Every year, I write a letter to myself as a reminder of, I don’t even know what. But it’s a little space for me to just let out some steam; to give myself a pep talk when I need it most; to just talk through some of the things I need to talk through. I haven’t done one this year and I’m not sure why, so I’m sitting down now to do it. If this isn’t your jam, feel free to not read, but if you want to read, be gentle.
Hello you. It’s you!
Ha, that is a very meta way to start a letter, but here we go. It’s January 26th. Want to know why I’ve waited so long to write this, I don’t know why. Fear? Worry? Nothing to say? Too much to say? Whatever the reason, I’m here now. I’m sitting writing to you.
I’m not sure why you’ve come back to read this. Is something troubling you? Are you 10 years in the future Steph who is being nostalgic for another time? Are you a week’s time Steph and you’re worried that you’re sounding really self-indulgent? Are you not even Steph, but you want to know more? Welcome, reader, whoever you are.
I’m sitting writing this after a rough afternoon of anxiety centred around time. It’s the stupidest thing, but that’s that. I worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to do the things I need to do for work, so people would see that I’m a fraud and I’d be sacked, and in reality none of that is going to happen.
Anxiety is a funny old barrel of fish. It’s mostly irrational. I’ve come to realise that time is my biggest trigger. I have no idea why. Is it a control thing? I don’t know. I’m sure whichever Steph is reading this still has a time thing going on and that’s OK. Just don’t let it take over. Nothing’s going to happen because you’re out enjoying your Sunday. Routine is a marvellous thing, but being out of routine can be a little bit freeing. We both know routine is the thing that keeps us going (hello not coping in the holidays), but don’t be afraid to step outside of that routine occasionally. You’re allowed to live your life a little.
As I sit here, there’s things that are bothering me and questions that I have: are they still bothering you?
Friendships? Health things? Single-ness? Weight? Life? Career? I’m sure if they’re not, there’s other things. If you’ve managed to work through some of those things, then take a minute to congratulate yourself or celebrate that. If not, that’s more than OK. Life isn’t always what you think it’s going to be. Remember 10-year-old Steph thinking that she’d be a teacher by 21, married by 25 and kids and a house by 30? Well none of those things happened, but the world didn’t fall apart. Some dreams take longer to reach.
If you’re thinking there’s lots of things still bothering you, talk about them. People will listen. You’ll have people around you who want to listen. I know you think you don’t want to bother people, but you won’t be BOTHERING YOU. They love you. That’s not bothering them. It bothers them if you don’t talk about them. They might not have the answers; they might not have the answers you want, but people will be there for you. Don’t isolate yourself because we both know that’s more dangerous than anything.
I’m rambling now, but I’m going to set out a few hopes I have for us. We don’t set resolutions because fear of failure and all that shit. A few hopes I have for us:
- Ask for help when you need it: stubbornness and pride (a word many people wouldn’t associate with you but one that is REAL) are definitely part and parcel of who we are, but they aren’t always great traits. If you need help no matter how big or small the problem or question, I hope we grow enough to learn to ask for it.
- Say no to things you don’t want to do/don’t have time to do: You can’t do everything for everyone and it’s not your job. It’s OK to say no because sometimes you have to prioritise you and whatever it is you want to do. I hope we choose to only do the things we want to do.
- Break away from routine occasionally: whether it’s spending a Sunday doing no work, or it’s a Friday night and you go out, break out of your routine. The more times you do it, the easier it will be. I hope we choose to do fun things that enrich our lives away from work.
- Do something spontaneous: it’s not part of who we are, but book a random hotel getaway or travel somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be far far away, but go somewhere new, you never know what you’re going to learn. Go visit Nat. You know you want to. I hope we visit somewhere or someone new.
- Be comfortable doing more things by yourself: we’ve mastered eating breakfast, shopping and having coffee by ourselves, but go to the cinema, or go out for tea by yourself, it might be freeing. I hope we find a new thing that we are comfortable at doing alone.
- Learn to love yourself a little bit more: I’m not asking for Ru Paul levels of love, but a bit. There’s ALWAYS something negative you can find to say about yourself, but next time you find yourself wanting to say something negative, find something positive to say. And then the time after that. And then the time after that. It’s only one thing at a time, but eventually it’ll be lots of little things. I hope we find space in our vocabulary for self-positivity.
Be kind to yourself. Come back to these things in 2021 and see what’s changed, if anything.