be afraid – it will be fine. You will see many parts of this beautiful planet, meet some amazing and some horrible people, and one day learn to make every place you encounter home.

Listen to your heart. It is the only guide you can really trust.



Lenny sells The Big Issue outside Avid Reader in West End, Brisbane, Australia

Article first appeared in The Big Issue edition #604