A letter to my 17-year-old self

Robyn,

Recently I turned 27 and if I could go back ten years I would want to let you know that you don’t need to worry. You’re going through a crazy time right now with friends, you have huge exams ahead of you, you have massive decisions to make and you have no idea how it’s all going to pan out. But I’m here to tell you this now: hang in there.

There will be times where it’s going to get tough and I know you are worried about making that big jump from school to college. I know you’re scared of change and that niggling voice in the back of your head that’s full of self-doubt is creeping in but you will learn to make decisions for yourself and not for others. You will choose to study journalism despite some people telling you to do otherwise at first. Yes, it’ll be harder to get a job in this field but psychology just is not for you girl. Let’s be honest. You’ll follow your heart and during those few years in college, you’ll realise how small the world really was when you were younger.

You’ll get notions and go back to college for a Masters but this time it’ll be in Dublin. It’ll be a whirlwind year but you’ll learn so much and meet amazing people. It’ll be the stepping stone you need to set you on your career path and you’ll finally begin to feel a sense of direction in your life.

As you get older, your life will change in ways you never could have expected. Sometimes, the people you hoped would stay will leave, but this will open up new doors for you and it’ll breed more opportunity for you to grow and make new friends. I know you love to feel safe in your own little bubble but don’t be afraid to step outside of it every now and again! Your closest friends right now are invaluable and your bond with them will only grow with age. Be patient, be kind and don’t lose your temper so much with them- no one can read your mind. Don’t bottle emotions up, you’ll thank me for that later.

You will say things that hurt others and you will learn to apologize, even though you are irrationally stubborn. Maybe it’s the German in you!

There’ll be tough times where you will feel left behind and incredibly alone. You will see that others often rely on each other and rely on you. At the end of the day though everyone has their own problems and you have to realise that.

Think about your two best friends from primary school. Your friendships will blossom and change, you will grow individually, you’ll live far away from each other and you may not have the time to speak in depth every single day. But they are always there. On the day you turn 27, they will be the first to tell you how much they love you. Cherish them, because friendships like those are difficult to find and impossible to replace, and you will soon find that no two people in this lifetime will ever understand you better than they do.

You won’t realise how lucky you are to have learned how to drive at such an early age, I know dad is nagging you right now about it but he really is right. (Just don’t tell him I said that!) You’ll have young love and you’ll go through all the ups and downs that come with it. Stay true to you on the inside, that is so important.

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You’ll always be at your comfiest in a big jumper!

You’ll look in the mirror and call yourself fat but I promise you now, you are absolutely perfect the way you are. You’ll have crazy periods where food becomes your enemy and your best friend all in one but you have the strength to get through that. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Don’t worry about your endless appetite, in fact, eat all round you while you can because when you get to my age you won’t be able to eat 16 inch pizzas with three sides on your own AND DESSERT without gaining a pound.

Huge changes will come your way. You’ll live for a few months in Chicago and get to experience some of the wildest moments in your life there. Enjoy it to the fullest and immerse yourself in it, you deserve it.

You just shouldn’t be allowed in a kitchen, trust me. You’ll set so many ovens and microwaves on fire, just back away from it all. It’s for the best.

Dry humour. Don’t lose it! You’ll learn to laugh at your own misfortunes and you’ll share stories with your friends that’ll make them giggle.

Do not be afraid to get closer to 30. You’ll actually slowly realise that life gets better as you get older. You’ll stop caring as much about unnecessary stuff and the things that once mattered to you in school will seem laughable now. Worried about wrinkles? Your looks aren’t going to magically change overnight (but that anti-aging L’Occitane cream you’ve been peeping at will come in handy).

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Are you a Patsy or an Eddie? Comment below!

And if there is one last thing that I can say to you, let it be this:

Your family is absolutely wonderful. You have two parents that have only ever wanted the best for you. Your mom will always be on your side no matter what. Your dad will be there to pick you up when you’re feeling down. You have a brother with a kind heart and a wacky sense of humour. You have the sweetest dog that could ever live who’ll disappear one day causing absolute mayhem until you get a huge search squad out for her only to find her a few metres away from your front door. They will all teach you how to be compassionate, how to be empathetic and how to love. You don’t need to ‘find yourself,’ you are already who you need to be.

-RTG

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