A Letter to my Sixteen-Year-Old Self

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Dear Tracy,

I thought I'd drop you a (probably not so) quick note to wish you a very happy 16th birthday on what is, confusingly yet aptly, your 32nd birthday. I know you are extremely excited about your joint party with Sarah which is happening on Saturday. You’ve got a gorgeous red dress that you feel really grown up in and you’ve had a fringe cut in. It’s already annoying you because it keeps parting and you’re worried it will look silly on the night. Quick tip: Next time you decide you want a fringe (and there will be a next time) get the hairdresser to make it heavier and it won’t do it so much.

The party is going to be amazing! There will be lots of Five and S Club 7 played and that boy you like who sits at the back of the bus actually said he’d try and come when you invited him, but don’t get too excited because you’re only 16 and there’s a whole wealth of guys out there for you to crush on. You'll get lots and lots of wonderful presents which you are extremely grateful for, but the one that still sticks in your head will be the bag of Millie's Cookies that Rachel brings from work. It will pass by in a blur so take lots of photos.

It’s been a pretty shitty year for you so far, but in time you will see that what you thought was the worst moment of your life was actually the best. Well that exact moment wasn’t, but the outcome was. From just having a family on your mum’s side, a whole new family has been presented to you. A dad who has always been there can now share with you another mum, two brothers, a cousin who you will soon see as a sister, three grandparents and a whole bunch of extended family that you love to pieces.

Ironically I’m sitting here a lifetime (for you) later experiencing what is turning out to be a difficult year. Don’t get me wrong, there have been truly horrible moments between your time and mine, but this year is really knocking me for six. I’m getting there slowly, but surely. Knowing you got through everything that 2000 threw at you is one of the things that makes me sure I will get through 2016. Thank you for showing me just how strong we are capable of being.

Just as an aside, when everything came out you said that you were happy as you might get the chance to be an auntie one day. Well, spoiler alert, but you become an auntie to, not one, but four gorgeous pickles. They are all unique in their own way and you are so proud of each and every one of them.

But that’s enough about a future that seems so far away to you right now. You’ve completed your GCSEs and you’ve done your work experience at your old primary school. It’s time to enjoy a relaxing summer before going back to school to do your A-levels. Yes, you’re going back to Wilmington. You will strengthen existing friendships as well as make new ones that I still have and cherish now. The whole applying to university thing won’t go entirely to plan, but it definitely works out for the best. You’ll see why…

Around the time you go back to school, the head of sixth form will make you find a volunteering role to take on so you contact your old Guide Leader Mandi to see if you can return to your unit as a Young Leader and of course she welcomes you back. You have some many amazing experiences coming your way and it’s all down to guiding. There’s too much to go into here, but it’s safe to say that it becomes a huge part of your life. In fact I’d say it becomes a way of life. I truly believe that guiding and university are responsible for who we’ve become.

Never stop being you. One of the things I love about you is how you are totally happy to be yourself and enjoy the things that you enjoy without being bothered about what others think. For example in my time you have an unwavering love for both Harry Potter and McFly. Your family and friends may lovingly mock you, but you never falter in your dedication to them. They bring joy to your life and that’s all that’s important to you. Just as it should be.

Another thing that I love about you is that you’re not afraid to admit when you’re wrong. When the whole Harry Potter hype took off, you didn’t understand why everyone was so fascinated with a bunch of children’s books. In fact you point blank refused to read them. I can’t remember what made you change your mind and buy that copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but after reading it in just one day, you were hooked.

Similarly when McFly started up you thought they were just Busted wannabes and weren’t interested. Then you saw the music video to ‘Room on the Third Floor’ and thought it was really clever and gave them a chance. It was once you heard ‘All About You’ though that they found a place in your heart forever.

The same goes for people. Everyone has first impressions of someone and you feel perfectly comfortable in being able to say, “Do you know what? I got you completely wrong when we first met. I’m sorry. Can we start over?” Don’t instantly dismiss your gut instinct though. It’s pretty accurate and, more often than not, serves you very well.

And try not to be so hard on yourself. You are an amazing person. You have come through so much. You will go through so much more and come out the other side of it. You will make plans that will never happen and that’s OK. Who knows what the future will hold for us, but I can’t wait to find out.

I love you awesome nerd!

Tracy (aged 32)

P.S. Just to warn you, you're going to have a huge crush on someone on at university. You are going to find the courage to actually go and talk to him when you see him at the union. It will transpire that you are talking to his twin. FAIL!

P.P.S. Cut back on the chocolate and pizza. It’ll come back to haunt you as you approach 30!
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