Dear 10-year-old Katie,
I’m writing this from the year 2020. I know, it feels a long way off, doesn’t it?
You’ve just turned 38, and you and your family have just experienced your first (and hopefully last) global pandemic. Lots of people in the world died and it was a scary, confusing and disruptive time for everyone. But don’t worry, you’re OK.
Since you were little, you’ve always thought you wouldn’t want to know too much about what is going to happen in the future. I get that – it’s in case it changes that future somehow. So, to honour that wish, this letter will be intentionally vague at times. But 38-year-old you would like to impart some wisdom and give 10-year-old you some reassurance that you will hopefully carry into some of the more complicated and confusing years ahead.
So sit back, listen to Rhythm Is A Dancer and hear me out. (Yes, in 2020 it’s possible to find out which song was at number 1 in the charts on any date in history just by asking a computer – clever, hey?).
In about 4 weeks’ time, you’re off to secondary school. I KNOW adapting to change hasn’t always come easily to you. It’ll be tough going to Avonbourne without anyone you knew from primary school. But this next 5 years is going to be…let’s say “character building”. There will be times when you are convinced the entire world is out to get you. You will feel smaller than everyone. But (and this will be a theme of this letter) TRUST THE PROCESS. 38-year-old you really really believes that everything you go through leads you along the path you are meant to be on. Just try your hardest to be a good person – don’t get drawn into nastiness, even if others are being nasty to you. Trust that Mum and Dad are looking out for you and know what they’re doing. The decisions they make for you and the sacrifices they have to make to execute those decisions will be the ultimate making of you. Keep going and trust that better things are coming – THEY ARE COMING, I PROMISE.
1998 will be a big year, too. Something that happens this year will define the direction your working life will take. Do NOT be afraid to make difficult decisions. Do not be scared to go against the grain and to stray from the norm. Just because everyone else is doing something does not make it right for you. And remember, Mum and Dad will support you whatever you choose, so don’t be scared to talk things through with them. They are not the kind of parents who will make you do something you don’t want to do. I am SO EXCITED for you – this period of your life will be a wonderful blur of fun, discovery, making friends for life and finally feeling like you fit in somewhere. Soak up every single moment because when you’re 38, believe me, you’ll mourn those days at times when life isn’t so simple and full of life, late nights, work that you love and music.
Even though your early teenage years will have made you feel weak, scared and alone at times, you will continue to make brave decisions. Keep making them! You will spend your twenties doing and experiencing things that you didn’t even know existed. Take LOADS of photos, this is all stuff you will want to remember in future. I’m not going to tell you what exactly is going to happen – I want it to be a lovely surprise.
Your thirties will signify a change of pace in some ways, but keep on making those brave decisions. Some people may look upon your “whatever happens, everything will be OK” attitude as complacent and irresponsible. But, whatever happens, everything WILL be OK – in fact, your trust in the path life takes you on will be the thing that brings you the most opportunity and success. And remember, success is not necessarily a big house, shiny new cars and a job that pays loads. Sometimes what you receive in money is taken away in time, and the most precious thing you have is time. Jump at every single chance you have to spend time with the people you love. Even if that time feels tough when you’re living it, the memories will be so worth it.
Also, try not to doubt your own abilities. Loads of people will really respect you for things you know and things you can do – and you’ll find that difficult to understand at times. Even now, at 38, you catch yourself wondering why on earth anyone would ever want to pay you to do what you love. But they do, and it’s for a reason.
With the people you love beside you, you will become a 38-year-old that I hope 10-year-old you would admire and look up to for her forthright loyalty to everyone she cares about and her deep-down belief that the good stuff is coming.
The take-away message here is, just keep doing what feels right. Your intuition is second-to-none. Let go of regrets (you’re good at this anyway) and try your hardest not to care what anyone thinks of how you’re living your life.
I hope I’ve given you enough confidence to believe in yourself without giving away too much of the details of what your life has in store.
See you here in 28 years! I think you’re going to like it here.
Katie, aged 38 xxx
PS – You will find a hairdresser you trust again, don’t worry. The awful bowl cut the lady called Faye gave you when you were 7 will not haunt you forever.