Today’s post comes courtesy of Denyse Whelan’s Life This Week link up. The prompt suggests a letter to your 20-year-old self. My 20-year-old self did not have a handle on things by any stretch of the imagination. All frizzy hair and no idea about dressing well or not being strange around other humans (so nothing’s changed!).
Mostly because of the fact that you’ve largely gotten over your faux teenage angst, I know you’re going to look down your nose at this navel gazing.
You’ll think “Pfft, writing my past self a letter, what a waste of time! I don’t need no stinking letter from an old lady. I’m busy going to see as many bands as I can, drinking beer like my boyfriend taught me to (downing it in two gulps), and coughing up a lung for a week from passive smoking at the Annandale.”
My liver and lungs still cringe at the thought. Thank God they banned indoor smoking soon after those experiences. That place was basically a smoker.
In any case kiddo, you’ve got a lot to learn so sit down, turn off the radio and listen for once.
Some people have told you that journalism isn’t the right path for you. That you have the “wrong” personality to make a career work. Don’t let them take away the experiences you’re about to have by believing them.
You’ll cover happy and sad events and talk to many more people from diverse backgrounds than you would in any other job. You’ll be worried more days than not – worried that you won’t do a story justice, or that you’re missing something, but the adrenaline will see you through. It’ll take you across the world and back again, on adventures you never thought you’d go on.
A job or a career isn’t forever, there will always be other opportunities. There’s no shame in changing direction when life throws you a curve ball or something doesn’t feel quite right anymore.
Travel v. “Settling Down”
When dad tells you to be sensible and buy a house instead of going travelling, you can listen, but you’ll miss out on living in London -the theatre, museums, music and European trips. Although, you’ll have put me where I am now – houseless and still renting in my almost mid-30s.
There is no “right” answer to that conundrum. Just do what you think’s the best for you and keep on trucking.
Don’t be scared to step away from your safety net either though. Coming from a big family and always having someone there to help you out is a great place to be in. But sometimes you need to know that you can stand on your own two feet and deal with life.
Just because no one else has trodden this path before you, doesn’t make it impossible. Get organised, plan what you can and just go with the flow. You’ve got to make your own luck and your own adventures.
Hug your mum as often as possible. And ask for all of the advice you can. There will be a time soon where she won’t be around to ask. And every time you come up against a life or relationship dilemma, you won’t have her to turn to.
Instead you’ll be wondering what she would say or do in that same situation, and have other people constantly telling you what “she would have wanted”. They mean well and are probably right. Be grateful for what you have.
You’re worried for nothing
OK listen up, because this is my favourite bit: Stop worrying and over-analysing so damn much. Mistakes aren’t deadly (most of the time) and it’s not a huge deal if you make them once in a while. Someone in your future will make this click for you. So what if some people think you’re strange or that you’ve done the “wrong” thing? There will be plenty of people who will think and say the opposite.
All the other stuff…
Would you start running already? I know you hate exercise and sport, but just give it a go. You’re going to be so much happier once you do. Oh and work on your ITB and glutes because they’re going to give you what-for in the future.
And finally, don’t let anything scare you away from becoming an expat and living where work and life takes you. Start saying yes more and you’re going to have some amazing adventures.
Kat (yeah, some people call me that now. Weird huh?)
P.S. Don’t let that Skydiving voucher expire!