Here’s what I wish I knew ten years ago. Because sometimes, we just need a little reminder of how far we’ve come.
Hey there Caitlin from ten years ago. I’m you, just older and maybe wiser. Knowing too much about the future is dangerous – we know that from all the science fiction we watch – but I wish I knew then what I’m going to tell you now.
I love our big heart, it has so much room for lots of people.
But can I tell you something? Just be gentle. Read some signs of those who don’t wish you around. Don’t give up your time and treasured boundless energy for those who wouldn’t do the same. It will hurt.
And I know you are good at running, but stop chasing people.
I know you sometimes feel lonely, and you’re not going to know who to choose to spend time with when everyone seems to have someone else. I know right now you care a lot about what people think of you. Yeah, we don’t do that anymore.
You want to have lots of friends and your fear of missing out is strong, but there are people now – ten years in the past – that might not be around when you get here. And that’s okay. I know we’re not a fan of patience, but still, please wait patiently. Your people are coming, and they love you for who you are.
Those books that you love reading, keep reading them.
You have lots of time on your hands now and as you get older it’s weirdly going to disappear. Life gets busier. But the greatest thing to do, even ten years from where you are now, is sit somewhere with a book and simply get lost in it. Keep holding the written word close and you will soon figure out just how important it is to you.
Find your favourite authors and remember what they have written. There’s a fire in your heart about writing stories, both your own and others. Maybe that fire isn’t there right now, but trust me, it’s like a volcano that’s ready to erupt.
Big adventures are around the corner, and you’re going to be so happy.
Count the countries you’ve been to so far; I don’t think there are very many! You’re stuck in school and are anxious to escape, however much you love it. High school has been pretty fun so far – you love learning and you love writing and just absorbing things like a sponge. Stick with your art and don’t let those endless Photoshop lessons get you disheartened. Music gives you so much joy. Just keep going.
The feeling of walking new city streets, of finding amazing views in the beautiful natural world, meeting new people and finding new exciting treasures… those feelings are indescribable
You will have this joy that doesn’t come from anywhere else except the sound of a plane leaving a tarmac. And you will know that weird feeling of coming home even if you don’t exactly want to. You’ll be sad to leave behind some incredible people and places, but you’ll return and in the meantime, treasure home even more than before. I’m proud of how brave and spontaneous we are. Some people live their lives worrying about what is around the corner. And even though it is a daunting feeling not knowing, it’s something we’re good at. Trusting the exciting uncertainty.
And lastly, my dear, I will say just one more thing.
Don’t be afraid to be who you are.
We’ve always been loud. And you’re finding out maybe that’s not such a good thing. But your voice is your voice and I don’t think you should ever be ashamed of that. There are people who love you because you are bubbly and unafraid and unfiltered. And there are people who don’t, and that’s okay.
There are moments coming that will render you speechless. Where the words that you love won’t come and you will just smile or cry. And learning when to be quiet is something that we will constantly be learning. Little tweaks will come along the way. Big lessons will teach you things that maybe you didn’t think you wanted to know.
But they are for your own good and it’s always good to keep growing. Even when it feels like we haven’t done much, take time and look back and see how far you have come.
Someone wise once wrote something that I still remember now in the future. ‘This is life before you know who you’re gonna be – at fifteen.’ Okay, okay it’s Taylor Swift, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Take a breath and walk through those doors (wherever those doors are) and don’t forget to look before you fall. You’ll sing those words somewhere pretty special one day.
You’re fifteen and that’s pretty exciting. This is only the beginning.