Everyone has a past. And everyone makes mistakes. It's called life. It happens. And if you spent all your time worrying that what you were doing now might affect someone else somewhere down the line, then you'd be trying to achieve the impossible.
It is the highs and lows, the successes and the failures we experience which shape us into the people we become. It is also these things that keep us learning.
Whatever situation I am in now I have to remember (though I often forget) that I have done a lot with my life. Whilst I always expect more from myself I have been lucky enough to experience things most people can only dream of. I've already had one career and another has simmered in the background for a considerable time and is now slowly coming to the fruition.
I am a published writer, I've had my 15 minutes of fame on television and radio and I have drive and direction and things to focus me. Above all I have purpose and 'a calling'.
To say I have made a few mistakes in my life would be an under estimation. I am bloody minded, impulsive, head strong and invariably think with my heart rather than my head. But I also have survivors instinct and I will do what I have to, to keep myself relatively independent. It is those mistakes and successes which have shaped me. I can't imagine who I would be without them.
If you want people to only see you in a certain way, then don't tell them about the bits that might affect how they judge you. If you want to impress them or remind them that there is more substance to you, tell them about your successes. You know about them, but sometimes we all forget the path we have already trodden and how much more impressive it can be to others.
Some people will accept you for who are, mistakes and all. Some like to remind you that you fucked up. And provided you can take it on the chin that's fair enough.
You will meet people throughout your life who have learnt a whole different set of experiences within different time frames to you. You can be wise at 18, naive at 85. Some people will look down on you because of this. I see a process which forms us into the people we inevitably become.
My experiences have shaped me. I like to think I have learnt all the major lessons I need to stay level headed, grounded and protect myself from meddlers, 'lame ducks' and all the challenges I am likely to face in the future.
We all walk a line, we invariably choose the paths we tread. In an instant your life might go one way or the other. But the choice is made and whatever path you choose, you have to live with it because what's done is done.
Accepting others for those choices is a choice in itself.