This blog post was written in support of the comparethemarket.com Letters of Life campaign - a campaign which aims to encourage parents to think about what key pieces of guidance or life learnings they would like to pass onto their children, so that they will always have a piece of their parent's advice with them come what may. Please click here to find letters from others and advice on how to create your own Letter of Life
Dear Dylan, Xander, and Amelie,
It's Daddy, Or Dad. Or The Old Man, depending on how far into the future you're reading this.
Oh for goodness sake, share. I can't believe I'm having to tell you to stop bickering from beyond the grave. Oh yes, spoiler alert, you're reading this because I am no longer of this earth.
Anyway, just take alternate paragraphs, okay? If you're still feeling inconsolable at my demise, take alternate words - that'll cheer you up.
At the time of writing, I still hadn't written a will so I hope you gave me a Viking burial and had a barbecue on the beach afterwards.
The main purpose of this is to share some advice now that I'm too busy being dead to impart it in person. I'll elaborate of course but, in short, just be yourselves.
You're all hilarious, clever, kind, beautiful people and I'm so lucky to have known you. Life is short and the world we live in isn't what it used to be, but you and Mummy/Mum/The Old Lady are the reasons I was always an optimist. How else could I have carried on supporting Spurs for so long, eh?
Live life to the full. Remain kind to others. Surround yourselves with people who make you happy and who you want to see happy. Speaking of which, don't hang round with people who won't allow you to be yourselves. Friendship doesn't have an agenda and people who do are a bit weird and best avoided.
Visit new places, try new things and never stop learning. Listen to good music, eat good food, laugh a lot and never take yourselves too seriously.
Do what you want to do in life and don't let anyone trample on your dreams. Ignore people who tell you you're wasting your time or that there's too much competition - they're not worth your time.
By the same token, don't remain associated with things that make you miserable. Boys, remember when I was in that old job I hated and you hardly ever saw me during daylight hours?And remember how much happier we all were once I told them to do one? Yeah, that.
Do have kids. Words can't fully articulate how fantastic it has been being your dad and you'll all make awesome parents. Don't fret about it too much. I'll let you into a little secret here - I've been winging it since day one and you've all turned out okay. Having the confidence of your convictions is key here - it doesn't matter if you make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
Don't just look forward to the big things either. Look around you and embrace the small and apparently insignificant ones too - like that glorious moment you wake up and realise it's Saturday or when you suddenly remember you're having pizza for dinner. Little wins like those can keep you going during tough times.
Dylan, I see so much of my younger self in you, but please be an improved version of me. Believe in yourself more because you're brilliant. If people ever mock you for enjoying your studies, ignore them, they're jealous. I tell you what else - they tend to end up wondering what might have been. It's okay to be smugly satisfied about that now and then in adult life.
Xander, I know I said do what you want in life, but keep it within reason, yeah? There's a computer hacker in you so either transfer those skills to something a little more legal or use them ethically. Please keep your wicked sense of humour intact and never stop delighting in moments of mild peril.
Amelie, never lose your defiant streak. I'll readily admit that it's still driving me round the bend at the time of writing, but you'll grow into it. Stay determined and keep doing that face you do when people tell you that you can't do something. Sadly, you're still at a disadvantage in our backwards, sexist society so give them hell.
There are so many more things I could say but, all being well, I'll get to say them in person over a great many years. If that isn't the case, just think of happy times and I'll be there in your memories.
Love you, you bunch of nutters!