Remembering the sacrifice of the young men in our country 100 years ago has made me reflect on their age when they went away to face the horrors of war.
It’s coming up to 10 years since I was 18 – the age of many of those men. Although 18 makes you an adult in the legal sense of the word in my country, I have definitely felt that the last 10 years have been my main growing time. So I have written a letter to my 18 year old self, to tell myself of all the growing up still to do:
Dear 18 year old Lucy
There are many things that are going to happen to you in the next 10 years that you have no idea about – and they will change the way you look at life forever.
Currently you are in your first real relationship. It will last another 3 years or so, and at the moment I know that you believe you are very much in love. Enjoy it, it is an amazing thing, but don’t be afraid to be alone if it isn’t working. You will spend some years wondering if there is something wrong with you, and if that is why you can’t seem to find someone. The truth is, he is waiting. His name is Pedro and when you find him you will realise the wait was worth it! Don’t let any man make you feel less than you are – I know you will believe them, but as it turns out you are marvellous.
Don’t lose touch with your good friends! It is worth the effort to keep in touch with them. You have a tendency to get so involved in your relationships that you forget about your friends. Over the next ten years you will meet new amazing friends, and you will sadly lose some through silly arguments. Just remember that a good friend should make you feel good about yourself. Above all, cherish the time you have with your friends. You will sadly learn that this time isn’t forever when you lose a beautiful friend in a tragedy.
Wow – where to start?! You always vowed you would never become a music teacher – well I hate to disappoint you but guess what?! You do! And you keep on doing your music in your spare time. You start to realise what a work-life balance is, and that it isn’t really balanced at all. You will know real stress – not just exam pressure, but real, sickening, panicky stress. You will know the feeling of failure for the first time, and it will eat you up for a year. Again, this is because you too easily believe what others make you feel. You will learn (the hard way!) that no-one is irreplaceable when something you worked hard on for many years is suddenly gone. This loss will hurt you deeply but you’ll soon realise that you can put a value on yourself and that you are well worth it.
Right now you are slim and beautiful. You don’t feel it I know – but believe me you are! And from not valuing yourself, and believing others who put you down, you won’t feel like you are worth looking after. You won’t feel like you deserve to eat healthily or exercise, as you think – what’s the point? I’m already fat. But this isn’t the case, and I do wish you’d realised this now. It would save you a lot of unhappiness.
The truth is Lucy, that there are many things I could warn you about now to try and prevent the hurt and upset in the next 10 years – and there are times of real sadness – but I really don’t think that you would lead your life any other way. You are bubbly, lively and bright. In the next 10 years you will go through crises in confidence, terrible unhappiness, and difficulties, but you will come out of the other side stronger than before, and although again bubbly, lively and bright, you will be somehow changed.
Live your life as you want – you deserve to be happy.
What would you say to your 18 year old self?