It’s at this point in the magazine, once all of the formalities are done with, that I like to give a little warm up to the issue’s content with a little life lesson or two extracted from something topical or someone who appears within these pages. It’s at this point now that I find myself drawing inspiration from none other than Justin Timberlake. Deep inside me is a circa 1996 grunge listening, flannel shirt wearing, version of myself who is crying hysterically into a tumbler of bourbon and coke at the prospect that I just said that sentence, but of course both Justin and myself are now very different people to the older versions of ourselves. We are of course very different people to each other but it’s probably not the healthiest psychological exercise to compare oneself to a multimillionaire singer and movie star with millions of fans. But like us all, Timberlake has his journey, his failures and successes and his goals.
While he is only 37, he has put out biography of sorts with his new book Hindsight. At first glance, I did think to myself that the fact that he still hasn’t left his 30s yet really doesn’t give him the qualifications to put out a retrospective of his life so far, but when you flick through the pages and see the different incarnations and the chapters of his career it’s really apparent how much he has kept redefining himself. He has probably already lived more lives than many 80 year-olds.
Timberlake suggests that it was only really now that he could start looking back. “Ten years ago, everything was about forward movement. About taking risks. About trying new things. I didn’t look behind me. I didn’t care about what was behind me, I cared only about what lay ahead. Now I’m older. I’ve made more music. I’m a father. I’m still doing new things, taking creative risks. I have space within myself to look back, to see where I was: to understand what I absorbed when I was a child forming my earliest impressions of the world; to appreciate what I was learning as I became a man; and to reflect on the beliefs and values I am bringing with me as I move into the future. What I understand now is that there isn’t just one thing that I am. There isn’t just one thing that I will become.”
While JT’s beanie collection is in all likelihood worth more than my diversified investment portfolio and his idea of quality family time is to hang out in a field with Jessica Biel, I can still empathise with his sentiment. There are many past versions of myself which I’d like to give a kick up the ass. It’s also probable that I am right now an embarrassment in a lot of respects to a future version of myself. But that’s all part of the fun, eh? We are all changing and adapting and moving into the future until we no longer are.