“What you wish you could tell Your 16 year old self”
Matthew Gillett, Artist, Gallery Owner, Surfer and Mental Health Ambassador
WOW what a spark one line can achieve. Evoking thoughts of days gone by, misspent youth, paths not taken and paths regrettably taken, along with a lot of XTL moments
I should start with introducing 16-year-old Matthew Gillett, surfing, skating and painting. Hanging with mates and chasing girls was pretty much all that mattered. A first year apprentice; I had to grow up fast amongst old school tradies.
I always put my loyalties to my Seaside lifestyle and my Mates first. All other commitments in life came in second place.
When I think of what I could tell my 16-year-old self, it really makes me think of 16 year old me. I was stubborn. My strong views and opinions would have had me telling 30 something me to (bleep) off.
I was aggressive and often XTL when it came to standing up for what me and my mates thought was important. A strange almost right of passage.
On Saturday I was surfing my local, when a guy came flying down a wave out of control. His board smashed into my face, with bleeding nose and mouth I was in extreme pain 16 year old me would of retaliated with a flurry of punches and slurs, but 30 something me breathed out and accepted that sometimes accidents happen. After it all we smiled and laughed about his NOT so crash hot surfing ability, and the good fortune that the result could have been a lot worse. A perfect example of the up side to not XTL with aggression, instead dealing with life’s lemons in a relaxed understanding manner.
Another example close to me being an Artist is putting my art out to be judged. You are putting yourself out of your comfort zone, in the spotlight to be scrutinized and ridiculed. It is something I spent most of my youth trying to hide from within the safety of the crew. But the best piece of advice I was given was when I was told to pick someone I think is the best, a hero, someone I looked up to. For me it was Kelly Slater. To me he is a surfing legend; a god!
When I answered the question with” Kelly Slater” the reply given to me put it all into perspective.“ somewhere someone hates Kelly Slater, hates what he does, hates what he stands for and looks like and hates the way he surfs ”
Meaning no matter how good you are, hatters gunna hate!
Everybody XTL when it comes to judging others in a negative way. It seems an automated response that society has become at ease with. Instead, a simple XTL under your breath may help you to curb your negative automated response, allowing someone putting themselves out there to have a go and follow their dreams or passions. One day it may be you out there on the ledge!
I look back at my life’s journey and I am pleased at what I have achieved and the man I have become. 16 year old me, like most 16 year olds, always struggled with how I was perceived. I was insecure and yet I knew everything. Funny thing was I didn’t know everything and I still don’t. I wonder if 60 something Matt will have some advice for 30 something Matt? Only the future knows. But this is what I would have told my 16-year-old self if I had had the opportunity to. I would have opened with…. nice long hair Matt, don’t get the Celtic arm band tattoo its just a phase! Stand on your own two feet, lead and don’t follow. Be more understanding and accommodating to everyone, you never know someone’s story. You never know what they have been through and what struggles they deal with on a daily basis. Everyone has amazing things they have to offer. Don’t expect everyone to like who you are and what you do; you cant please all the people all the time. The path to happiness is to please yourself; only then can you bring your talents to other people so that they can be happy. Meet and treat people how you would like to be treated. Open the day with a smile and end the day with no regrets. Be aware of the clear imaginary line, because once you XTL it’s hard to go back, the damage is done. A deep breath and a moment of clarity can keep you off the XTL merry go round. #XTL