StreetWise vendors give their 25-year-old selves a pep talk for INSP’s #VendorLetters series

INSP has been asking vendors from across the street paper network to write letters to their 25-year-old self to mark the end of INSP’s 25th anniversary year. Three StreetWise vendors wrote letters: Robert (47), Lee (56) and A. Allen (who charmingly just stated his age as “elderly”).

Robert Smith

25-year-old Robert, stay committed, stay positive. Definitely stay positive. And if you do get a rejection, don’t give up and please do not curse the customer. They can have a bad day and come back nine times out of ten and just give you money, just because they went off on you. Just keep it positive and if there’s any rejection, you know, say “have a nice day” and keep moving.

I was in a depression when I was 25. It was rough. And going through depression, I didn’t care about how I dressed, what motivated me, nothing. That would cause me to drop out of school and do stuff that’s illegal just because. That’s part of some of the reasons I derailed from the good part of life. Basically depression.

To 25-year-olds now, embrace the moment, but always strive to do better, no matter what you do. Never give up, never. I’ve been through hard times and I have a testimony. So, if it looks like the road is hard, difficulty first, then ease. There’s nothing easy in the world, but do not give up, keep striving because you will be successful. Keep God in your life at all times.

StreetWise vendor Robert Smith

A. Allen

Take it easy, don’t rush things. I was rushing through life. At 25 it looks like you’re going to live forever and everything is immediate… You try to get more really quick, so you have more fun. But actually, you should have just taken a little time out and been able to step back and learn that life is not like that and you have to take responsibility for the things you do. And that’s one of the things that selling papers for StreetWise has taught me; to be responsible and take care of myself.

My 25-year-old self would not even recognise me… I’m celebrating 10 years of sobriety and 25-year-old me would have never thought that I would be sober. Never ever thought that I would be sober. I was looking to die young, so my 25-year-old self could not fathom me now, being sober for 10 years.

My advice for 25-year olds is to not waste your life away, try to be productive, try to do something for yourself and do something for someone else.

StreetWise vendor A. Allen

Lee A. Holmes

If I could go back in time and meet myself? I’d tell him, stay focused, stay in school, and strive hard for the things that you want.

To others, be careful what you do. Be careful who you associate with. Think before you act, because your actions will come back to haunt you.

StreetWise vendor Lee A. Holmes

Interviews by Sydney Wirtz

Check back in every day over the festive period for more #VendorLetters.

INSP members can download the #VendorLetters feature on the INSP News Service.