Wednesday, 22 February 2012

19 (a letter to myself a year ago)

A year ago you were in Paris and you were busy turning eighteen, drinking your first legal glasses of Champagne and smoking your first legal cigarettes. There are so many things I could tell you about what will happen in your first year as an adult, but I almost wish I could leave you there, on that street corner with smoke in your lungs.

In the year to come you will cry. A lot. In the good ways and in the bad. You will think you can't go on and then you will roll back your shoulders and know that you can, and will, go on.

You will meet people who will make you feel as insignificant as possible and you will realise that the people who make you feel good are the ones who were closest all along. You will leave some people behind and you will let some new people into your life. They will be almost incandescent in their brilliance. You will recognise them when you meet them.

You will write a lot and worry constantly about not writing enough. (It is enough.) You will make yourself and the people around you proud, and you will also be a disappointment. Forgive yourself your failures.

Know that the summer ahead will be the best summer so far.

There will be bars and late nights. There will be loneliness, but there will also be holding hands and sailing and playing the ukulele and studying. These are the things that matter.

You will break your glasses. You will pass your exams. You will apply to university. You will chase far too many trains, especially in the night, with heavy feet and a light head. You will spend most of your summer in various parks in Helsinki. (It is a good way to spend a summer.) You will call V in the middle of the night. Several times. You will change in ways you could never have imagined, but I like to think you'd be proud of me if you could see me now.

You will learn to understand who are the people who really matter. Talk to them. Tell them. Be grateful every day for having them in your life, because (and I'm paraphrasing Virginia Woolf here) you would become transparent without them.

It will be a good year. I wouldn't change a single minute. Take the chances you feel like taking and know that you will land on your feet, eventually. And even if you don't, there will be people around you willing to help you, if you let them.

So I won't leave you there on that street corner in the 5th arrondissement after all. Chin up, head high, off you go into your future, my past, and know that it will be pretty damn spectacular.

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