Dear me; a letter to myself just before I collected my A-Level results
They told you that your results today would dictate the rest of your life, that everything rides on the content of the envelope resting in your hand; your successes and failures categorised by a letter between A and E. But know, they are only letters and good or bad, they are a key to one of many doors which you can now open; even the worst results still make you step over a threshold into a new chapter of life.
You studied, you worked hard, despite all the distractions of teenage life and for that I still commend you. You did your best and that is more than OK. But remember life isn’t always about hard work; it’s also about friendships, family, experiences and fun – without those things, you don’t have a life at all. So, as you take on your next adventure whatever that may be, remember to live as hard as you work. Life is a balancing act and one without the other is the quickest route to unhappiness.
Let me tell you now, you will be disappointed with the contents of the envelope. Despite your efforts, you didn’t achieve the grades you strived for. But here’s another thing – no matter the grades, you would always have been disappointed because you aim so dam high. You aim for the planets far beyond everyone else, and even when you inevitably fall among the stars, you barely take a moment to look around at the beauty of where you are.
That’s not to say don’t aim high – point that rocket and take off. But understand that success is not just achieving more than everyone else. The richness of your life will not be judged by the figure on your bank statement, but the experiences, words and actions of your heart.
These grades are just the next step in a path you've been building your whole life. It's one of the bigger steps, I'll give you that, but one of many you'll climb in the years ahead. Slabs will continue to be laid, even when you don't know where you're going and nothing is set in stone. When you feel unsteady, stop and let the path shift with every decision you make. Welcome the unexpected, accept the unpredictable, change it up sometimes and go back if you have to. But don’t follow anyone else’s path but your own.
I won’t sugar coat it; the next ten years are hard. Enjoy right now – celebrate those incredible grades because they are good enough; everything about you is. In the next decade, you’re going to change beyond recognition and I’m afraid go through hell and back doing it. But there are many moments of joy, clarity and laughter to look forward to. You will meet people that will stick by you for life, see parts of the world you never dreamed of and push yourself harder than you ever released you could. Take risks, seek change and never settle for anything less than you deserve.
These grades are only the beginning of a new chapter, not a roadmap of your life. Drive wherever you want and enjoy the journey. And most importantly don’t worry so much – nothing in life is perfect and you end up exactly where you were always meant to be.
All my love,
x x x