Dear 20-year-old me,
You are probably in London somewhere, and as you are almost definitely by yourself, I should have your full attention. It’ll only take a second or two, you can go back to that dreadful book you are no doubt reading in a minute. So, can you please stop rolling your eyes, I just want to let you know the earth shattering news that you WILL be ok. Ok?
The degree you are sweating about right now won’t open the doors you think it will, so stop worrying about it. In fact, use that time in the library to start your own really bad novel, it will give you something to dust down and straighten up when you are knocking about a house in ten years time with nothing to do (no, you’re not published yet, so get on with it).
Keep up your diary, you can be really pretentious and its hilarious to read back. But do me a favour, for every page you write about someone else, write ten things about yourself. You don’t half bang on about folk you won’t even know in a year or so. Get all your own nonsense out of your system, lay it out in front of you and use the bits you like to build a bolder, brighter you.
Folk will crash in and out of your life like waves. Some will fill your heart with all sorts of joy and pain but you will realise, not all of them deserved your time. I don’t blame you, how could you know?
Others you were only meant to glimpse on their way to greatness. Wish them the best, don’t get jealous – it is so pointless.
People will drift away for myriad reasons, but be assured, those that stand around you in ten years time are a gloriously mixed bag of the bonkers and the brilliant. They all think you’re pretty ok and have your back. Love will pour in from all kinds of unexpected directions, lap it up and don’t question it.
You won’t feel this alone again (well, not when you hit 30, I can’t guarantee anything after that).
You will also be so glad you made the effort to go home each weekend so suck it up for now.
Don’t bother drinking every time you go out – it actually doesn’t give you anything interesting to say and will seem more of a waste of energy with every passing year. So why not put the money in a tin and buy, oh I don’t know, a house or something instead.
Everyone takes endless photos of themselves these days, so when you held your first digital camera
up to yourself over and over again, you were actually being a narcissist before it was cool.
To answer the lame debate you are having all the time, yes you would pose nearly nude for an artist and yes it is different to getting them out on Page 3.
You won’t really wear lipstick that much, the only one you like comes from one of the cheapest brands, so just buy lots and lots of it for me (they will stop making it around 2010)!
Just decide, right now, if you want blonde hair or red hair, and PAY someone to do it for you.
Only keep the clothes that you wear and love, having a wall full of dresses with the tags still on doesn’t say anything about your personality, other than you’re wasteful.
The same goes for books – you won’t DIE if you give some away, they go into you and stay there shelved forever, you don’t need to surround yourself with the evidence of a hundred broken spines for people to know you are intelligent.
You should stop caring what people think of you at all really, find a certain quote from David Foster Wallace as soon as you can.
But the best bit is this, in 2014 you will be able to say: “I am a 31 year old woman, exactly where I’m meant to be with the people I am meant to be there with. I am a 31 year old woman and I am dressed as a fox.”
You’ll have to wait to find out why.
Just don’t stop writing, that was kind of dumb of you.
Hannah is a blogger and ex-Children’s Bookseller who spent her early life pottering about in various areas of the south of England. Having spent a few years in Glasgow collecting some marvelous friends, she now lives in Aberdeen with the best one she found.