If could reach back through time and have a heart-to-heart with your twentysomething self, what would you say to her?
She’s in her twenties, that glorified period of life when she’s supposed to be discovering herself, deep in exploration, living her most defining decade. And yet.....she may feel like the exact opposite. Or exactly that. Or somewhere in between. She probably doesn't even know.
Maybe you pour her a cup of tea, look into her eyes, wrap her in a hug.
What do you tell her?
Today's letter comes from Joanna Macleod, a beautiful soul with an amazing letter. As I read this one, it felt like I really could have been reading it to myself -- she wrote just the words I needed to hear. Thank you, Joanna:
It's 1999 and you are twenty. Just newly moved to a city so far from home that for the last two months, you've called your parents in tears. Mum half wonders whether you'll give up on University and be home by Christmas. You won't be.
If there is one thing I can tell you about yourself, it's that you are strong. Strong beyond your wildest dreams and strong through your worst nightmares. You won't always believe this, the road ahead may sometimes look impossible but I can say, from where I stand, you are strong enough for everything that comes your way.
I know you feel you are not enough (oh, you really are), you feel you don't fit in (everyone feels that way and you will be fine), and you wonder how you can fulfil your potential (be truthful, faithful to your heart and try very hard to rise above fear in all its forms).
Another thing I can tell you (and I am trying to play by the rules of space time continuum here), the people you have met and will meet in this 6 month period are special. They matter greatly so cherish this beginning, it is a real starting point for lasting love and friendship.
I know that you often feel unsure of yourself and not good enough but just be open sweetheart and if there is a lesson to learn, it is kindness. Try not to give into that jealousy that holds you hostage or that rage that just takes over sometimes. Honestly, just let go a tiny bit and you'll find that things work out (I know, eye roll, how clichéd). I'm serious though, don't be a brat when you feel under attack or overlooked and cut people a little slack because they are just as unsure as you are. Grown-ups are winging it too! Importantly, be in the moment and embrace it. Keep being present to everything you are involved in; you are a triumph!
I don't want to tell you anything to dampen your spirit so I've chosen things that will hopefully give you cause to show up; for family, for friends, for fun and for yourself. Ahead of you lies a wonderful, bitter-sweet, challenging and rewarding slice of life and no matter the losses, the tears and the doubt that will come along through the years – you are perfect and your positivity only grows stronger. At your core, we're the same wild energy and it's epic! So sitting here, I contemplate what I would say if you were in front of me and have a sneaking suspicion you may not listen anyway;). If you do feel like listening however, here are some top tips!
Be kind, don't judge others too harshly
Love but don't give your heart away too easily
Watch that jealousy
Be faithful to yourself; game playing and acting the part others wish you to be only betrays yourself
Rise above fear; it does nothing to serve you
Believe in yourself
And... okay, one spoiler...
One day, for a few exciting years, you'll play in a rock band and it'll be terrifyingly amazing – but really, you knew that one already right? ;)
You always wonder whether you will matter; well, you do. Immensely. So just keep going. Enjoy the next thirteen years and I'll see you when you get here :)
Jo (age thirty three and a half)
At thirty three, Jo lives in Glasgow, Scotland and prides herself on being a mixed bag nationality of New Zealand and England with a years of Scottish living under her belt. Married to her husband Calum, lucky in friends and family she blogs about food at joannayumyum.co.uk and about life at thetreesandthestars.co.uk, works the 9-5 as a marketing manager and spends time procrastinating about developing her Swedish massage and Reiki skills.
Read past posts in the series here.
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