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The New Job: Advice From Myself at 11, 15, 18 & 21 📝🖤✨

What a strange sight.

Me (29) walks into a room to find Me (11), Me (15), Me (18) and Me (21) chilling together.

Well, I say 'chilling together' - these four people couldn't look more uncomfortable in one another's presence if they tried.

Me (11) - Dressed in jodhpurs and a jumper with a huge horse head motif - is running round in circles, making odd clicking noises and yelling, "CANTER!"

Debrief on her: Pony OBSESSED. Lives in her own little world 99% of the time. Writes books about pixies. Isn't at all bothered about popularity or what people think of her. Mostly hangs about with the boys, sporting an oversized Leeds United shirt. Can often be found playing knock-a-door-run or prank calling the dentist pretending to be a toothless crocodile called Colin. VERY young for her age, but blissfully unaware and beautifully happy.

Me (15) has her head buried in a Jacqueline Wilson book. She glances up and smiles nervously, revealing a brace on her teeth.

Debrief on her: Defines teenage angst. Is trapped between wanting to be herself, and wanting to be 'cool' and 'popular.' For the record, she couldn't be further from 'cool' and 'popular.' Spends her every spare second either writing or reading. Attends ballroom dancing class on a Saturday morning. Has [obviously] never kissed a boy. Has no confidence whatsoever. Cares far too much about what people think of her. Is often ridiculed for being nerdy.

Me (18) is completely oblivious to absolutely everything going on around her. She is GLUED to her Bold BB - pausing only to shamelessly unpick her hot-pant wedgie.

Debrief on her: What an actual shit-show of a human being. Complete waste of air which is, consequently, all that appears to reside between her ears. Overplucked 'brows and tacky dyed blonde hair. Hasn't picked up a pen in two years. Apparently hasn't used her brain for two years, either. Does still occasionally write books, but would die if anybody found out. She's way too cool for that now. Looks like an extra from TOWIE. Is surprisingly very popular. WEIRD colour - think a lethal accident involving lava and Doritos, and you have this absolute mess's skin-tone.

'Living her best life.'

Has kissed a few boys now, and keeps a list in the back of her diary, where she also callously rates their kissing skills out of 10 ('3/10. His phone went off half way through the kiss and his ringtone was Sexy & I Know It.').

Like I said: an absolute waste of organs.

Me (21) has her passport in her hand, and is searching for flights to Japan on Sky Scanner.

Debrief on her: Probably the best of a bad bunch. Has grown up a lot over the past few years, and after a vicious battle with anorexia, seems to know what she really wants out of life. Rediscovered writing during her darkest days of anorexia and now couldn't live without it. Has spent the past 12 months roaming around Europe on her own, and now has a passion for travelling and an ever-growing bucket list. She's one of those infuriating people who claim to have 'found themselves' while travelling. Annoyingly, it does seem to be true.

Fancies Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys, hence the topknot and the fake nose ring.

Me (29): Hey!

Me (18): Oh FFS, not you again. Seriously, what are you wearing? A blouse and paperbag trousers? You know the rules: you've got to either have boob or bum out, or BOTH at the same time. You have neither on show, you MAHOOSIVE prude! No wonder you're going through a divorce!

Me (29): ... Lovely to see you too, girl. Listen, guys, I've got something amazing to tell you!

Me (11), Me (15), Me (18) and Me (21) all start excitedly talking over one another.

Me (11): You got the yellow sparkly limited edition My Little Pony?!

Me (15): Jacqueline Wilson has named one of her book characters after you?!

Me (18): OH MY GOD!!!!! Ronaldo proposed?!?!

Me (21): You've finally ticked Ecuador off your travel bucket list?!

Me (29): ... Um, no. I've got a new job. Guys - I'm officially a Content Writer!

Me (11) makes a noise that I presume she considers to be a cheer, but sounds more like an angry horse. She really needs to start spending less time with ponies and more time with actual human beings...

Me (15) beams widely, which I feel is a mistake with that brace...

Me (21) rushes over and embraces me. Her fake nose-ring gets temporarily tangled in my hair.

Baffled silence and a faint hint of boredom from the Me (18) camp.

Me (18): A whaaaaaaaat?

Me (29): A Content Writer, Cara - someone who writes content for a living.

Me(18): What content?

Me (29): Well, any content. It could be anything. Blogs, email campaigns, social media posts...

Me (18) yawns. Her false eyelashes temporarily stick together.

Me (29): It's something we've always wanted to do. Writing for a living! I couldn't be happier!

Me (21): I'm buzzing for you, mate, but are you telling me that I've got to wait EIGHT years to call myself a professional writer?!

Me (29): All good things are worth waiting for, and believe me when I say that hard work pays off.

What's eight years to wait for a job of a lifetime?

Me (18): God, you sound like a human fortune cookie.

Me (15): This news kinda' confirms that all of this pain and stress will one day be worth it. I just need to hang on in there. I'm genuinely so pleased. How many people can say that they end up in their dream job? All I want to do is be a writer. It's the wish I make every birthday, and every time I throw a coin in the fountain.

Me (11): Well, I know what I'm going to do when I'm older. I'm going to win the Grand National! On Billy!

Me (29): Wow! That's a really cool ambition to

have, but are you sure that Billy is capable of jumping those fences? He's only 12 hands, and he's that lazy, you struggle to get him to trot half the time. He's also pretty old...

Me (11) looks baffled. She repeats herself, slower

this time, in-case the flaw in her plan lies in my understanding of it.

Me (11): I'm going to win the Grand National. On Billy. Oh, and I do like writing too, so I'll probably

pen a book about it once I've won.

Me (29) turns to Me (18), who is apparently finding the conversation so tedious that she has decided to apply another layer of repulsive florescent orange fake tan to her already molten-coloured skin.

The whole room now reeks of Digestive biscuits.

Me (18) lathers, tan on with her bare hands, which

are a shade that has probably never been seen outside of a radioactive laboratory.

Why isn't she using a tanning mitt?

Me (29): And you... What do you want to do when

you're older?

Me (18) rolls her eyes before Me (29) has even finished speaking.

Me (18): G-odddddd, you sound just like Dad! Stop nagging me!!! I'm, like, 18! How the bloody hell should I know what I want to be when I grow up?All I know is: I'm going to marry a footballer. I'm going to be a WAG!

Me (18) claps her hands gleefully. I'd say that she looks relatively pleased with herself, although it's hard to tell underneath the 89 lashings of pink

sparkly lipstick she's piled on.

Me (29): Look, we've been through this - you are not going to marry a footballer! What about your writing? What happened to that? You wanted to be a writer.

Me (18): Ohmigod per-leaaaase! How nerdy is that?! I won't, like, have time to write when I marry Edin Dzeko because I'll always be shopping at Harvey Nics, or travelling around to support him. Did I tell you that I met him a few weeks ago in town?! I was like, 'ohmigod I've got a shirt with Mrs Dzeko on the back!!' and he SMILED at me!!!

Me (21): Yeah, he was probably trying to work out where in the world people with your skin tone come from! You look like you've had ten rounds with a pumpkin. Put the fake tan away and stop making this all about you! Me (29) is here to celebrate her new job with us, so take an interest. She's lucky she was ever deemed employable after you spent the entire first year of college 'surging' on lads rather than actually, you know, going to lessons!

Me (29): Thanks, Me (21) Guys, I'm a bit scared...

Me (18): Why?! You're only starting a new job! It's not like you're going on Love Island and getting mugged off by some 7/10 on national television. That's scary!

Me (21): I think she's scared because this is her dream job, and she's waited her whole life for an opportunity like this. It's a big change, and change is always scary, even if it is for the best. But she's been here before; we've all been scared in the past. And we all got through it. Right?

Me (11): I spent my entire last year of primary school worrying about high school. I was so, so nervous. I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm quite immature… And all my mates just seemed really ready to grow up, and I didn't, and that petrified me. I remember wishing that I could just pause time and never have to restart it. I felt sick every single day during the summer holidays. And after literally one day at high school, it felt as though I'd been there forever! I wasn't the only immature one, either - there were loads of other weirdos!

At this point, Me (11) puts on a Dalek voice for no apparent reason: There are others like me!

Me (18) (under her breath): No there bloody aren't...

Me (15): Last year, school put on their own version of Britain's Got Talent, and I entered and read out an extract from a book I've written. I got to the final, and I had to read my book out in front of the whole school. People made fun of me, and I nearly didn't do it, but my English teacher played the song Nobody Does it Better and said that I have a talent and I should be proud of it. So I did it, and actually, some people really surprised me and said that they thought I was really brave. They said they really enjoyed my book. It took guts for me to

stand up there and risk being a laughing stock, but I'm glad I did.

Me (21): What about you, Me (18)? Have you ever done anything that has scared you?

Me (18): Wellllll, last week, one of the lads sent a broadcast on BBM saying to add one of his mates, and he looked dead peng, and I was really nervous

thinking, like, omg what if he doesn't accept me?! So I nearly didn't add him, then I did, and he accepted AND poked me on Facebook, and I kissed him at Meg's party on Saturday!

Me (21): ... Yeah, not quite on the same scale as Nelson Mandela in terms of life-changing speeches, but okay. Come on, Me (18) - please engage that brain before it disappears altogether.

Me (18): Fiiiiiine. I guess I was a bit scared on my first day at college. I didn't know anyone! I'd been a huge geek all through high school, and I just

wanted to reinvent myself. And I did! I got my brace off and I discovered Primark 'Maximise your Assets' bras. Now I have a really good, big group of mates and I've never been happier!

Me (21): You see, we've all taken risks and done things that have frightened us, and they've

all led to some of the best times of our lives. Don't you remember how terrified I was the night before I flew out to Ibiza to work a rep for the summer? It was the boldest thing I'd ever done! And I loved every single second of it. If Me (15) can read her writing out in-front of the whole school, Me (18) can go to a brand new college, and I can get on a plane all by myself and travel around Europe, you can do this. You'll smash it!

Me (11): I'm proud of you. I mean, you're not much taller than me, but you're a proper grown-up now!

Me (15): Do it for us, for me.

Me (18): OhmiGOD, you're like a real-life version of that absolute Chris Brown TUNE! It came out last week and Kel sent it me on Limewire and I've already listened to it, like, 4,000 times. It goes: Now my dream and reality simultaneous. That's you! Like, yeah, you're still a geek, but you're a COOL geek, if you get what I mean? I think Topshop call it Geek Chic.

Me (15) stares at Me (18) with a look of disbelief

on her face.

Me (15): I can't believe I turn into that in three years. But, if I've got to temporarily be her to get to Me (21) and Me (29), then I'm okay with it.

Me (21): We'll all be with you on your first day, Me (29).

Me (29): Thanks guys. Although, if you want to leave her here, that's fine. I don't really want her smearing her fake-tan hands around my new office.

We share a quick, awkward group hug. Me (18) leaves orange handprints on all of our clothes, and a hideous eyebrow smudge on Me (21)'s light grey turtle neck jumper. The overpowering stench of Me (18)'s So..? Kiss Me body spray is enough to raise (and re-kill) the dead.

Me (18): Right - gotta dash. Lottie's picking me up

in 5 and we re going to see if there are any lads at the Drive Thru. Last time, there was a well fit lad working there, so we ended up driving round, like, twelve times! In the end, we had EIGHT McFlurries to get through between us - it was WELL hilar!

Me (21): ... The witticisms just keep on coming. I've got to get going too, actually - sorry! I have some packing to do; I'm off to Berlin in the morning.

Me (11): Yeah, I'm going to head off. Pony Club is on in fifteen minutes, so I can get a few prank calls in before then!

Me (15): And these Jacqueline Wilson books aren't going to read themselves!

Me (29): Guys? Before you go... Thank you for everything you have done for me. I really appreciate and love every single one of you. I wouldn't be who I am, or where I am, without you.

Cara Jasmine Bradley


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