A letter to my 25 year old self
Reflecting and looking back to see how far I’ve come.
At 25 you were technically a woman but still a girl in so many ways. You had been through some big experiences like adoption, the death of your grandparents and you very nearly died of meningitis and were in a coma in intensive care, but you were so lucky to have had a happy childhood with your amazing and eccentric parents, Anne & Stephen.
Your childhood was an 80s haze of technicolour; memories of stargazing holidays in France and trips in the VW Beetle, the roar of the engine is still your most favourite sound. Of best friends, roller boots and horse print nighties. Of sitting on your grandparent’s kitchen counter shelling peas fresh from their garden. Of galloping across fields with the wind in your hair and the sense of freedom overwhelming you. All this led you into a confident, happy and settled teenage period, but boy were your twenties a different story.
At 25, you were bright but restless and a bit angry with the world around you, although you had no idea why. Your hair was a very questionable shade of bleach!
All you wanted to do was set up a creative business of your own but you had no idea how to do that, blogging wasn’t yet a thing. You’d absolutely loved studying communication and culture and then history of film and visual media at uni and knew you wanted to follow a writing and creative path. I don’t think you realised just how made you were for running a business back then but I’d just like to say, you displayed all the qualities that make you who you are in your life and creative work today: bold, fearless and unafraid to go for it. Or caring too much what people think.
Carving out a creative career in London meant responsibility. High rents and student loans needed paying. Instead of starting your own business you championed the Internet in a large global not-for-profit when back then getting paid to teach journalists to “write for the web” really was a thing!
I wouldn’t want you to know back then what the next few years would have in store for you, because I’m not sure you were yet equipped to cope with a future powered by turbulence and hard times. Times that were going to rock you to your core, putting you through the fastest spin cycle you could imagine. But I really believe that we are a product of our experience and these things have made you into the human you are today.
The only piece of advice I would give you now is simple. Hold tight, breathe deep and trust the process.
Just a few years down the line and you will experience the raw, heart-ripping grief as your dad dies from a heart attack the day you get back from Glastonbury and life is never going to be the same again. You have no idea to handle the tsunami of feelings that the grieving process brings or how to comfort your mum as you sit there looking at your dad’s lifeless body.
It deeply affects you. You won’t really be able to process it for a while, but you move on in your creative life and work for a big London agency. The next chapter of your life unveils itself. You are definitely not in love with what you do, it feels pretty vacuous and male-dominated but you did meet your future husband there, so it’s all happening for a reason.
Fast forward a few years and you are in York, married and a step mum and now a new mum. You always knew you would have two girls and you were right and motherhood is the biggest adventure of your life. You finally set up your own creative business, creating content for brands, and grow it pretty successfully, and you start a lifestyle blog as a creative outlet.
But your world is about to be rocked. Nothing could prepare you for the double-cancer whammy that hits hard, first with your mum being diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma, or with you being diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer soon after. That you will undertake a lot of gruelling treatment while nursing your mum through to the end of her life.
Some days you will be in the treatment room at the same time as your mum and that life is going to feel SO unfair and sad and more than a little bit unreal. You will learn what a powerful and humbling privilege it is to watch someone die, where you realise that love and memories are the fuel to our spirituality.
I can look back now and say how proud I am of you. You went through hard times, you grieve your mum and dad all the time but you dug deep and did amazing things. You came out smiling and used it to take you on a new, beautiful path. I always knew you would!
Don’t ever regret moving abroad to Spain and taking your kids out of school to travel extensively. What it costs in terms of money can never be matched by making deep, meaningful and colourful memories for you all.
You will never regret setting up your business, built on foundations of love and pure joy, because you know that every single thing you ever did led you to where you are today and you can serve and inspire others to cultivate rewarding creative lives for themselves.
I love you, xo.
What would you say to your twenty five year old self? What did you wish you had, or hadn’t known? Have you ever looked back and written a letter to yourself?
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