I recently read something on twitter that got me thinking. It was a retweet that read
‘Would your 8 year old self be proud of who you are today?’
I thought back to what I was doing at 8 years old, and tried to imagine whether that young skinny naive little boy would be proud of what he had done with his life up until today.
When I was 8 my family moved from Auckland to Wellington in New Zealand through my father’s work - he took a job that would make him a national sales manager. I can remember having mixed feelings about leaving my friends, the local rugby club, starting a new school as the ginger kid, finding out who the cool kids were, the bullies, the tough kids and the geeks. School is a harsh environment and kids today have a lot more pressure on them than I did.
Looking back now, maybe some of the things that happened in my life gave me the fight to get to where I am now, an adult trying to make good decisions in life, like the rest of us. That freckle-covered boy, always tried to impress others to make friends, to fit in and to be liked by his peers. It wasn’t easy, and being ginger never helped, I was never a cool kid, more a hanger-oner. I followed my big brother around hoping he would give me praise and say I was as good as he was. I tried fighting him knowing he was stronger and tougher.
I had no clue about what I really wanted to do with my life. If I was asked, I would have said the same as most 8 year old Kiwi boys “I want be an All Black bro!” knowing then that I was never going to be good enough to wear a black jersey. I guess I was just an average 8 year old boy doing what we did back then, video games cost 20 cents, no internet or social media, no mobile phones, we knew our home phone number and our best mates’ numbers too. We just played and did stuff, learnt the hard way. Nothing really mattered, I was only 8 and probably thinking what it would be like to be 10!
I don’t know what that little ginger-haired boy would have thought of me now, probably a dick because I’m not an All Black! Because I shave my legs and ride on the back of a tandem, because I can’t see very well. He probably would have called me four eyes when I wear my glasses. But I think if he didn’t judge me on first impressions and got to know me, I reckon he might think I’m all right and maybe even a bit cool. If he really got to know me I might even inspire him to reach further and follow all of those wild dreams his little 8 year old mind would have had.