Whilst being in Dubai the past few days, I’ve had time and space for the first time in seven months to think, digest and properly grieve for all that’s been going on, not just with me but with those around me. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to find peace and accept the place I’m in right now emotionally, physically, finacially and geographically.
I have always been a worrier. I like to be organised, know what’s happening and what comes next. Anything other than this makes me feel on edge, anxious and out of control, however, these last few months have shown me that there have been times in my life that I’ve avoided due to worry or wasted time worrying about things that are out of my control or simply worrying because my actions may hurt, disappoint or upset those around me.
Although being here is much tougher than I’d imagined, I feel like I’m finding an inner strength to face adversity and take my next steps towards whatever may come next. So, I found myself earlier today thinking, what advice would I give my younger self about how to get through the thing we call life and here’s what I came up with….
Dear little Hannah,
Don’t make five-year, ten-year or any year plans, as much as you’ll grow to hate the saying, life really is a roller coaster and it can’t be predicted. There will be major highs and major lows and all that’s in between, but try to focus on the present and not worry about the ‘what if’s,’ it’s best to just enjoy the ride rather than try to predict what could or might happen. But most importantly, you only have one life, so live it. Appreciate the small things and then the big things will hold even more significance.
Cherish your family, they are your first experience of love and friendship and will teach you all (well, most) of what you need to equip you for life. You will be taught that your friends become your extended family, believe it and cherish them as much as you do your family. They are the people with whom you will experience many things and talk to about the issues that you can’t turn to your family about. Trust them and they will trust you, listen to them and they will respect you. Don’t ever doubt that you won’t make new friends – you will, all over the world, and they will be just as special and significant as those from your childhood. People will come and go in your life for many different reasons but each and every one of them will teach you something, and you will always hold a piece of them with you, good or bad.
You will undoubtedly change as you grow and experience life but your core values and beliefs will remain the same, so stick by them. If someone hurts you, give them a chance, but if they hurt you again, don’t put up with it. You will hurt because of them but stay true to who you are and stand strong in the knowledge that you did all you could have done to be the best friend you could have been. You will ultimately be left surrounded by the people who are your nearest and dearest. Try not to dwell on the past, that will be hard at times but you must find a way to let hurt, pain and negativity go. If you don’t you will spend many years harboring ill feeling which doesn’t help anyone. Don’t become an annoying positive, hearts and flowers person Hannah, but do try to find the good and positives in things, avoid stress and just enjoy your life.
Your Grandma Mim always said you’d been here before, you will be mature for your age which at times you will resent but you know what, who cares…you will have many stages in your life where you will dislike things about yourself and you either have to change it, live with it or get over it. There are things you can change and have control over and those that you simply can’t. You will learn things about people close to you that will alter the way you see the world, you will need to rebuild trust, learn not to bottle things up and find ways to move forward. Never doubt that you will be surrounded by people who are there to pick you up and make sure you move forward. Out of all of this, you will learn the importance of forgiveness and that is something very important.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me
Like a hand print on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end,
I know you have rewritten mine
By being my friend.”