A letter from 24-year-old Robin

Better late than never. I feel so much more positive than this time last year.

Dear 25-year old Robin,

Wow. A quarter of a century. Who saw that coming?

I loved the optimism in the letter form 23-year-old us. I was so sparkly with the thrill of starting something new then. To my past self, you are incredible. Taking that gamble was so brave. Much as this past winter has been hard and I have felt lower and less in control than I have for a long time, it is worth it. It was the year I finally learned to stop running away. I pushed through every set back. I pushed through the first placement being so difficult. I persevered when second placement wasn’t what I wanted. I learned to cope better with group work – I’m still working on that, maybe 25-year-old Robin will have it nailed. I am in my second year, about to embark on placement three – Ambulatory Assessment Unit. I’m terrified. After week 1, I will have to do three long days a week for five weeks to get my hours in, while doing Fridays at uni and trying to juggle all my assignments. I feel I have improved my organisational skills, but I have a way to go yet. Those tentative friendships of a year ago have strengthened and expanded to include Eleanor, Lyndsey and Helen.

It’s funny, reading last years letter, I thought my progress had slowed somewhat. Writing to you now and looking back over the last year, I have realised I was wrong. Once again so much has happened. I have stuck with Nursing, I passed first year with As and A+s. I built friendships. I found a whole other side to myself. A side to myself that loves music. A side that can dance for hours. A side that wants to run wild and make crazy puppets and be a pixie child.  I went to Boomtown Faire, I had an incredible time, I spoke to so many fascinating people and felt so inspired to embrace my creative side more. I went to SolFest and that feeling was only reinforced. I met so many people that I would like to forge friendships with. I hope that you have gone some way towards that. I hope that you’ve found the courage to message people, to spend more time with people, to push yourself that bit further. You are awkward, but awkward is okay, it’s part of who you are. If you can accept that part of yourself other people will too. Unless a lot of people are bullshitting you, you’re more likable than you think.

Binging is less of an issue. I have got the hang of tracking meals. Admittedly it has taken the best part of the year to get to this point. I have finally started PIIT, I hope that you will have stuck with it. I hope you will have done one round of BBG by now. I hope that you will feel comfortable in your own skin and love your body for what it can do. I hope that you’ll have your Jado Brown belt. I am grading on the 25th February. I hope you will look back at the fear that made me put off grading with the rest of my group and smile. I hope that you’ll be going to Advance classes. I hope that you’ll have started being an assistant instructor. I hope that you’ll be more confident with sparring. You know what to do, you just have to breath, relax and let yourself, don’t over think.

I hope you are embarking on the third year of your Nursing degree. I believe in you, I know that you can do this. I hope you’re building on the friendships you have and making a point of talking to other people. I think your optional module will be good for that. I hope you give placements your best, make a point of asking silly questions, when you think of something you’d like to do, make it happen. Talk to people. Practice your skills. Remember what Jess said to you: you’re going to make an amazing nurse. I hope that you’ve started your job, I hope it’s everything you want it to be. I think Mental Health is the direction I want to go in, are you still on board? Have you started looking for graduate jobs yet? I hope you have. I hope things are coming up in Mental Health. I hope that having done an Adult Nursing degree hasn’t held you back. I hope that Placement 4 and 5 have been different to what you’ve done before.

I may not have found Luna last year, but I caught more glimpses of her than I have in a long time. I hope you’re that much closer. I hope that you’ve learned to let go of the residual fear of saying the wrong thing or not being good enough. Everyone feels like that sometimes. Nobody gets it right all the time, it’s okay. You are allowed to ask for help, you’re allowed to lean on your friends. If there’s one thing I hope you achieve over this year, it’s reaching out to other people, Narnie can’t be your only go to person.

Pearl and I have grown closer. Arlo has grown so much stronger over the past year. I hope you can tell me the same in a years’ time. Family is important. For the most part we’re a socially awkward bunch who have problems showing affection. I hope you learn to let people know how much you care about them. It’s worth the effort.

To my future self, good luck. I’m looking forward to seeing where you are and what you’re doing. I hope you’ve embraced your creativity. I hope you’ve written something. I hope you’ve made a puppet. I hope you’ve had moments where you feel completely freed.
I love you,

Your 24-year-old self