This week my old classmates and I got together to celebrate our ten year reunion. There is nothing like such a milestone to make you sit back and think over your life... about things that you are proud of, things that you have achieved, things that you regret and the people that you have lost along the way. 10 years is a very long time and yet it flew by in the blink of an eye.
Do I have any regrets? Maybe a few, but those regrets and mistakes have moulded me into the person that I am today, so whilst I would turn back the hands of time in a heart beat, put on my blue uniform and land into maths class (20mins late as per usual) life just doesn't work like that. We grow up, things change and life goes on but there we all were, 10 years later... as if in a time warp and nothing had ever changed.
Some are now married, some have babies of their own, some are in their dream careers exactly as they had wished and some are still finding their way. Many absent friends spent Christmas over seas from America to Australia and everywhere in between and some had never left our little town. All had grown up into fine "young" adults (the word young is to make me feel better, the quotation marks are to make it more realistic lol) and the cliques of the school yard had all but disappeared. I had conversations with people whom I had never spoken to in school and caught up with some very old friends with whom nothing but life had torn us apart.
I spent a long time reminiscing with my very first friend. At four years of age we met for the first time and remained inseparable to the point of being mistaken for one another... Time and circumstance caused us to drift apart but that one night reverted us to the childhood pals we had once been. I left that evening with a sense of fulfilment, those adolescent insecurities had vanished, many teenage dreams had either come true or changed their paths and there we were... all grown up, together and happy. I began to wonder... if I could talk to my 18 year old self, what would I say? Would I advise myself to do anything differently? to change my direction in any way? And so I began to write... a letter to my 18 year old self.
10 years have past since we have seen each other... You are now 28... the age by which you thought that you would have it all figured out. You planned to be married, have a child, a house... You thought 28 was old... long in the distance and yet here it is, in the blink of an eye and you still feel like that teenager with the big dreams, 28 is not old but it is definitely older... and here is an insight into what you will learn along the way.
A lot has changed for you over the past ten years. You are not a famous actress as you had once hoped, but you have taught many children to express themselves through the medium of acting. You have helped them to grow in confidence and to find themselves and for that, you will be proud.
When teachers tell you not to study drama, do not let that get you down or consider changing paths, that is what is meant for you! You will have three of the best years of your life at university and meet some friends for life. You will mould a career that you will be proud of and whilst it will eventually change direction, you will love every second of it.
School yard cliques and fitting in are not the most important thing in the world. If girls talk behind your back, don't cry or get down, laugh it off and realise that some day those hurtful words will be a funny memory. You never follow the crowd and whilst at school that may not be the cool thing to do, at 28 you will be glad to have those strong qualities and they will come to be revered rather than ridiculed.
You have a dream in the back of your head, to work in fashion, to be a designer, to own your own boutique... don't ever let go of that dream because one day it will be at your fingertips... ready to explode in a way you had always hoped. Don't fear hard work... work for what you want and don't let anything or anyone stop you from achieving your dreams. They are there and whilst you may put them to the back of your mind for a few years, don't ever let them vanish because one day you will be right where you want to be...
Don't fear setting up a blog... it will bring you some of the most incredible opportunities that you have ever had in your life. Do not let worry of judgement hold you back. Do it and be judged because the judgements won't be quite as harsh as you worried they would be...
Treasure every second with family and friends, some friends won't make the cut, some will let you down along the way and some will be there at the end of the phone no matter what time of the day or night. Don't panic about not having many as the few you have are everything you need.
Do not be afraid to fall in love, do not be afraid to lose a love, because life will go on and you will love again. Your experiences will mould you and every heartbreak is now a lesson. You will learn what you want in life and you will find it right when you are least expecting to... embrace it and enjoy it! Its not quite the scary thing you had envisioned.
Do not let life turn you sour, hold on to that childish hope and excitement as having that in your 29th year will keep pushing you to achieve your goals. If one door closes another will open, and if ten doors close, knock on the eleventh... something wonderful will be waiting for you there.
Live your life the way you wish to. Stick to your guns and follow your gut instinct. It is very rarely wrong and on that note, whilst you believe that you yourself are very rarely wrong, it is sometimes ok to admit it, be humble and say sorry.
Your biggest fear in life will happen in 2014, you will lose one of the people you are closest to in the world, but believe it or not, you will survive and smile again. Do me a favour, stop mourning her loss long before she goes, stop crying into your pillow dreading the day it happens and enjoy every second that it hasn't... trust me, it will be gone too soon and the real mourning is coming quicker than you imagine. Enjoy the innocence of never having lost... because life and loss will strike before you ever see it coming.
Stop wishing your life away, stop waiting for the weekend, the summer, Christmas, stop dreaming of tomorrow and let go of guilt from the past. Today is all you have. One day your "today" will be ten years later, ten summers, ten Christmases and here you will be, thinking, reminiscing and still dreaming of the next ten. Take time to appreciate every day because one day, someday will be today, then yesterday and then nothing but a memory... life is what you make it, be strong, be true to yourself and you will never go too far wrong. I promise!
Love Nicola xx