I have been listening to Radio 1 a lot lately and Scott Mills has a segment whereby people write an open-letter to their 10-year-old self. It got me thinking about what I would say to my 10-year-old self if I could go back and so I thought I’d share those thoughts here.
An Open-Letter to Myself
At the time of reading this, it is 2006/7 and you are 10-years-old. The next 14 years will be a little wild but let me fill you in.
Your parents are about to get married in Mauritius, it is very exciting but please don’t sulk the whole day in the wedding photos. Try to make the most of these times together as a family because in a few years that will change. It will be hard, break your heart and turn your world upside down, so just appreciate what you have together.
You are in Year 6 at Primary School and whilst your friendships are not always easy, you are bumbling along without much trouble. Art is your thing and people are not always kind about it. Yes, you may be the teacher’s pet but that isn’t always a bad thing. However, in September you will start Secondary School with just three others that you know. One of those will still be your best friend as an adult, so hold onto her even if you are not each other’s biggest cheerleaders right now.
Secondary well, it is an interesting time. You start off pretty happy, slot nicely into a friendship group and become a bit of a class clown at times. You’ll spend double-science swapping chairs with the person beside you (he is a terrible influence, don’t fall for his charm) and most days you will be sent to referral for wearing the incorrect uniform. I know that you will struggle to understand why you cannot wear black ugg boots to school, but you will never win the argument so just get Mum to write an endless supply of notes or stick to your school shoes.
2010 will be really hard. You should enjoy your 14th birthday with all your friends and family around. You are the happiest you have ever been and life is pretty simple for now. Sing Take That at the top of your lungs on Singstar and share your High School Musical obsession with the world, no one really cares. Come May, your heart will be broken and your trust destroyed, he will leave and move on somewhere new. Try not to let the hate override everything else, one day you will learn to accept it but the journey will be incredibly difficult. Hold those you love close – they will make it easier.
However, August will be brighter as One Direction will become a thing. You’ll make some fantastic friends through this band (one of which you will never be without), have some phenomenal opportunities and spend the next 10+ years talking about them. You’ll wish you could thank them personally and in a few years, you will get that exact moment.
By 2011-2012, you probably won’t be enjoying Secondary school as much as you once did – it will be lonely, you will temporarily give up and stop attending for a while. However, your Maths teacher will change your life. She will believe in you so please be kind to her. She will be the reason you become a teacher. Work hard and smile more as soon it will all be over.
Not to give you too many spoilers, but you get an A in Maths on GCSE Results Day after you were predicted to fail and you will never have the words to thank that teacher enough (even as an adult). It isn’t all bad though, from your first kiss in a cubicle at the local swimming pool to spending the entire summer with your friends living at your house. You will also visit Uganda for charity and this will transform you as a person forever.
Then comes College, these will be amongst the best two years of your life. You will learn a lot about yourself but it won’t always be pretty. You will meet your first proper boyfriend pretty quickly, it won’t work out but you will still be friends as adults. You’ll have your appendix taken out and miss your own 17th birthday party, but you will make up for it at a later date. As for your friends, you will love them all dearly however you will soon go your separate ways and that is okay.
Once you have recovered from the appendix operation, you will go to your first music festival and break your finger (you don’t do anything in half measures though and you will go onto have 3 operations, including a joint replacement). It will remain a talking point for the rest of your life! If only you had avoided that tent peg…
You will sit your mock exams, these will be your predicted grades for University and in all honesty, you could have tried a bit harder but do not worry about it too much. Your college tutors will tell you not to apply for five Russell Group universities, you did the right thing in ignoring them. Come results day, it will be very disappointing but fear not, despite you hassling LSE and UCL daily for six weeks, LSE will accept you anyway.
The first year of University will be not what you expected, you’ll get really unwell before going and end up in hospital then three days in, you’ll end up coming back to Cornwall to recover. You will set up your blog which will lead to some pretty unique opportunities including working for 02 and a film crew in London for the day, an award-nominated project for Unite Students and one day you will get a phone call from your halls reception to say that Krispy Kreme have delivered you a load of doughnuts for FREE! You’ll go to the cinema with The Vamps and Bob Geldof’s daughter will buy you a coffee. It is kind of crazy.
You are diagnosed as dyslexic and dyspraxic, although this helps you to understand the world you have struggled to negotiate for the past 19 years. Be aware though, you will end up very homesick and totally lost without your family to guide you. They are there, on the other end of the phone. Oh and no eating dominoes daily is a terrible idea, even if you live opposite.
Second-year of University will be the biggest challenge of your life. You will cry a lot. At times, you will not want to be here but you must stick around as the best is yet to come. The hard work does pay off in the end and this will make you a stronger person. You are bold, brave and loved even though at times it doesn’t feel like it. Home isn’t much of a comfort either but it works out in the end. Your best friend drops off the face of the earth, it isn’t your fault – she is going through a really hard time, just make sure you are there from a distance when she is ready to return.
As for third-year, it is fantastic. You finally make some close friends, spend time drinking prosecco in the park and discover the takeaway shop around the corner that sells chips for £1 (in London, what a find)! There will be a couple of tricky months in March/April time, but everything happens for a reason and it will mean that you are not in London on the day of the extremely sad Westminster Bridge incident. You will graduate with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Social Anthropology on a boiling hot day in July and you’ll celebrate by eating far too many pancakes at The Breakfast Club in Shoreditch.
You will move in with your grandparents and spend months looking for jobs in marketing that actually want to pay you. This won’t be all that successful but you will be offered an interview in Chicago – sadly you don’t go, but you probably should have done. Instead, you will volunteer at your local Primary School for 5 days and end up staying for 8 months as a Teaching Assistant. Then in May, you will go to New York to work as a Fine Art Counsellor on a summer camp. Once more, this will be a huge challenge combined with medical problems and homesickness. However, cherish every day and dance on that table to ‘Party in the USA’ like no one is watching. Just before you leave for America, you’ll be given an offer to study at the Univerisity of Cambridge and you won’t believe your luck.
A few days after returning from Camp, you’ll begin your PGCE General Primary teaching journey in Cambridge. You will spend the entire year pinching yourself as it just doesn’t feel real. Granted in January, you will go temporarily blind whilst on placement and thus begins several months of hospital visits but fear not, it turns out to be migraines and you learn to stress a little less. Cambridge is something else – it will be the happiest you have ever been.
The job market is saturated and you will apply for lots of teaching jobs in Cornwall to no success, don’t give up as you will land yourself the perfect one shortly after the school year starts. It will be at your very own Primary School where this letter began with you in Year 6. Your dream of doing to Walt Disney World will come true in 2019– I know you will have waited your whole life for this moment.
Then comes 2020 and your New Year’s Resolution will be to ‘be more social and get out more’. Ironically, this will be quite the challenge as we did not see a global pandemic turning the world upside down in March. You will have to shield and spend many months on your own, however, it does get better. The weekly quizzes with your friends are something to look forward to. Bear, the Hamster, will be by your side. It will be the year where you achieve your dream of publishing a children’s book, not one but two. You will share these with your class to inspire them to one day become authors and illustrators. You’ll land Art Lead at school and work on some projects for them that you are really proud of. In September, you will begin your MEd at Cambridge, what a day!
Caroline Flack will pass away (you used to watch her on TMI with Sam and Mark), this will have a profound effect on you. It will serve as a constant reminder to always be kind. By the time the year closes, you will have spent around 195 days indoors hiding away from the world but it isn’t all bad. In fact, it will end with you being incredibly happy and grateful for what you have. You will learn to appreciate what you do have and that is time. Time is everything.
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Be bold, be brave, be you.
With love, Channon – aged 24 and a bit more than half.
If you were to write an open-letter to yourself, what would you say?
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