A letter to myself at twenty-one

Some words to follow this letter to my teenage self, written in 2016.

Hello there,

It’s been a while. You’re probably in your room in Oxford, getting used to the rumble of buses and your first full-time job. I’m proud of you for making it through this summer. You’ll be reassured to know that the months surrounding coeliac diagnosis will come to feel like a small pocket of time when you look back.

Right now you’re eager to move on and find your feet again. It’s going to mean ending a relationship that can’t go much further. You’ve realised you need a moment (well, six to nine months) to reimagine a future for yourself.

The next few years will involve a lot of change for the better. You’ll get a promotion, move home, move out, work in Brighton, finish your Master’s degree and take on a bigger job in a bigger organisation. Oh, and you’ll meet your husband. Building a life with him makes you happiest. I might save you some time by saying that none of the American essays about “having it all” have the answer. Keep going and see what feels right.

Friendships will evolve. Some will seem short-lived while others will solidify or come back into the picture. You really do have lovely people in your life, family included. Together you’ll remember the ones missing at the dinner table and the dog no longer resting his head on your feet underneath it.

I’m sorry to say that world events are still scary here in 2019. Try to keep up with the issues and do what you can locally. We’ve got a planet to look after.

I know there’s a lot you’re hoping for, and it feels good to be hopeful. Be sensible and pragmatic, but let yourself dream. You’ll step up to meet whatever comes next.

With love,