THE BLOG

A Letter to My Younger Self

14/12/2015 10:11 GMT | Updated 13/12/2016 10:12 GMT

Decide on your signature and stick to it. Stop your insecurities ruining consistencies in your life, even if they do seem as insignificant as handwriting that starts the week slanting left and leans right by Friday. Trust yourself, you don't need everyone else's advice when you know the answer in your heart. If you let other people's criticism dictate who you become, you'll be sorely disappointed when they do it anyway. If you also let them tell you that you're not good enough, you'll believe it too.

Stop hiding how you feel, it's okay to not be okay. But for Gods sake, ditch the friend who uses putdowns quicker than a salamander catches flies. Know that the girl who gossips to you will also gossip about you. Real friends guide you when you're lost in the dark, they don't put you there. You'll be lucky to find someone there for you in both good and bad times.

Even when none of your friends seem to understand why, stay driven. Comments such as 'some people will never be good at Maths' motivate you to prove yourself, but should not be taken seriously.

Listen to your Mum, in general and more specifically when she tells you that the Arts are not inferior. When society, government and the educational syllabus try to convince you that your respectable career looks like Accountancy or Law, ignore it. Imagery, literature, media; art is everywhere, making life more than mere survival. Be proud, not bashful, to take A-Level Fine Art two years early, it's a worthy achievement.

You'll kiss a couple of frogs to get a prince, but stumbling into him at just seventeen, you're still together now, even sending his family birthday cards. Singletons warn you that getting into something long-term, and long-distance when you both go to university, is like leaving a party at 9pm. Don't worry though, leaving the party with your best friend is no hardship. Waking up to a kiss with your cup of tea beats a note scrawled with 'thanks for last night' on your bedside table, every time.

Embrace your family. Never be 'too busy' to visit your grandparents. Keep saying 'Love you' at the end of your phone calls. These are likely the last years you have living at home and it's a priceless time, taken for granted until it's gone. When you're sitting in a poorly heated flat, you'll want to smile at the memory of singing Wizzard in unison while putting baubles up, not sitting in your room or out with people you don't even talk to anymore.

It's not hard to get so caught up in trying to grow up, that you might forget to live.

So yes, I know that hankering after your goals is inevitable, the pressures of school are inescapable and you'll never stop fretting about the future. But at least look around at the people that you are lucky enough to love, the house you will soon have moved out of, your walk to school, your beloved Jack Russell, who doesn't make it past five years. Take it all in, because there may be time for what's ahead but the clock never turns back.

Yes, I'm aware that you won't listen, you want to be confident, educated and independent. I am not asking you to corrupt your dreams, just to look around and find time to enjoy the journey.