A letter to my younger self | Rebecca Jane column
This week I was pretty honoured to be asked back to my old college to speak with their students.
I’m pretty proud to have come full circle and back to my roots. I got to travel the world with my work, I even moved to the Lake District for a while. I finally came back to my home, and this week, I was found myself speaking in Burnley College.
The day was thought provoking and literally a journey back in time. The students really made me think. I really had no idea what path lay ahead of me when I was undertaking my BTEC in performing arts. During the panel discussion, the students asked a definitive question.
‘What would you say, if you were us now?’
I thought it was time to write a letter to my younger self…
You don’t have it ‘all figured out’ and you probably never will.
You picked performing arts at 16, because you were under pressure. Frankly, you and I both know you never believed you were capable of anything ‘proper’, you took an ‘easy way out’, you’re not academic and that’s ok. You’ll get there…when you’re ready, and if you need to.
I know your passion has always been law, but right now, you’re just not ready. Embrace this time of having fun, making friends and just ‘figuring it all out’. It’s madness that anyone said you had to pick your career path at the age of 14/15. Don’t stress because it isn’t all falling into place. It will!
Your career will unfold from your life events. Your passion is people, don’t both trying to be a techie. That’s just not your forte, learn the bare minimum to get by and forget the rest. Do what YOU do great, and don’t do anything else.
Humans will be your driver for life. Ultimately, you’ll go through a lot of heartache, pain and confusion. That will lead you into careers that enable you to deliver services and care, for times when you felt you had no where to turn.
Once you’ve ticked a few of those boxes, you’ll return to that legal passion, you’ll be ready then. You’ll understand how hard you have to work to educate yourself, and only then will you be ‘ready’.
I promise you now. All those sleepless nights you spend, wondering what you’ll do with your life and what you should be doing - you’re wasting your time! It IS going to work out.
Right now, you think you’ll be at home until you’re 30. You doubt you will ever have children and frankly, you have no idea what you’re doing.
I just wish I could tell you now what is ahead of you. If you knew what awaits you, you may enjoy it a little more.
You’ll have some incredible achievements, but your mind will be your challenge. Mental illness will come and go over the next 18 years. There will be times where you truly believe you won’t survive. You will. You just have to hang in there!
When you’re up in the middle of the night, feeding your newborn daughter. You’ll look at the night sky and think you’re the only person in the world awake, struggling through and never feeling good enough for her. You’re wrong, you’re not alone. You never are.
You are going to love. My god, are you going to love! No love you feel is ever lost, no love is ever detrimental. Even the relationships that end badly, they will teach you more than you’ll ever know. Those people will shape you, and at times they will break you. Embrace it all, no matter how hard that feels.
Life is going to change you. It will change your mindset, goals, your opportunities and who you are! Roll with it. Take every single opportunity, trust in the process, more importantly - trust your darn gut!
If it doesn’t feel right. Work at it and ultimately, don’t be afraid of ripping up the plan and throw it out of a window. You are ALWAYS capable of writing a new plan.
You won’t know everything, but you can always learn. Ask for support when needed. Don’t be afraid of starting at the beginning, no matter what age you get to.
Accept yourself, exactly as you are - but never be afraid to work on your failings. Admit them, own them and do whatever it takes to be a better person.
Now off you go Rebecca. I’ve told you your future, but you being you, you’re going to ignore it and do whatever the heck you want anyway! That is probably my favourite thing about you - enjoy the ride!
P.S. Your parents are absolute rockstars. The gold standard definition of parents. They will ALWAYS have your back, and you’ll always be safe. Appreciate them.