Dear 22 year old me,
Tomorrow you will turn 23. I’m writing this ten years from now, on the eve of my 33rd birthday. I’ve spent the day chasing two little girls around a garden centre, oohing and ahing over succulent plants (this is a type of plant that is very hard to kill and looks pretty on Instagram. Instagram is – oh never mind.). It was a brilliant day – the type of day you’d probably want to avoid at all costs as a 23 year old student.
Right now you are a little bit lost, as all young twenty somethings should be. You don’t really know what you want to be when you grow up, or who you want to be with. But at the tender age of nearly 23 (in just a few hours time) you really don’t need to know the answers to these questions right now, as much as you think you do.
You probably don’t think it right now, but 32 has been a great age, and I expect 33 will be even better. I expect you think 33 is old, and the thought of ever turning that age is a little scary for you. You have trouble thinking past the next uni deadline or night out, let alone what you’ll be doing ten years down the line. And, right now, if I asked you where you want to be in ten years time you’d give the stock answer you’ve learned so well to churn out on said uni course: “a successful journalist travelling the world, reporting on important issues while simultaneously holding down a meaningful relationship and – quite possibly – enjoying many more fun nights out.”
This is you right now:
You don’t know it yet, but there are many things wrong with this photo that 33 year old you would never accept: the lack of natural light, the small resolution because it was shot on a crappy phone before you’d even heard of iPhones, the fact some random bloke is waving his hand in the foreground. At the time though, right now, you think this is an awesome photo and choose to use it as your Facebook profile pic (you think you’re so cool to have Facebook – although you don’t rate it as highly as MySpace).
There are some things I want to tell you, that I think may help you through the next few years:
- Do not worry about being fat. You are not fat. You are a size 10. Sure, the size 8’s might not fit any more, but you are a grown woman with a normal body. Ten years from now you will be a size 12, about a stone and a half heavier, and probably more confident about your outfit choices and appearance than you’ve ever been. Trust me, this “fat” business has got to stop.
- You are right to work hard, but not right to fret all the time. You will pass your Post Grad that you think is currently killing you, with flying colours. You’ll get a job as a reporter at a radio station, and then another, and then another. It won’t be easy and you’ll be paid peanuts, but you’ll be (mainly) happy doing a job you love. Stop worrying about climbing the career ladder when you’ve not even graduated yet – there are careers out there right now that don’t even exist in your present day. One word: social media. Trust me.
- It’s OK not to know what you want when it comes to boys. You don’t need to plan the rest of your life right now. There is no rush. Make the mistakes you are bound to make and then get over it. Life goes on. You haven’t even met the man you end up marrying and having babies with. Stop thinking you need to know all the answers. You’re only 23!
- Continue to learn from those around you and never underestimate what someone can teach you. With youth comes arrogance, of which you have plenty. You sometimes use arrogance to hide your insecurities and anxieties. This is not an attractive trait. Stop doing that.
- Get on Twitter.
- Spend more time learning how to take photos. You’ll thank me for this later on, honest.
- You are not going to be the next Orla Guerin. But you will have a fruitful, creatively satisfying career in the medium you love. There is life after radio.
- There will come a day when your ideal Saturday night consists of wine, a good homecooked meal and Netflix. Until then, down the Sambucca shots (you will hate these in ten years time), hit that dancefloor and make the most of the life of zero responsibility that you currently lead. There’s no shame in that.
- Embrace your friendships. Some of them will last, some won’t. But you’ll learn amazing things and have fun experiences with every one of the people you currently surround yourself with.
- Get off MySpace. It’s over.
This is you now. Look at that wrinkle-free, under-eye bag-free face. You don’t know how lucky you are…
You ten years from now. x