So what pearls of wisdom could I tell my 18 year old self - apart from wanting to give myself a Grays Sports Almanac of course?!
First & most obvious would be that the bright orange Mini Metro was NOT in fact the definition of 'cool' that I thought it was! Oh, and that it had a cracked subframe - so in hindsight, going around a corner on 2 wheels (unplanned) was not helping the poor motor...
Contrary to my colleague Chris Heg's - 18 year old self post, I would actually listen to the balding 40 year old 'professional' stood in front of him.
I think this is because I had a slightly different approach into the work environment compared to all my school friends - who went on to 6th Form & University to gain degree's and more academia. I was the only one that ditched school after my GCSE's at 16, and decided to jump into employment. You are 2 years into your 4 year Electronics Engineering Apprenticeship - and who would think that 22 years on (only the other day) you showed someone how to solder a PCB?!
Being an apprentice meant I was there to soak up as much information as possible as I learnt on the job & as part of a team right from the start (with balding 40 year old's as mentors) - so I generally listened more than I inputted.
Saying that, there are a few things that I would still write in my Almanac to you:
Don't rub your head when you get stressed.
It's a serious 'tell' when playing poker, but by the age of 30 your hair is going pretty quick... and on that note, lay off the Wella Wet Look gel. As much as it helped to regain some 'cool' you lost with the orange metro, it played it's part in the eventual demise.
Be more confident & outgoing - talk to people!
You tended to only do something when you knew you could, and shy'd away from things that took you out of your comfort zone. It's scary going off track, but the world will get to be a pretty fast changing place in years to come - so get out there. I'll let you into a secret - everyone feels the same as you inside!
Believe in yourself - it will come good.
As much as you loved football, not being able to go Pro was a blessing (although sadly it will torment you for a few more years yet). Similarly, not going to University doesn't make you any less capable or less clever (I know you struggle with that one for sometime too!), but it's how you apply yourself that counts, not qualifications. However this is your path to walk, and it opens up a world of opportunity and personal reward more than you can imagine. In 10 years or so you will have your Jerry Maguire career moment - "My life had begun..".
Manners: Please & Thank-you go along way
Being polite is a good quality (thanks Mum & Dad!). You're a firm believer that you don't have to be an arse to make things happen or to get your opinion heard. In later years, you learn to lead, empower and motivate people around you so they really make a difference. You're nothing without the awesome people around you, and it's massively rewarding to have their respect.
Enjoy time with Family & Friends
For a fair period you struggle to find the Yin & Yang for work and play, with work being the outright winner. You only get so much time with your family & friends, so try a little harder than your 40 year old self did, and find a better balance - enjoy yourself.
Never stop doing the things you love...
Drums: you've been playing since 13, and in 1 year you'll be in a band. You'll be still gigging with some of them even today. It keeps you sane!
Cars & Motorbikes: They are a HUGE part of what makes you happy (it must be in the genes). Don't wait so long to get into track days... you'll love them!
Snowboarding: Don't stop doing it in your 20's, it's probably why you suffer with a bad back in your 30's when you pick it back up again.
Movies: You'll still be watching your favourite movies and sneaking quotes from them into everyday life even today.. Back to the Future, TopGun, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cocktail....
On the whole, you've got the right tools in the box kiddo, so stay true to what believe in and enjoy the ride.
PS, tell your parents not to give away your StarWars collection. You can also miss Episode I,II and III, but Episode VII get's it back on track :)