Dear 40 Year Old Cara,
Yo, it’s me – your 30 year old self.
It’s hard to imagine exactly what you’ll be doing when you read this in a decade’s time.
Right now - in-case you’re wondering – you’re lay in bed double-dipping chocolate pretzels and pizza-flavoured focaccia bites, while listening to No Scrubs.
(Sassily finger-clicking along to ‘No, I don’t want no scrubs… Hanging out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride…’ when your entire life is literally dictated by Northern Rail is irony on a whole new level, but we’ll breeze over that for now…!)
I’ve just spent the best part of the evening writing out the hamster’s first birthday card. You know you’re on the brink of needing urgent psychological help when you’re:
A) Buying your hamster birthday cards, and
B) Writing the following line in said birthday card, ‘I am so proud of the young man you’re becoming.’
I wonder if you’ll be… Normal in 10 years’ time?
Let’s be brutally honest: probably not.
Tbh, being ‘normal’ isn’t actually one of my ‘goals.’ It never has been.
Life is far too short to be anything other than yourself.
Weird? Quirky? Unique? All day, honey! 💁🏻♀️
And it’s pretty goddam pleasing how unapologetic you are.
I don’t want you to ever lose your self-confidence and your inability to frankly give a toss about the opinions of others.
So what are my hopes for you, for me, for us, at 40?
Well, I guess my main wish is that you are still happy, and more importantly, still YOU.
Please, don’t change yourself or your path for ANYONE.
Don’t for one second even consider compromising your own joy for the sake of somebody else.
So bloody what if your version of happiness doesn’t conform to other people’s ‘standards’ and idealistic views?
The only person who has any right to determine your own happiness and how you perceive it, is YOU.
Just let that sink in.
YOU are the keeper of your contentment and fulfilment in life.
Cara… You are NOT selfish for making yourself and your wellbeing your main priority.
The reality of being as independent as you are is that you will lose people through your determination to prioritise and preserve it… And that’s fine.
Just please realise that you absolutely do not need to change to fall in line with ANYONE’S expectations.
Life isn’t about forcing yourself into to a cloned imagery of precision. I’m well aware of this at 30, and I’d like to think that you’re still embracing this revelation at 40, too.
House by X, married by Y, kids by Z: not only is this structured view of idealism unrealistic, but it’s also not for everyone!
Those who strive to follow the Insta-inspired perfect life are quite possibly not as happy as they would like others to believe.
As I said, I have no idea where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing 10 years from now, but I sure as hell hope that you’re still living your perfect life. YOUR perfect life.
I hope you still dance in-front of the mirror pretending to be Missy Elliot at 5 o’clock in the morning while getting ready for work.
I hope you still shamelessly high-five yourself when you manage to rap along to a whole Busta Rhymes verse without mistakes.
I hope you’re still writing books about pixies.
I hope you’re still running, wonderfully obsessively.
I hope you’re still exploring this beautiful world, solo.
I hope you’ve been to Japan. I hope you’ve been to Tbilsi. I hope you’ve island-hopped around Greece. I hope you’ve run the Chicago Marathon.
I hope your bucket list is still brimming with visions of endless quests.
I hope you never stop dreaming, or being curious, or yearning for adventure.
I hope you’re still standing tall, hungrily ingesting the drug of this funny old life.
I hope you finally managed to catch a shiny Magikarp on Pokemon Go.
Life will throw shit at you, and sometimes there's nothing you can do to dodge it - you literally have to stand there are take it. Learn from it.
Cut ties with anyone who brings negative energy, regardless of who they are. Friends, family, partners... You do not need to facilitate other people's crap.
Have the courage to leave relationships that start to wilt. Yes, it'll hurt at first, but you have to listen to your gut. Would you rather face the temporary pain of losing someone who isn't right for you, or risk losing yourself, forever?
I hope I'm making decisions now that you will thank me for one day.
Prioritise and cherish the relationship that you have with yourself before you commit too much of yourself to relationships with others.
Above all, please, always have the strength to stay true to you.
30 Year Old Cara
Cara Jasmine Bradley ©