A Letter to my 21 year old self!

me at 21 years old

You may remember I wrote a similar letter on my previous blog, before the big meltdown of 2017.  I’m doing it again!

I thought I would revisit this letter writing format because I find it quite cathartic.  Whilst one of the many reasons I deleted my previous blog was that I felt a bit over exposed, but I still enjoying blogging from a personal view.  The other thing is that as I get older I can see how silly and petty some of the drama was in my younger years.  I felt quite inhibited the last time I blogged about specific people, really worrying about what they may think.  I’m over that and it’s not that I don’t care if I offend them, of course I do.  It’s just sometimes we go through life assuming something is one way, but when given another point of view we can see that something differently.  I’m not naming people, if they suspect that I’ve written about them, they can ask me 😉 If they decide they can no longer be my friend, then that’s their choice.

Dear Michelle, 

It’s June 1991 for you. I can’t really remember what exactly was going on in your life at that moment, only the bigger things.  I do know that at this point you were starting to feel pretty rubbish about life in general.  You’d already had a few jobs that you didn’t like, some life circumstances were not ideal and essentially you were having a bit of an existential crisis. Not that we knew what one of them was!  I’m writing this letter to you because I think right now I probably need reminding about the road we’ve travelled so far.  It’s hard to put into words really, it’s not that my life is in the same or remotely similar place as it is now for you, but those crippling self doubts are still very much the same. 

I wish could travel back 26 years and come face to face with you right now.  Right now you see yourself as a small town girl, with not many opportunities but lots of big impossible dreams.  I wish I could tell you how to follow those dreams, to stop listening to people whose approval you seek.  Live the life you want, not the life others think you should be living.  You have one life, you need to live it exactly the way you want.  

You’ve bounced around in a few relationships since the breakup of your first proper relationship.  They’ve all been pretty rubbish in one way or another.  None of them make you laugh quite as much, some of them don’t treat you very well, you don’t treat some of them very well, some of them are toxic and the one you really want is still out of reach.  Don’t worry though, in 26 years time you won’t even remember most of their names!

I wish I could tell you to be more honest, to say the things that scare you most to the people who mean the most.  Especially that one person.  But you never do and you live the rest of your life with the biggest “what if?”  Of course every single person that walks the planet has a “what if” in their life, it might just be one less for us.  The biggest thing is that we don’t even know if those people had any idea just how you felt about them.  I could name two or three people who I honestly don’t believe had any idea just how important they were in your life at that time.  That’s not to take away from any of the great relationships you have in your life right now, but I guess this is number 1 on our Greatest Regrets of All Time list! 

Following on from above, fix those relationships that are failing right now!  Time does not always heal old wounds, and when in 20 years time you try to fix some of these relationships, it won’t be the same.  Too much time and distance will have passed.  To quote a song they’ll be just “somebody that I used to know.”  Believe me, it will hurt just as much as it’s hurting now.   If you don’t we’ll end up missing those people so much 25 years later and they’ll be yet another regret on our long list. 

Take better care of yourself.  Both mentally and physically.  Get back into the routine of exercise because honestly, it’s no fun when you are trying to get back into exercise after years of not doing it! Most of all look after your mental health.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride both in the very near future and then later on.  What you feel in a quiet moment now, is nothing compared to what you eventually feel.  They do get less, I just feel had we tackled that unexplained sad feeling that you have now, we would have avoided some of the terrible low times you have in the next 20 years. 

Don’t be so quick to believe what people are telling you.  It’s a lesson that takes us a little while to learn, but not everyone has your best interests at heart.  Some people have their own agendas.  

There is so much more I could say to you.  I know the pain that you will feel from September 1991 is almost unbearable, and that you will feel as if you can’t breathe and I know that we try to find a drastic way out of it.  I can assure you though, it will fade to just a memory eventually.   All of it will.  What happened a few months ago and what is about to happen.  I wish I could tell you that it’s not the answer, but you have to learn that for yourself.  If it hadn’t happened, then we’ll never end up in London and we’ll never qualify as a nurse.  We have some very good times in London as well, something that definitely isn’t on our regret list!  Well maybe a few hangovers and few of the people we got up close and personal with (if you know what I mean) but ultimately when you move to London just after Christmas it will be the best thing you ever do! 

Finally, don’t stop writing!  I think it was about now we stopped writing in a diary every day.  It all felt so rubbish that we couldn’t think of the words to say, and by now we were starting to have some pretty dark thoughts.  You will pick up writing again much later in life, but you’ll be plagued with doubts that you are any good.  Oh and that bloody novel that you start writing one night when you were pretending to be a responsible student nurse, finish it!  Otherwise you’ll still be writing it 26 years later! 

I lied there is one more thing!  Travel more.  You’ll be given two opportunities towards the end of your training, consider them!  Both are going to end up on your regret list (are you getting the message that our regret list is long and plentiful?!) In the end though it does all work out, mostly.  We get married, we have children, we get fat, life is mostly good!  And don’t forget, love and respect yourself always.  

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