I grew up in Chichester, West Sussex. Caught between the hills and the sea, it’s a small city with a striking cathedral.
I haven’t lived there since I was 18 and as a teenager I thought it was a beautiful place but very, very boring. I spent my allowance on the train fare to Brighton and spent idle dreams on the freedom I would have when adulthood finally arrived.
I am currently in the middle of a whirlwind of organising, planning, sorting and finalising as the dude and I are approaching our wedding day. I’m returning home to Chichester to get married, and recently I’ve started to think about that impatient teenager who so desperately wanted to get away from childhood and get on with her life. So, I’ve written a letter which I would love to be able to give to my fifteen year old self:
Firstly, chill the f**k out. Secondly, being an adult is definitely as brilliant as you imagine it will be but don’t rush it. Your constant seeking and searching means that you are missing out on what you have right now and it won’t get you where you want to be any quicker.
It would be great if you could turn off the TV and actually just do your homework. Seriously, it will make you feel so much better about yourself. Stop daydreaming, being in your head isn’t doing you any good. It’s ok to give things a go, join in, take part, say yes, take risks. Open yourself up to the unexpected. Relax and go to all the parties. You will meet a boy soon who will love you for a long time, so ignore all the others, they aren’t worth your tears. Never feel bad about speaking up, but remember to listen to others.
Stop being an intellectual snob. It’s just tedious and literally gets you nowhere. Let people see your fun side, your ‘intelligence’ is a small part of your whole and when you are in the workplace no one will give a s**t about your interpretation of…anything. They’ll want your skills and your competence, for a while you will feel your ‘career’ is not as cerebral as you want it to be. Get over yourself and work harder.
Up until your mid-twenties you will think that you have it all sussed. You don’t. You probably never will. You work things out and things are great for a while, and then you have to work something else out and things go better for a while. And so on. Things are always better than you allow yourself to believe them to be, make the effort to trust that things are good. It’s a choice that you have to make.
Know your values. Stick to them. Be brave. Change is not something to fear.
Take better care of yourself. You need to eat more. You need to start running because you find out that you love running and not for getting skinny, you enjoy it for the feeling. It’s good for your head. Don’t light that cigarette in 2002, there’s no point. Moisturise. Drink more water. Sort your eyebrows out. Floss. Spend less money on cheap clothes, and save up for decent ones instead. Never, ever stop wearing glitter on your face. Wear high heels as often as you can. Dance. Sing. Muck about.
Be a much better friend. Appreciate the people in your life, be generous and show gratitude. Be open to people.
When your heart breaks, know that grief always takes longer to heal from than you might think but that you will heal from it. When you meet a good man, trust that he is a good man. And marry him.
Definitely get that tattoo when you are 28.