To be honest, I feel a little intimidated writing to you – well, me, aged forty-six – because that definitely makes you an adult. Then again, I was writing to my fourteen-year-old self yesterday, and I’m sure she would have thought I would be an adult by now. Fourteen-year-old me feels completely separate from who I am now, but the distance between you and me feels even greater.
(That’s if we’re still alive, of course. Remember as a teenager being convinced we wouldn’t live past sixteen? Morbid child.)
Anyway, I’m not sure what to say to you, except that I hope things are still going well. I know I have all the responsibility for that! I hope we’re still working in the same place, because current me can’t imagine working anywhere else. Something would have to go really wrong for that to have changed. Or maybe you just changed your mind at some point. We do that a lot.
Of course, maybe you had to move because something else went right. In my head, the only reason I can envisage for leaving this job is that I meet someone and want to start a family back in Edinburgh. I would, of course, need an awesome rights job to go to there. I can’t see me ever being a housewife.
I’m not sure I ever see me being a wife or mother at all, to be honest. I’m not sold on the idea of kids. (You have three, don’t you? Where did that third come from? Even when I imagine futures in which I change my mind, I only have two.) I’m still too selfish. (Don’t nod along!)
The whole selfish thing doesn’t work too well in relationships either. I’m trying to get better at compromise, for your sake. I don’t mean to be patronising, because I know I’m perfectly capable of living alone for the rest of my life. I just think that even if I’m not bothered just now, if all of our friends settle down and have babies then I’m going to get a serious case of FOMO, if nothing else. (Fear of Missing Out, in case you’ve forgotten what that means.)
Are you married? I wonder who it could be. I wonder when you met. Maybe he’ll turn up tomorrow and you’ll look back on this and smile at how far away I thought he was! (Or they – I know there’s no such thing as ‘The One’. Surely you haven’t changed your mind about that? Are you going to say, ‘When you know, you just know?’ because then you are definitely not me anymore!) You didn’t change our name, did you? You know I don’t believe in that. (Unless he’s French, or has a really great surname that goes with Lauren, then it’s fine to throw those principles out the window.)
I hope I can keep up the changes I’m making this year to make sure that you didn’t get diabetes or have to suffer goodness knows what else. Does psoriasis ever go away? It’s the bane of my life! I know I haven’t treated myself well enough, but I’m hoping this is the year I can make some good habits.
There’s so much I want to ask you and to know. Some things never change – I said I would tell my younger self nothing about what’s coming so as not to spoil things for her, yet I’m still asking all these questions. I’ll stop now. Besides, this is bordering on crazy: not only am I talking to myself, I’m talking to a version of myself that doesn’t exist! (Yet.)
So I can wonder all these things, but what might my 46-year-old self want to remember about now? Well, this was the first time we felt content. It is like a kind of foundation falling into place. We got the dream job, which was more than I ever asked for. (How long before I stopped feeling grateful for that?) I like my lifestyle, though I’m sure this can only be sustained throughout my twenties, if only financially! I love the people I surround myself with. What’s going on with them? And regardless of this daydream about the future, this is the first time I have been happy to live in the present. Put quite simply, I like my life.
I hope you like what I do with the rest of it!
Lauren, aged 26