As I reach 25 I seem to be reflecting a lot on what I have achieved in this time and look forward to where I plan to be in my next 25 years.
If I had the chance what would I say to a younger me? Where do I even start? I think the younger me that I would want to speak to most is 16 year old me.
Dear 16 year old Jennifer
First thing’s first you are not fat! You think mum is saying you’re not because she’s your mum, well you’re wrong. Just because you have friends that will always be absolutely tiny does not make you fat by comparison. At 25 you realise that focusing on that is a waste of energy and although I should probably be telling you more important things in this letter, you knowing this is extremely important at this time in your life. By all means use your thinking as motivation to make yourself healthier but stop being so hard on yourself. You’ll be in Florida next year and trust me your summer clothes look nice on!
Ok now that is out the way, I also want to tell you to prepare yourself for leaving school in a around 2 years. You’ll struggle when you get home that day but I promise college and university are not as scary as you think they are. Your friendships will change drastically but all I would tell you to do is keep your head when they do. You’re going to get upset with your best friend and it won’t end the way you would like it to but again it’s amazing how accepting you become of change regarding your friends as you get older.
Speaking of friends, over the next year you and Ross are going to become absolute best friends and it is going to mess with your head a little as people begin saying there’s more to the two of you than you’re letting on. It’s partly true but it’s none of their business! He will become your partner in crime and become the person you trust most in the world (except mum). Even though things do not end the way you planned, in fact I hate to tell you that the relationship ended well but 2 months later everything blows up and even as I write this I’m not sure where we’ll end up with that but know your worth because nobody should ever speak to you the way he did on that certain day. You made mistakes too but remember your worth and do not compromise that for anyone because all you’ll do is look back and feel like you don’t recognise yourself.
Right now you don’t believe mum when she says you’ll make more friends as you get older and that’s ok but honestly trust her because you are going to start working with the best team out there. Some of them come and go and more amazing people will also join the team while you’re there but I swear they become like a second family to you. You left that team after 4 years and as I’m writing this to you that was almost 2 years ago but you still have the best relationship with them.
Right now you care too much about what people think of you and I’m afraid that even at 24 going on 25 you still do but you’re getting better at it. You will realise that those that truly matter will actually always have your back and that in the end all they want is for you to be happy.
Tell mum and dad you love them, or at least try not to argue with mum as much because by the time you reach 20 you’ll be hit with the realisation that she is literally your favourite person. Your family will soon become your main priority and yes that means you will even get on with Lee (and his wife, ye I know someone actually wanted to marry him! Funnily enough it’s the same girl he went out with on your 16th!) Don’t forget about your friends but try to rely less on them because it would save you a lot of heartache that you will get over in time.
University is not the be all and end all and you will get there but not before some tough obstacles. These make you more capable but you do question your choice in your final year at uni but you gain a genuine best friend this same year that helps you through. You’ll panic about missing two weeks of it to go to Florida but I promise everything works out. You will surprise yourself with how much you actually enjoy some of the changes in life. You’ll gain so much confidence in yourself that even mum and dad will be surprised when they walk past you at work.
Honestly I just wish you would learn to loosen up a little because wow does time start to pass you quickly. Right now 21 seems ages away but I swear it creeps up on you before you have time to blink. Enjoy the moment and don’t be afraid to try new experiences because it’ll all be worth it.
You’ll get there Jennifer, just keep your head and you’ll be surprised with how much you enjoy life even though it’s nothing like you pictured.
Lots of love
24 year old Jennifer