Mauricio Estrella
Creative Director

Illustration by
Pik-Tone Fung

Dear 25-year-old Me:

I guess it's around midnight now. Stop working. Whatever that thing is, stop now.

You need to take a break from that office chair. Working so hard and sleeping a couple of hours at shifting hours will be bad for you in the future.

But hey, I'm not writing this letter to give you any advice, because in the following 5 years, your life will take the most ridiculous turn that you could ever imagine. Life will be awful and great at the same time, and it will be life, precisely, the source of the wisdom that will help you to keep moving forward.

The sole purpose of this is to give you hope right now. I know you need it badly. I know you will need at least 4 years to understand that everything happens for a reason, and the ultimate reward is worth the suffering. Your life will be a roller coaster (it still is in the future) and the best thing you can do is fasten the seatbelt and enjoy the ride, despite the bad moments.

Right there where you are, I know you are taking good care of the two girls… Dad hasn't been around for 2 years now and there's no sign of any improvement in the original plan to pay up the debts and move on. It sucks, right? Because of this, we both know you don't have a personal life plan yet. You're spending your time for the benefit of your surrounding ones and pushing your own future to the end of the list. You ask yourself what's going to happen next or when you can finally start doing the things you always wanted… and so on.

It's been like this for a while, and it won't change in the short term, but there's something quite bright and beautiful up ahead!

For the first time ever, you will see a bright light at the end of this dark tunnel that you feel you're walking along. Now, trust me, worrying about when the tunnel is going to end is never helpful. As long as you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, that's all you really need to know that you're moving in the right direction. No matter how long it takes, it's worth the time and effort.

Next year, you will marry your beautiful girlfriend, Alex. You will get to celebrate it in a giant resort with more than 200 people. Your savings will be gone, but you'll feel happier than ever before. Dad will be at the wedding. He no longer works and is enjoying his retirement, thanks to your efforts and an amazing job abroad (yes, that's right, you will soon hear from some Swedish guy talking about expensive brands and asian stock markets).

In the next year, you will fire your 5 employees, close your company, remove yourself from university teaching, sell most of your audio equipment from the recording studio and ultimately, you will leave your parents and sister behind. You will go to the other side of the planet trying to get a better life, escape from the routine that you've been in for years, ultimately because you still think there's an answer somewhere out there as whether you were born in the right place and time.

In the end, you will move to Shanghai, China. You will work abroad for an amazing company. You will bring your wife along. People will stare at her all the time. You will be a welcomed almost-celebrity for many people.

This is when you need to enjoy and embrace the top of the hill. Life will never get better than this. Things will never feel as exciting as they will be at that point. Your family will be finally together, your work will have a huge positive impact in the company and you will be rewarded for it, your boss and your colleagues will be amazing, your wife will put great efforts into adapting to this new country and lifestyle, you will love and be loved like never before, you will travel to 5 continents in less than 5 months, you will live in a beautiful and exclusive neighbourhood, you'll pretty much be a centre piece in a very cool and smart social circle of friends and colleagues from your company, the food will suck, but everything else will feel like the perfect 'missing piece' in your puzzled life.

However, you won't learn to grow up until life slaps you. And this, buddy, is the worst slap we'll ever get in our life.

After moving to China, 2 years later, you will be left behind.

The woman who promised you a lifetime will get tired of you. She will stop loving you. She will divorce you. You will lose friends, pounds, money, patience, time, effort, weight, wisdom teeth and a couple of bad habits.

You will have to start over and slowly climb again to the reality. You will have friends giving you advice here and there, but you won't listen. You will be back to basics. A good job, and that's it. Everything else will suck, for a very long time. Everything you've done and achieved in the last decade will mean nothing to you. You will question your sole existence.

You will be stupid. You will be irrational. The sad part is that nobody will notice. Only you. And you won't do anything to change it because, well, it's you.

But then…

One day, at noon, you will look across a small table in a small restaurant… and there she will be. She will confuse you. She will make you question everything. She is the one who keeps things holding together, for now. You will move together. Renew and design an adventure together. Where is it going? You'll find out.

Your life will be back in your control. You will end up being at the beginning of a loop that will be there, but it won't haunt you anymore. It will no longer be a menace or a foggy landscape ahead of your road. You will have learned that no matter what, things can always get worse and yet somehow, you've managed to stay positive and get out of the dumps.

You'll win and lose friends. You'll have crushes. You'll have dreams. You'll have lovers. You'll have haters.

You will feel like life is a movie and someone up there put a 'pause' in the best part of it. You will want your 30s to last forever.

You won't know what to do.


So I'm here, waiting for an older version of myself to get in touch with his 'dear 31-year-old me', just as I did, and tell me what's going to happen next. Whatever it is, it will never be as exciting and rewarding as all the amount of crazy good and bad experiences you're about to go through.

Stay strong. And stop smoking, you idiot.

Au revoir,

Me (you in many many years)

January 2014