Hello 20 year old Dawn,
It’s me, a much wiser and more experienced 25 year old Dawn. Let’s sit down and have a little chat about life and all that nonsense. You see life in many ways isn’t going to go your way over the next five years, and you’re going to learn some things in the next years.
Right now, you’re probably panicking a small bit. You just finished your 3rd year college exams and are starting to stress about life decisions about whether to stay in Limerick or emigrate after 4th year, and you just don’t know what to do. Well, here’s what happens- you get a 1.1. Honours degree, get accepted for a MA programme (which you never quite clicked with) and eventually end up working in a bike shop for a while.
That boyfriend that you were crazy about- you ended up breaking up in a few years. He’s a great guy but not right for you. Pretty soon, you meet the right guy, fall hard and have a long distance relationship while you work in Dubai for a year. You end up getting engaged after 8 months together, and you move back to Ireland. A long year of unemployment, internships, family troubles, diabetes and depression follow, but there are good things as well.
So life isn’t going to go quite to plan over the next five years but what I really want to say is to stop wasting time thinking so much about it all. You will end up letting all this build up in your head and feel like you are making the wrong choices. Combine this with your self-esteem issues and it’s no surprise you end up doubting yourself so often. So relax and accept some of these things, instead of questioning everything.
Life just happens. Other people will do different things with their lives because they can afford to or are willing to take a bigger risk than you, and that is okay. Stop feeling inferior because other people did J1s or went travelling for months, while your idea of a good holiday is lots of good museums, tasty food and a comfortable bed at the end of the night. Stop feeling uncool because your idea of a good night out is a gig, a few drinks afterwards and some intellectual but mostly jesting political debate. It’s okay to be nerdy as hell, it’s okay to hate nightclubs and its okay to find drug users as boring as fuck. It’s okay to like books more than nightclubs, tea more than alcohol, and a quiet home-cooked meal with friends more than roaring at them across a noisy nightclub… and stop letting other people make you feel like crap because you like different things to them.
Mostly importantly, it’s okay to feel vulnerable and a little bit stupid. Everyone else feels insecure at times, and you’re no different. You will struggle with depression in the coming years but you will come out knowing you are so much stronger and braver than you could ever imagine.
You can do this,
25 year old Dawn