A decade. 10 years. That’s the average life span of a rabbit. That is the same amount of time it took to build the monumental coliseum in Rome. The same amount of time it took Margaret Mitchell to write the iconic novel, Gone with the Wind.
You can make a huge difference to other people’s lives in ten years, or indeed your own. What would you say to yourself ten years ago?
Ten years ago, I was 17. I was invested in a career of being a professional actress and looking forward to travelling the world with my best friend before attending university. The world was at my fingertips, I was young, naive and unaware of the life experiences I was going to undertake, the hardships I was going to face and the decisions I was going to make. A lot has changed since I was 17; I have travelled the world extensively and most of the time, solo. I graduated University; I’ve worked as a professional actress, writer, radio and TV presenter, drama teacher and workshop facilitator. I’ve worked in schools, I’ve produced my own TV programmes for student TV and now at a professional capacity and I’ve produced radio programmes, everything from community radio to podcasts, commercial to the BBC. My last ten years has been momentous.
But equally, I would love the opportunity to shake my 17 year old self and tell her to open up to those that are closest to her, not to bottle up her emotions and carry the burden herself. To share with friends her issues and learn that she is more than just her past and how she perceives herself. To learn to love herself and to celebrate the good qualities her friends, her peers, her family, know her for. I wish I could stare into her eyes and tell her it’s going to be okay, everything will work out better then you imagined, better then you dreamed what you were capable of. I want to hold her hand and tell her she is beautiful, inside and out, that she should know her worth, and not to settle for less than she deserves, in all areas of her life.
But then I guess if I had those life lessons when I was 17, that self-confidence, self-love and inner strength to kickass at 17, I wouldn’t be the person who I am today. Maybe I wouldn’t have thrown myself off a bridge on a bungy jump in New Zealand just for the giggles (I might have been smarter and decided not to), maybe I would have decided not to travel solo around South East Asia. Maybe I wouldn’t have cleaned toilets, worked in bars and clubs or been a food taster. But all those bizarre experiences and life lessons have shaped me.
Every moment in your life has been an important step towards this very moment; your past has created you, but remember that it doesn’t define you. So looking back at your own decade, I hope you look back with fondness and with no regrets, because every bad decision taught you something, every mistake was a lesson and they all redirected you to something better.
I hope you look to this new decade with enthusiasm and positivism at all the possible opportunities and exciting new ventures that may occur in your life. Maybe you will quit your dead end job and start up your own business, the one you have always dreamed of. Write that book you constantly talk about writing. Learn a new language or learn 6. Move to a different country. Rekindle a friendship with a long lost friend, or make a new one. Find your life long partner and start a family.
Whatever happens in your next decade, whatever develops, I hope it is everything you wished for and more. And whatever hardships you face, remember how far you have come and how much you have been through already. You are a hero.