There is a strange appeal to the idea of writing a letter to a past self, although it is difficult to explain why. We love these ideas, even make books of these letters, but the rational side of me is thinking, ‘Why are we doing this? We didn’t read this as a fourteen-year-old; we would have noticed! It’s too late to do anything with the advice!’ Are we thinking it might help others of that age? Does it comfort the side of us that never really grew up?
With a previous similar Daily Prompt about meeting your younger self, I said I wouldn’t tell her anything. No spoilers! However, I’ve been lured in by the letter-writing, and the fact that fourteen was a great age, so what would I say?
To my fourteen-year-old self,
Hi! I know this is weird, since it’s a letter from your supposed future self. There’s no reason you should believe that, although I do know that this is the year you’ve met the Pop Idol finalists on tour (and your 26-year-old self is still annoyed that Sam Nixon didn’t win), and you’re officially obsessed with that new band that’s burst on to the scene, McFly. In a time before Facebook (you’ll find out what this is soon enough), these facts could be difficult to guess, although you do have their flyer taped inside your locker.
In fact, I remember that fourteen was a great age, which might sound weird, as most people by now have difficulty distinguishing specific years from those around them. However, for me, being fourteen is wrapped up with McFly, the beginning of one of my major obsessions. I know it will be no spoiler to you to say that this love is going to LAST.
You’re at the age where you’ll beg for spoilers, but deep down you don’t really want them, so I’m going to keep this simple. I could tell you to trust your gut instincts, but I know you’ll not always do it. I could tell you ‘You’re not fat, OK?!’ but I know you won’t believe me. I could tell you to avoid x or y, but as I’ve lived it I know it’s going to happen!
I’m not going to say mistakes and mishaps are blessings in disguise, because I’m not sure I believe that myself yet. However, what I will say is this: everything you’re going to do leads me here, and for that I should really say thank you. (I guess you know you’re going to be OK.)
Don’t get me wrong – sometimes you will feel like crap, and that’s perfectly normal. (I’d argue it’s bordering on rational sometimes, given the state of the world.) Just recognise and appreciate when you’re lucky. Yes, you! You’ll probably scoff at that, but it’s like when people on Pop Idol say, ‘Things like this don’t happen to people like me!’ and you think, ‘Well, obviously they do!’ You’ll have opportunities too.
I guess a useful piece of advice would be an old Persian proverb you haven’t heard yet: ‘Go ahead and wake up your luck.’
Your 26-year-old self
She’s going to love it.