Nic Naitanui - September 04 2020
A Letter To My Younger Self
Dear Nic/Nicholas/Nicnat ,
Don’t worry you’ve got an array of names, like it or not!
Here’s to you having your first beer soon. Maybe a Corona for arguments sake. That’ll be a monumental occasion for you leading into manhood. However you’ll soon discover that singular term Corona will test how mature you are in years to come. That steely resolve you make taking that first ever sip will draw correlations as your older version sips from the chalice of his youthful lessons for strength during dire straights in 2020.
Commit to all your decisions. Good, bad or indifferent. Acknowledge mistakes and know that “It ain’t weak to speak”. Not only will your choices help you, but it will influence a generation of future dreamers to come. Hard times will be exacerbated by being front page news but keep in mind “Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper”. Keep the consumption of this kind to a minimum 👍🏿
This is 30 year old you. Yes I’d love to say it was a smooth transition getting to this stage but to be honest there was a slight speed bump that got in the way. It’s name was LIFE...
See now LIFE is a complicated speed bump. It isn’t the stick standard smooth oblong structure protruding from your current Midland bitumen road littered in burnout marks from the local hoon's Friday night antics. Instead it bares many faces and varying identities. The first quality it possesses is the smooth happy exterior, followed by the rough adversity stricken front and backs, the strong sound inner core holding it together and lastly the carefree lackadaisical paint complimenting its start and finishing point.
Yes, you’ll have to slow your approach (or choose not to) but just continue along your way at your own risk. Yeah travelling at excessive speeds exposes you to all facets of the bump bump, but the takeaways from riding them are vital for survival. Although the experience will have its highs and lows and at times leave you battered and bruised both internally and externally, guess what? You're still in one piece at age 30! You haven’t lost any value, instead you’ve gained a mountain of life lessons.
By the way the top of that ‘lesson mountain’ has the best vantage point to witness what transpires along your road to 30. You can witness all LIFE throws at you for the cost of next to nothing.
Reach into your pocket for a second Nic. Grab a $50 note. Now dirty it, accidentally throw it in the wash with your dirty footy socks, man you can even stomp on it a hundred times. Yeah it might have a little bit of discolouration afterwards and a few crinkles but surprise, it’s still worth what it was initially!
Now go and invest that fifty wisely, don’t buy that Mortal Kombat game you longed for as a child.
Keep your culture alive. Support those in your village who serve to keep you humble. Like they say back home “It’s hard to keep your feet grounded in the soil, when your heads stuck in the clouds.” Also I’ve heard the village elders say “Drink kava, pass the guitar and work can wait til next week” haha but we won’t draw too much from the latter part.
Learn to sacrifice and say goodbye to a lot. You’ll lose a few people along the way but it’ll make you tougher. Say goodbye to privacy first and foremost. Haha you aren’t getting that back. Say goodbye to weekends and public holidays. Say goodbye to the normality like grocery shopping like your twin brother Mark partakes in.
All those times I see you staring at your Michael Jordan poster muttering the words “make me like Mike” to the nights you cry yourself to sleep hoping to one day be in a position to provide for your family. I see you praying for a pair of Jordan sneakers a lot. Let’s just say nowadays you have one or two cough (maybe even a room) 😂
All those nights hoping to someday be famous and to make your idols your rivals. Let’s just say that’s a current reality. But let me tell you at age 30. If you had a chance to possess one super power, invisibility would win by a country mile. Not for any other purpose than the ability to do everyday activities with anonymity! Simple pleasures! It’s funny how life works.
It isn’t all doom and gloom. I just opened your future shed. I saw a pool table, a fishing rod and even a jet ski to go fishing off. Now that’s lucky! That speed bump must have taught you something right.
Just remember that even though isolation is a fun experience, it’s equally important to take others along on the journey at times. Keep thinking bigger picture and of the world holistically despite the safe nurturing confines that your “bubble” provides.
What I’m essentially trying to say young Nic is that you should dare to dream but aspire to inspire. Park the Jet Skis and toys for a second, your biggest gift will be the gift of giving back. To the needy to the less fortunate and to the game you love dearest; football.
Perils, pitfalls it’s all part of the fun. You’re weird, you’re misunderstood but nobody will ever understand you because they haven’t seen what your eyes have seen. Trust me it ain’t all pretty!
Finally a vital Fijian saying you continue to live by is “Ke Warai ba saqa taubale ga” meaning (“no money for the bus, just walk”). Simple and minimalistic but a good reminder that there’s always an alternate route. Although It might not be the easy and comfortable option, it’s still an option.
P.S. promise me one thing! Don’t forget to put the bins out Wednesday nights cos those ass whooping on a Thursday morning after failing to do so ain’t a lot of fun 😂
Take care, take risks and take out the bins