A year ago, I wrote a letter to myself. That’s a kind of weird thing to do, I know, but my life was changing drastically and I guess I thought it would be nice to get a year down the line and look back at how far I’d come.
Of course life is full of downs as well as ups, and so writing this post really tugged at my heart strings. How do you tell your younger, less world weary self that she’s going to suffer the heartache of a miscarriage or the stress and worry of leaving full time employment? You don’t of course. You remind her she’s fucking awesome and hope that’s enough to see her through…
Dear Pols (aged 33 and just-over-a-half),
Well, here we are! Time has flown since you sat where I’m sitting now, and wrote to the person I am today. I still haven’t figured out this whole ‘writing to yourself’ thing, but I’m just going to roll with it. As you suspected, I’m still sitting in the same place (on a different chair at a different desk, but let’s not get caught up in the detail!) looking out at the same garden. That’s about all that turned out as you expected it would, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Of course, the children aren’t playing out in the garden as they were when you wrote to me; they’re bigger and bolder and have gone off on an adventure with their bikes!
What. A. Year. We always knew it was going to be a cracker, but it’s safe to say it didn’t take any prisoners! It would be unfair of me to spoil the joy of discovering how life is going to unfold, so I’m not going to give too much away. Also, if I tell you what’s ahead then you won’t do the thing you’re really good at. You know, that thing where you just follow your heart and trust your instincts. Of course not all decisions are ‘heart’ decisions… Sometimes your head demands a say and you have to at least listen to its point of view. All I’ll say is that whichever one you decide to follow, if it doesn’t eventually settle and start to sit comfortably (and it’s still niggling away at you when you’re doing important stuff like making cakes) then maybe you should go back and revisit it. Trust me; I’m saving you MONTHS here!
Some things are going to hurt, Pol. Some things really hurt and you might wonder if they will ever stop hurting. I can’t give you an answer to that, because I haven’t found it yet. All I know is that somehow, anyhow, you just have to keep going and hope that it does get better. Some things, once lost, are irreplaceable but they’re also unforgettable and you should keep hold of those thoughts. It’s tempting to keep looking for a reason why some things happen, but sometimes there is no reason. Not one that you’ll ever find, or that will make sense, anyway. I’m aching to tell you not to even try some things, but that flies in the face of my advice to follow your heart and do what feels right. If following your heart goes wrong, look for the lessons. Learn from the strength you found and yet didn’t know you had. Take it, use it, and be proud of it. Let yourself feel the emotions, even the most extreme ones, and remember that they make up the multi-coloured, multifaceted collage of characteristics that make your personality your own. When it’s difficult, remember that love always wins. Always. Someone really special will remind you of that just as you really need to hear it.
I think it’s fair to say there’s a lot of change coming. Change is good, Pauline, even when it doesn’t feel that way at the time. The trick to dealing with change will be to allow yourself to feel resistance to it if that’s what you instinctively feel. It’s okay to do that, and recognising how you feel is going to be absolutely key to dealing with what these changes will bring with them. You’re going on a journey: It’s a long one, and the path isn’t particularly smooth. Brace yourself, but for heaven’s sake don’t wear sensible shoes because if you’re going to win a battle I want you to win it in style! The nice thing about change and challenges is that when you survive them, you get the satisfaction of knowing you made it. You get to look back at how far you’ve come, and be really bloody proud that you took the first step on what looked like an impossible journey.
It’s not all heavy stuff, though. The next twelve months won’t all be soul searching, huge decisions and life-changing transformations. You’re going to go to some really cool places and do some really awesome things. I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice to say I’m my own boss now and that’s awesome. Granted my car is a bit rustier than that flash thing you drive, and working alone means the Christmas party is pretty pants, but the freedom and possibilities are endless. Also I’m sporting some bling, baby! I’m not suggesting you jump the gun and sign up to Bridezillas R’ Us or anything, but I would advise keeping your nails nicely manicured and photo-ready, just in case…
I won’t keep you, because you’ve got twelve months of non-stop living to do, but before I go I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the self-belief you started trying to build 52 weeks ago. I’m a happier, more confident version of myself because of that and I’ve learned to love and value myself just as I am. I didn’t become like this all on my own; I got here with the love and support of the truly wonderful friends that were there supporting you when you wrote to me last, and I’ll treasure them forever.
Now, buckle up, take a deep breath, and enjoy every second of this wild ride!
With much love,
Pols (aged 34 and just-over-a-half)