Flashback, 18 years old, sitting at my old wooden desk as my Chemistry teacher speaks.
An eccentric man, bald on top with white patches running down either side. Glasses and a genuine excitement for all things science.
Known for jumping on top of desks when an experiment doesn’t work.
Every word, coming out of this brilliant man’s mouth, flies straight over my head.
My mark, teetering between pass and fail, is the same in my two other classes.
These classes will form part of my judgment as I begin to apply for University courses in less than 6 months.
My girlfriend at the time, from a family of drunks, is well on the way herself. As am I.
Could do anything sexually I could think of to her, she needed the attention. Her alcoholic father gave her none.
Drinking is a weekend, every weekend thing but more and more, we begin drinking during the weekdays.
My life is on a crash course, there is only one way for this story to unfold.
Heading down an one-way path, I have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Until, my chemistry teacher, the eccentric scientist, pulls me aside.
I still remember his word to this day as I watch his mouth saying them.
“What are you doing? You are throwing your life away. You are better than this.”
The words echo throughout my body. Heart beats faster, palms become sweaty, I can feel the words.
The words pierce right through me, they stick with me, affect me, change me.
Two weeks later, I break up with my girlfriend. She goes berzerk, I think of the sex, but stay strong.
Gave her some shit excuse but she was a contributing factor to my decline, she had to go.
One week after that, I read the basic requirements to get into University. A 70 percent average.
I put my head down and get it done. Graduating with a 70 percent in my last three classes, the ones that matter.
Fast forward to today, Vin Menniti (great blog) reached out to me. He asked me to prepare a post for his project.
The advice you would give your 18 year old self.
You can find the project here, and you will not find my name anywhere.
When I first looked at the article, there were over 2,000 views.
A great opportunity for my blog but the reflection as I was writing, was more important.
What advice would I give my 18 year old self?
Much of the advice, I was already lucky enough to get when I was 18 from my chemistry teacher.
The words “you are better than this” is something that has stuck with me.
Every time I look in the mirror naked, I hear those words.
When spend hours scrolling social media, I hear those words.
When I drink and let it affect my ability to be a great dad, I hear those words.
In some cases, the habit took years to break but the words speak louder as the addictions grow.
As I write this, it is a sobering feeling. To reflect on where I have come from is humbling.
A small town where few make it out, multiple children with multiple people.
Both my wife and I grew up in the same area, with a similar back story.
Of all of her friends, only one made it out. Of all mine, two.
Now as I go through, I hear these words constantly.
I watch the people I follow on Twitter succeed.
I congratulate them at the same time my level of compete increases.
As I slowly whisper the words “you are better than this.”