Words by: Zayan Ismail, Stephanie Booth, Paige Athanasopolous Art by: Hayley Sinnatt
It has been two months since I first went into isolation. Never would I ever have thought I would be going through a pandemic whilst I wrote this. I have had good days, and really bad ones. I am indeed verklempt and a little bit spent from being inside the house for so long. Alas! One must adjust to the new normal. The best part about this new life however, is that I have become more introspective than ever before. You will be awakened anew.
It is this fresh start that I want you to focus on. Do not ever forget that you must take it day by day and live in the present. Focus your energies on the activities that provide you joy, calmness, ease and warmth. Worrying about the future is an unnecessary strife to your mental health. Be cognisant of how you may never have control over certain aspects of life. You must adjust yourself to the flow of the day. Be active in maintaining a structure whilst also not being too hard on yourself when you divert from it. Learn from your past, and let go of it.
A decade from now I want you to be healthy in every possible way. If you can survive this pandemic, you can do anything. I know for sure that you will always be improving yourself. You will be in a better place, thriving and succeeding. Be kind to yourself and to others. You can do this!
Much love as always. Zayan
I cringed while reading the letter that my 10 year-old self wrote to my 18 year-old self outlining all the things I should never do such as ‘smocked (sic) a cigarette’ or should have done, like ‘kissed a boy’ (I had, and I liked it). It was painfully wholesome and made me realise the speed at which the world changes and how my values back then were incomparable to those of mine at 18.
So what would today’s self tell my future self in a decade’s time?
Tell me about your dog. I sincerely hope you have one by now and that it is safely sleeping in the generous backyard of that amazing house you purchased for a steal after capitalising on the historical property crash of 2023.
You’re older and wiser now and no doubt have experienced dizzying heights and plummeting lows. At your *ahem* advanced age, you don’t need a great deal of self-advice, but here’s a few gentle grounding points I’d like to remind you of, just in case you’ve veered off your own brand. Constant personal development is crucial but some things are… not for us.— Do not purchase a series of loosely-flowing linen dresses. This style does not suit you. Do not be drawn to the allure of the breezy comfort and pockets.
— Do not bore younger people with the ‘way things used to be’ with the suggestion it was better. Change is crucial, those that resist it will be left behind. Facilitate change.
— Do not get a short haircut with a fringe. This style does not suit you.
— Go easy on the fillers.
Love yourself girl or nobody will, Best,
I am writing to you from May 2020. We are not even halfway through the year and yet it has already been the most difficult, both personally and globally. The worst part? I have no idea what’s next for us.
It’s hard to imagine when and where you may be reading this from, a house on the moon maybe? Does teleportation exist yet?
Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure that fundamentally, you’re the same person as before, just better! As you are currently studying Psychology/Sociology at university, I hope you can finally put a name to what has been your lifelong passion.
This is also the perfect opportunity to remind you of a few things you learnt during the solitude of lockdown that I hope you have, and will continue to implement throughout the rest of your life:
Don’t try to find eternal happiness. It is a capitalistic conspiracy. Happiness is an emotion, therefore, is temporary and not a state of being. Peace is a better, more fulfilling and achievable alternative. Enjoy this as much as possible because there is no time like the present.
The best and most important things take a lot of time and effort, but do not procrastinate them because they become more difficult when left abandoned.
Have low expectations, that way everything exceeds your hopes.
Spend time with your wonderful friends and family, and love them all the same.
Lifelong learning is essential to existence and the unanswered questions of life make it so rich — and psychologists richer!
In essence, I believe that you know what is best for yourself and you can never truly disappoint me. Keep doing what you’re doing because you’re on the right path ❤
Love, (Present) Paige. Xx
P.S. Remember to read!