Dear 19 year old Emma,
I could do a ten year challenge photo and say how much physically we’ve changed. But on reflection, there is so much more that has changed over the years from a mental and emotional aspect. This letter is a reminder of how far you will come in ten years time, and hopefully another ten more.
At this time ten years ago…
You are in your second year of University studying Stage Management and Technical Theatre. You don’t anticipate a career change aside from teaching the subject you love. You’re currently feeling a bit helpless as you have broken your wrist from play fighting with a friend. You’re waiting to hear about your surgery to fix it. This is because for the first two-and-a-half months the doctors thought you had just sprained it. Despite this, you got on with your uni work. You also got on with productions at your part time job despite struggling to lift anything.
Your friends are those who you lived with in Marlborough House Halls, and those who were at University with you. You all got on – despite the mini dramas of who was seeing who and who really won the Saturday Soccer drinking game. But because of your friends, there was a sense of belonging that you felt safe.
You have a boyfriend who, let’s face it, you rushed into being serious VERY quickly. Enough to nearly make your mum crash her car when you texted her to say you are ‘engaged’ – sorry mum). You were both struggling that it was a long distance relationship. Sure, it worked for your parents and friends. But you are quite a needy person who enjoys face to face contact, and not text or phone calls.
Despite having a sense of belonging and at the time feeling ‘great’ – there is so much more out there. You are so far in your comfort zone that you’re too comfortable to peer out.
You’re working at a University helping those engage in their studies. But you’re also crazy enough to do a Masters at the same time! You still dabble here and there in theatre. But after teaching for a short period of time, the Students’ Union changed your perspective. Although it was not in your original plans, you realise that this has been the best career change.
Your circle of friends have changed. Some went because you all moved on and have very little contact. Others were toxic so ties were cut. The loss of a school friend brought you and the girls closer. Since then, you have since welcomed new people in your life; more friends and their own families, who you love dearly. But there are still those who you went to University with who you have always stayed in touch. That won’t change.
You’re single. Things with your boyfriend hit a halt because of the long distance. Plus there was the realisation that you actually were not ready for a serious relationship at that stage. You have had one serious relationship since, but it was a toxic and difficult relationship. Eventually you cut ties with the relationship. You have since been on some dates here and there, but you’re enjoying your freedom. Sure, you would like someone who you can curl up on the sofa with and talk about anything. But you’re not in an immediate rush. In the words of Snow White;
“One day my prince will come”
You’ve stepped out of your comfort zone – something your Stepdad has always told you to do. You have gone travelling around most of Europe, and would love to do more. Not long term – you are very much a home bird still. But you are also getting more involved in opportunities. For instance, HEY. Bloggers has allowed you to meet new people. You’ve judged a national competition. And you have become very much independent. Not to mention you have made the switch to contact lenses.
My advice to you
It feels weird to be writing about the past, but there is so much that you will learn about.
- You will learn who is there for the long haul, and who isn’t. That is not a reflection on you, but everyone has different priorities.
- Stepping out of your comfort zone will teach you so much more about yourself and what you are capable of.
- Go with your gut instinct. You may discover some things you do not want to know. But it helps you grow as a person.
- Physically you will change. You will hate your weight, your appearances and the hair. But go with what you are comfortable with. Not society.
- Finally, you should be proud of what you achieved at 19 and at 29.
What have you learnt about your #10yearchallenge? What would you say to your younger self?
Until next time,