Day 20. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing?
I smile wryly at this prompt. First because I've been told - how many times? - that the word 'should' is unhelpful and to eliminate it from my thinking. Secondly, because all I really need to do if refer to my blog post 2010 in Review.
I rest my case.
Dear Me aged 34,
Hi! It's me! You, that is! Aged 39. I know that you're just crazy enough to believe me, so let's skip right past all the pondering how this could possibly have happened and get on with it. Now, I know it's obvious, but I need to point out first that I can't actually tell you anything, because it would interfere with the space-time continuum. So you may wonder why I'm even bothering to write to you.
I remember you had a feeling that a lot would happen in 2011. It was going to be a big year, with a lot of changes. Well, you were right. But don't worry. Remember what Wayne always says? "Things never turn out how you think they're going to - but they always turn out better."
I want to tell you that everything's going to be all right. Not just all right. All Right. Honestly. It really is. Take a deep breath and let that warm feeling of peace spread inside you.
I love you.
See you in five years!
Me/You, aged 39.
Dear Me, aged 24,
Hi! It's me! You, that is! Aged 34. I know that you're just crazy enough to believe me, so let's skip right past all the pondering how this could possibly have happened and get on with it.
I know you'll laugh when you see this letter. We're always having fantasies about going back in time. When the people there ask what the future is like, we always get mad and tell them that we can't interfere with the space-time continuum! I'm going to make an exception today because you're so special.
Dearest, so much is going to happen to you that's wonderful. Even though you don't realise it now, you really are the luckiest person. Life won't be perfect. Bad things will still happen to you. But they won't be very bad things, and you'll bounce back from all of them. In fact, you'll learn some valuable lessons. You won't believe me at the time they happen, but from 10 years' distance, you'll realise it's true. Trust me, I know.
For example, I could tell you not to take that job. It's true, you'll be treated badly and you'll be miserable. You'll be underpaid and overworked and so tired and confused. But it will make you strong. You'll learn so much about the professional world, about people and what they'll put up with when they're too scared or not confident enough to ask for what they're entitled to. You'll stand up for yourself. You'll be brave and quit. Far from jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, as you're always so scared of doing, you'll fall on your feet. And you'll learn so much about yourself in the process. I can't say yet how the whole thing will pan out in the long run (I'm only 10 years older than you, after all!), but it'll be worth it.
There's so much more that I can't go into now, but let me tell you this: the most important thing to remember is that everything's going to be OK. You're strong. I know you and I often don't feel that way. That's only because we are unbelievably lucky that our strength isn't tested that often. But believe me - you can handle anything.
I love you.
Me/You, aged 34.