Hi young me,
It’s lovely up here at 29. It’s not an age I ever particularly looked forward to, as you know, but honestly it’s been my happiest in many ways. I have a confidence you haven’t known yet, I’m earning good money, I finally tapped back into my creativity, I developed a much thicker skin than you have now, but I didn’t sacrifice any of my soft heart you’ll be pleased to know. I’m strong, healthy, and actually quite resilient.
But it hasn’t always been this way has it Hannah? It’s hard to believe I got here from where you are now. I know you think I am old, boring and a long way off, but as your older self, I feel like you might benefit from my wisdom.
I have a world of advice for you, a decade in fact, but what I mostly want to say is; stop worrying. Stop worrying about everything, because what happens to you in the next 10 years is more than you can ever imagine. You will meet so many people that you don’t even know exist yet, and they’re all going to contribute to this amazing, crazy journey that is your twenties.
All you need to do to enjoy the ride is tap back into your confidence, work on the things you love, and continue being the loving, honest girl that you are – that will take you to where you need to be and enable you to love the life you’re in.
Your young heart
That boy you think you are destined to marry – you aren't. I know, it was a shock to me too. But come on, you are only 20! He arrived like this absolute prince when you were just 16, and you will feel so sad when it ends (which is pretty soon by the way) that you will feel like you can’t breathe and you think no-one has ever EVER felt this pain.
That first cut will be the deepest and you will deal with that heartache in the worst way possible, like this unstoppable disaster. You will come back fighting though, and you will be so glad of that pain because it will teach you how to be so strong in Love. And honestly? I have much higher hopes for you than to end up with someone who let you down like that.
You might not believe it now, but one day you will be brave enough not only to endure more break-ups, but to prompt them yourself. So please, please don't let this one boy ruin your university years, because one day you'll find this mad, mad love and you’ll realise this wasn’t THAT.
P.S. You develop a bit of a habit for bad-boys at 21, but they are really no good for you, they’ll bleed you dry. Save yourself a world of heartache now and step away from the mean men, because there is a lot to be said for the good guys. One day, one of those good guys will take such good care of you, and you’ll feel like a princess, and you just won’t believe you ever gave the wrong’uns the time of day.
You’re going through a strange time with your body, because you are battling with who you are. You may have overcome your anorexia and think you’re now okay in that respect, but you’re not really – you have a way to go. You don’t take care of yourself and you still think skinny equals attractive. Will you just embrace your damn curves? One day you will appreciate your tummy, shapely legs, and bum. Work it, girl! You’re a twenty year old woman not a teenage boy.
It’s such a shame you stopped with the exercise too (because you got too busy drinking!) You loved sport at school, why did you give that up? It used to give you so much strength and confidence to do the things you love, and you won’t realise how much that’s holding you down now that you have stopped. Prioritise finding a sport again as it will be the making of you.
Also, will you please eat breakfast? Skipping it won't save you calories; it will just wreck your metabolism and your nervous system. At 29 it’s your absolute favourite meal of the day, so please just start eating like a normal human at normal human times.
Treat your body right and the rest will follow, I promise. In a few years you'll be so fit and healthy – your legs will run thousands of miles, they'll be fierce and ready for the fight, and you'll recognise that strong is attractive
Your anxious mind
Get involved in something at University other than socialising. You have so many interests, but you are letting yourself down at the moment as you aren’t enjoying any of them and it’s crushing your strength of mind. You have so much time to reinforce your skills and make the most of yourself at the moment, and if you don't use that time now you'll forever regret it. Having something of your own away from the drama of everyone else will protect you through the rough ride that is your University years.
Young, selfish people around you will fill you with this idea that keeping your emotions close to the surface is a weakness. Do not let believe them, because it's not true. They are just not mature enough to handle your depth yet. But one day you'll be surrounded by people who value and deserve your emotion and passion. Keep being you.
You have a lot of these, but not all of them are good for you. Over the next few years you are going to cleanse out a few of the negative ones. Be brave enough to do that. Don't stay around people who show you up and put you down.
It’s sad to know you are doing that right now, but soon you are going to meet people who really see you and support you, and constantly remind you of your own worth. The friends you have at 29 are going to be like your family, and they’ll celebrate and support you like nothing on this earth.
Credit cards! God, you and your credit cards. No-one taught you about managing money, and you are shocking with it. You think it will be 'easy' to pay back the Red when you start work. It won't. You'll be nearly 30 and still repaying that debt. Please think twice before whacking yet another festival on borrowed cash. They never should have given you a Platinum Visa aged 18. I'm still pretty angry with Barclays about that! I am also angry with you, you aren’t stupid and you’re good at maths – so where is your common sense?
That said, you know money isn’t the most important thing in life, and I’m proud of you for that. You always valued love over money; you'd marry someone who lived in a cardboard box for as long as you loved him. You still need to be able to support yourself though. It's a wild world, it's good to have something in reserve and, trust me, a day will come when you'll really, really need that.
Your dress sense is a bit of a shambles for the next few years, you kind of lost your way a bit didn’t you? You don’t enjoy choosing clothes at the moment because you have zero body confidence, but work on that confidence, because then you will have the poise to learn what actually suits you, and develop your own style.
Dressing to be sexy should not be your main priority. For the love of Vogue woman, lose those tight short shiny skirts and wear things that complement your shape, that reflect who you are. You suit shorts, skinny jeans (I know right!), cap sleeves, collars and, believe it or not, midi-skirts. Please avoid vest tops and those ridiculous bling ear-rings from Primark.
Right now you have no idea what you want, where you want to be, what you want to do, or how you'll get there. You don’t really think about it because you are frantically trying to be what other people want you to be. You have no idea what you are worth and you have completely forgotten what you have to offer to this world.
Do not worry, your time is coming, but you have to earn it.
Your twenties aren’t going to be how you might have planned in a dream, but life is going to bring to you all the things you are supposed to get from it, and you are going to give so much back in return.
You have some seriously amazing adventures ahead of you, so put a smile on, find the YOU you know you really are, and show ‘em what you’re made of.