You are 18 right now and probably sitting in your trackies stressing about uni work and when you are next going to get to see your long distance boyfriend. As much as you feel like you don’t, you really do have a lot going for you. You’re young with years spread out in front of you waiting for you to run around filling them up, you have some pretty great friends, you know what it is to love and be loved in return, you’re getting a degree, your family are pretty kick ass and you can do anything you want to do.
Regardless of all of these things, I haven’t come here today to tell you about how great you are (even though you are, and the sooner you wake up and realise this, the sooner you are going to start enjoying your life). Today I’ve come to talk to you about something that is going to change your life at some point in the not so distant future. You see all of those National Geographic’s sitting on your desk that you like to look through and imagine you are in those places yourself? Well what if I told you that one day you are going to stop dreaming about them and you are actually going to go. I can just imagine your reaction as you read these words. Drinking a cup of tea and rolling your eyes over the sheer ridiculousness of a life outside of England, away from your boyfriend and not pursuing a safe career.
It makes me so angry thinking about your safe little bubble that is going to pop at any minute. You are sitting there waiting for your boyfriend to finally tell you what dates he can get off of work to go on a trip with you, because god forbid you plan anything on your own. Well I’ll tell you what Lizzie – he is not going to tell you when he is free, and you are not going to go to any of the places that you always talk about together – that you spend your evening’s googling. He’s then going to promise you that you are going to go somewhere else amazing together as soon as he’s saved up enough money – but he never will. You are then going to keep repeating this same mistake and then you are finally going to leave university having never seen any of the places that you wanted to spend your holidays and your student loan seeing. No, instead you are going to see London. London and Cornwall where you study. You are going to spend all of your terms and all of your holidays working and the most you are going to explore is the woods where you take your dog for a walk.
I’m excited for you though… it’s going to take you two heart breaks before you find yourself working in Madrid for the Summer. You’re going to be surrounded by a bunch of loveable idiots who you’ve met over there as you sit by the pool drinking beer and you will wonder why the hell you hadn’t upped and done this on your own sooner? Because you are a big, fat moron. That’s why.
I can’t wait for you to stop being such a scaredy cat and go and explore Europe. You’re going to au pair and you are going to teach. You are going to drink far more than can be good for you and you’re going to go on all the trips. The most important thing that travel is going to give you is life. You are going to finally start living yourself, rather than fantasising about all of the things that you could do. Once you’ve been round the mill a bit and are looking at what trip to take next and where you are going to work to pay for it all you are going to realise your own self-worth and jack everything off to write. Sure, future you might currently be a little bit skint but it is going to work out and you are going to do what it is that you love doing. You are going to travel and you are going to write. I would absolutely love to see your face right now as you read these words you closed-minded little thing.
So here’s some things that I want you to start doing immediately.
- Stop judging yourself so harshly. There is always going to be someone cooler, smarter and more awesome than you. But people like you as you are so try to see yourself through their eyes.
- Book a goddamn flight. Where? Anywhere. Just go on a trip on your own and then see how scared you still are about life on your own after that.
- Write every day. Nobody has to read the things you write, but you are a good writer so start believing it and start practising it.
- Stop sitting there waiting for your boyfriend to call you back and leave your room for an actual face to face conversation with some of the people who will soon become your life.
- I mean it, go and socialise.
- Have more fun, you take things far too seriously.
- Learn to love yourself
- Say yes to all of the exciting things that people are going to invite you to.
- But know that it is also okay to say no sometimes too…
- Keep being you.
You are in for such a huge, exciting adventure and I just wanted to remind you to keep on smiling through all of the bad because the dreams that you don’t even know that you have yet are all going to come true.
Love future Lizzie.