Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A letter to my younger self

In the light of recent of exam results days, Shelley Wilson posted a lovely addition to her Resolution Challenge blog regarding what she would say to her younger self. I urge you to read it here. It reminded me that I'd written something similar for a competition (that I didn't win). It is reproduced below.

Who Knows Street

 Dear You,

The good news is that you make it to your 50s. I’m hoping as much as you are that this is only half the story.

The bad news is that there are no spoilers in this letter. What would be the point? If I tell you what is about to happen and you don’t like the sound of it, knowing you as I do I’m in no doubt that you’d fix things to go your way. It’s no spoiler to say that you are/I am still a control freak.

So why write at all? I think perhaps it is more for my benefit than yours, so that I can reassure myself that the road I took to get here turned out to be the right one, even though there were times when it looked distinctly rocky! I’m also seeking reassurance from within that having navigated myself to this point I shall be able to negotiate the rest of the journey safely.

It’s OK for you, sitting there as a confident, know-it-all ‘teen spirit’ (a reference to a song you won’t hear until 1991, by which time you will be – oops, nearly gave something away then). You think you’re right about everything and that the world is yours for the taking. Well, you are and it is, up to a point. When you’re ready for your mid-life crisis, though, I hope you’ll take comfort in looking back on a life well lived and relish what is to come.

I’m not prepared to give you the winning numbers for the Lottery (you’ll see later in life what this is – but don’t hold your breath) or to tell you who wins the Grand National in 2009. You don’t need to know these things. You don’t actually need my advice about anything. What will be will be. But you might like to know that following the instinct you have now for weighing things up quickly and efficiently, then making a decision and sticking to it without a backwards glance will stand you in good stead.

I will just say this. You are passionate, so live it, love it and celebrate it. You already know that this passion means plumbing the depths as well as hitting the highs.

You are and will continue to be outraged, indignant and opinionated, but also loyal, tenacious and strong. You are going to love with breathtaking intensity, which will bring you joy and despair. You will break hearts and have yours broken. You will make good choices and bad, meet wonderful people and quite a few bastards. You will work hard and not always happily, and will experience times of plenty interspersed with some hardships.

Your weight will fluctuate and with it your self-esteem. Your moods will swing. Some of your experiences will be exhilarating and glorious. Sometimes you will behave in ways that, on reflection, you shouldn’t have. Some of your actions will make you embarrassed, perhaps even ashamed. People will cross you and some you will forgive; many you won’t. Some people will love you; others not so much.

In other words, you are normal. Whether you find this comforting or disappointing is something you will find out along the way.

Listen to the music, sing and dance, laugh and cry. Most important of all, simply be.

With love
From your older self


  1. I couldn't concur more, especially the last line..........lovely. Is concur the right word, Ms editor?

  2. What a great letter, Julia! I also love that last line.

  3. Great advice! And you're right to not include spoilers. Our younger selves would be better off not knowing the fine details!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Stephanie. How many times do we say, 'If I'd known that was going to happen...'?