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Tom Scott: Advice to my 22-Year-old-Self

Tom Scott
Auckland Theatre Company poster
Writer, journalist, satirical cartoonist, playwright: Tom Scott excels at it all. Lucky for us, he shares his advice on how to do it - and it sounds like the secret is not about push and shove.


Relax: You are going to grow up into a staggeringly fabulous human being. Other men will want to be you. Beautiful women will want to be with you. Neither of these have happened yet but there is still time. There is always still time.

Relax: The career you are sweating blood over right now will not be the job you are doing ten years from now, and that job won’t be what you are doing ten years after that. You have hidden depths and at the same time you are vastly more shallow than you ever gave yourself credit for.

Relax: You are going to make mistakes. Don’t waste time learning from them. Make new ones. Some mistakes will turn out to be happy accidents. This is where stretching exercises become important. From time to time you will need to be able to reach over your shoulders and pat yourself on the back.

Relax: You are never going to be able to shake your bootie so don’t even try. Spare yourself the humiliation of strangers running onto the dance floor to stop you swallowing your tongue because they think you are having a fit. Buy a sax and pretend to be with the band. You’ll look cool. If forced to blow, say Coltrane is your idol. Every squawk and screech will be hailed as genius.

Relax: You are never going to tan so stay out of the sun. Alabaster will make a come back. It hasn’t yet but there is still time. There is always still time. And the collagen and fibrinogen in your skin will thank you. Contemporaries that you envied will end up with faces that resemble scrotal sacs that have been waxed, fell asleep under tanning beds and smoked too much.

Relax: No one has ever been loved the way everyone wants to be loved. If you can’t find things to like about yourself it’s asking a bit much of others to find them for you. When you do find them don’t advertise it loudly. Leave clues.

Relax: Get eight hours sleep a night and sleep with the blinds up and the windows open. Your brain needs the oxygen. When you’re dozing your brain is working at fever pitch making cut lunches and laying out clean clothes for your conscious mind to wear the next day. Wake up with the sun. For a few hours the two of you will have the planet all to yourselves.

Relax. If you feel bad about thinking about sex one million times before breakfast you should know that young women are thinking about it even more. You are not even close. This is a closely guarded secret that puts you at an advantage. Use it wisely. We are warm-blooded land mammals plunged into primeval darkness for twelve hours every day. We all need another mammal pressed against us to get us through the night. Don’t be so stingy. Start sharing the warmth.

Oh… I almost forgot. For God’s sake, relax!


Tom Scott's semi-autobiographical stage plays The Daylight Atheist (starring Michael Hurst) and Joan (about Tom's wickedly funny mother) will be performed in repertoire at the ASB Waterfront Theatre from February 7th to 23rd. Judging from the above, they ought to have you stitches - get your tickets here.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

22 Jan 2019

The Big Idea Editor