What would you write if you were invited to write a letter to yourself at the sweet age of 16? Would you go for the ‘change your life, make different choices and change history’? Or would you want to reassure and reassure the tentative teenager? Activate supporter Faye Smith was asked by her local Sheffield newspaper to write her thoughts and this is the process she went through –
: “Writing the letter was an amazingly powerful exercise.
“It provoked a lot of soul-searching.
“I thought of preventing tragedies, but as any Dr Who fan will tell you, that irrevocably alters the space time continuum and tumbles us into chaos.
“So there was no standing at the foot of the twin towers or at the gates of Hillsborough.
“In the end I tried to reassure the girl I was that the problems she thought were so monumental, like the bullying I endured at school, would go away.
“Isn’t that what we’d all like – to know that things are going to get better?
“I can now see, though, that all those hard times forged something in my character, brought people into my life and prepared me for my future.
“‘Je ne regrette rien,’ as Piaf said.”
Blessings on you 16-year-old Faye…
Great news! You were right, the last four years of your life have truly been the worst of your life. But the bully who has made your life a misery is leaving…
Everything changes for you now.
Every year after this you will feel more able, more confident, more attractive, happier in your own skin and accept and understand yourself more, gaining a sense of purpose in life.
So stop people-pleasing and comparing right now.
There will always be prettier, sportier, brighter and more popular girls around but it’s so much more attractive to be positively yourself.
Enthusiasm and happiness are contagious.
Persistence will get you further than talent – and black won’t suit you!
Your life will never look like a flat line – that’s cardiac arrest.
It has many valleys as well as peaks, but Faye, lilies grow only in the valleys and make those mountain tops all the more precious.
Faithful friends, who will love, support, celebrate the good and stand with you in the bad, pour into your life from the age of 22.
And remember to keep family close.
There’s nothing coming that you can’t handle: there will be triumphs, joys and some heartbreaking sadness but remember your name means faith and that will sustain you every day of your life, as will your belief that the Almighty turns every circumstance to his good purposes.
At 17 you will weep over your lack of vocation. Relax. You discover both yourself and business at university.
You were designed as a creative communicator, which will bring you several careers to enjoy.
Then you find the strength to step off the wheel for a while to bring up your two precious children. By 30 you finally discover you are a human being, not a human doing.
Give thanks and forgive daily, move on and embrace every opportunity.
You make it to at least 43 with no regrets.
PS: You are right, ’80s music will always be the bes