MIKA, POP UP XL 89 (September 2013) - AN OPEN LETTER TO MY OLDER SELF (TURNING THIRTY)
Illustration by DaWack
On the eve of my 30th birthday, I decided to write an open letter to my older self. I can not read this letter again until the eve of my 80th birthday.
Dear Mika, I hope this finds you well. I have no idea where in the world you will be when you read this. My life so far has been made up of so many twists, turns and contradictions, that there is no way of predicting where or how you will be. For starters, I just hope you are alive! Even if the world has become a terrible or hostile place, without water and without seasons, I still hope you’re in it. Not because I want to maintain my presence for as long as possible, but just because I’m curious and you’re my only way of finding out.
You may wonder why I’m writing this, but the reason is quite simple. A lot of noise is made about someone turning 30. Yes, you can laugh, you’re about to turn 80. The only reason why I think we care is that childhood along with adolescence has been eroded. The normal transitions of life before adulthood don’t exist any more. We live a sort of ‘kidulthood’ for far too long and suddenly we hit 30 and have no more excuse. A 30 year old, a hundred years ago, was approaching the twilight era. You however, at 80, are probably not even considered old any more. I wonder how your health is and how long you might actually live? 100? 120? Perhaps you live in an augmented reality, which covers up all the destruction of the last 100 years. I hope that’s not the case. I hope things are still green and there is still winter and summer. What scares me the most, is that now as I turn 30, I don’t believe things as basic as seasons and fresh air are guaranteed in the future.
As those around me have been making a fuss about my 30th, this is my retaliation. As a boy, the only secret power I ever wanted was to freeze time. In order to relish a little longer in moments I loved and to reap vengeance on those who hurt me. This is me freezing time just for a moment. Like a capsule or a message in a bottle. Beyond that I don’t care about my age, as long as I am free.
I am writing this from the basement of my house in London’s World’s End. There’s a car engine outside making noise. My mother has just popped over to have a cup of tea and my dog is asleep in the corner. They will all be gone when you read this. I have never faced death, you have. How lucky you must think I am to have those I love around me in the flesh. Don’t romanticise too much however. They are not so perfect up close you know? So far I have seen terrible things happen to people I love dearly, but I’ve never lost any of them. You have and I’m sorry for the pain it caused you. I’m sure you’ve made some pretty amazing friends though. Not just the glamorous famous ones. Those ones I know already, come and go so fast, but real friends. I hope they are strange and keep you weird. Please stay weird.
In the world right now, the US and the UK are spying on us and no one can do anything about it. Even Obama is unable to take a hard line on the subject. The Middle East is in turmoil and the incredible city of Aleppo which you visited at 25 is pretty much destroyed. In Russia, the government is turning viciously and bizarrely anti gay, as a result of the bigotry of the powerful orthodox church, but marriage in Europe and America is looking positive. Except in Italy, God knows about that! I wonder if you have children and how you got those, as I already know for sure that you haven’t hooked up with a chick. I hope you have kids, I hope they look like me. And what about Music!? OH GOD I wish I knew what that would sound like in the future.
I could go on for ever, but I must stop. Please remember, we are not so different you and I. If you read this, and do not recognise the hand or the voice, something has gone terribly wrong. If you feel a little embarrassed, that’s OK. In the words of Doris Day, “che sera sera”. That’s true, but I can’t help but feel, that in the chaos of cause and effect that forms our future, the tiny action of writing this letter might change something further down the line. One thing, I hope your not bald, if so, wear a hat.
With all the love in the world,