Dear Lilian,

I’m not sure how to begin, because this whole situation is rather complicated. Basically, this letter is from you, 20 years in the future. I know it might be a bit difficult for you to understand this, because, after all, time travel has not yet been invented. Even, now, in 2012, no one has actually perfected the art, as far as I know. At least not for actual people, but the other day I saw an advert on (this doesn’t exist yet, in fact, you’ve never even heard of the internet, have you?) that said “Write a letter to your 14-year-old self”.  I’m assuming that if I post it on their site you will be able to read it back in your time. It hasn’t been explained how this will work, but I expect it will be a bit like something from an episode of Doctor Who – which I think you have seen by now, if I remember rightly. I know the Daleks scared you, but really, they’re nothing to  be afraid of. In the end you’ll find them quite sweet and amusing, honest.

Having watched many episodes of Doctor Who, I’m actually a bit worried about sending you this letter, in case its presence interferes with the space-time continuum, but perhaps it will be OK as long as we don’t actually meet face-to-face.

I think I’m probably supposed to use this letter to give you some advice. I expect you want to know what you’ll do in the future, but I don’t really think it’s a good idea for you to know. Don’t worry (I know you worry a lot, and I’m afraid you will continue to do this), nothing really bad happens to you – well, not so far, anyway. Of course, you go through some bad times, but you experience many happy ones as well.

I know there are things that make you unhappy, and people that are unkind to you. I can only tell you  that you will find better people out there in your future. Also, you will be glad to know that you and H remain friends for at least the next 20 years. Oh, I must tell you this – she gets married to T! Bet you never saw that one coming!

Perhaps I should give you some advice, otherwise you’ll probably blame yourself later for withholding information. So, in general, it is wise not to worry too much about what other people think about you – it only causes you to live a smaller, less-fulfilled, life that you might otherwise have done. Also, try not to take everything quite so seriously. I’m not sure you can do anything about this, because it just seems to be the way our mind works, but do try to be a little bit more light-hearted about things if possible. Thirdly, always try to think rationally, even about your own feelings. As I think you may already be realising, it turns out that, despite your mouse-like demeanour, you have very strong feeling about certain things and particular people. Try not to let your feelings get in the way of acting  – and (NB) speaking – sensibly.

One last point – don’t be too hard on yourself. For a young person you’ve already been through an awful lot, medically speaking, and this affects you more than you realise. It’s OK to be kind to yourself. I’m sorry to say that sometimes you’re going to feel and believe that you’re a failure (perhaps you already do?), but you’re not. You’ve already achieved so much. Perhaps it will help you to know that our parents are proud of you, even if they don’t tell you this for another 16 years. Oh, and also, keep practising your flute and the piano and continue with your singing. Your music skills are going to come in very useful in the future, but perhaps not in the way you might think.

Lots of love from,

Lilian (aged 34)

P.S. You might want to think about learning Chinese, Hebrew and a bit about military history – particularly about ships.


This post was written in response to the Daily Prompt from the WordPress Daily Post.

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