What is it about turning 50 that makes you look back on your life? I never did it when I turned 40, and I also hated turning 40 but 50 is different.
You always think, what would I say to myself age 18 if I knew what was ahead? Here is briefly what I would say:
Dear Yvonne (age 18)
You look so excited in that photo when you were 18, and you should be. Life brings you on an incredible self-discovery journey. I know, you couldn’t wait to leave school, but you could have done so much better in your Leaving Cert. But boys caught your attention.
School concentration 0 Boys concentration 10
A hairdressing apprenticeship was waiting for you the Summer you finished school. There was no summer off, it was straight to work. It was the mid-1980’s and all siblings had to work when they left school, college was for the yuppies. You were far from a yuppie.
Your hairdressing training was finished by the age of 21 and you were on the floor in no time, competing with the older stylists – my god, you were so competitive. But I think you knew looking at people working there a long time, it wasn’t for you, and you were right.
Like a lot of Irish people age 18+, you drank alcohol but you didn’t have a good relationship with alcohol and you got yourself into some sticky situations. It took a long time for you to understand what the ‘Fear’ actually meant, it wasn’t a word we used then, we used ‘Oh Shit what did I say last night’- which you experienced many times. But, you know, some people can drink responsibly, and some people can’t, and you learned the hard way. But, you did learn, eventually. Growing up in the 1980s was very much a time infused in drinking alcohol and it seemed so normal to be drunk most weekends.
You have always been yourself and you still have friends from thirty years ago around you plus many new ones. You are a sincere, loyal, funny, truthful friend. And you expect the same back from people around you and sometimes people have let you down when you needed them most. This happens to most people. Life brought you challenges, and you crawled through some of them, cursed the head off some of them, screamed at God over some of them (even though you didn’t believe in God, you prayed to him many times for help) and came out of it all with some crinkles and grey hairs.
You are stronger than you think, why do we doubt ourselves and what we can accomplish? You always felt ‘a want’ in you and a need to be creative. Perhaps this is why you picked the hairdressing trade and you were good. But you wanted more. You traveled with your best friend for a while until sadly that relationship ended after a wild and wonderful adventure that lasted for 13 years. That adventure got you to Sydney for nine years, before that Thailand and your love of traveling began from here when you were in your twenties.
Sydney, Australia will always hold a place in your heart; you have always wanted to go back and you might. Every decade has brought challenges and every wrinkle represents those challenges. Your three children will bring a lot of joy and excitement to your life and also help you make some good decisions. Yes, there will be a lot of challenges but some challenges are worth it because it shapes who you are becoming.
I say becoming because you are not finished yet, you are on another rollercoaster in life and just when you thought, is this it? You decide, no it’s not, and all those challenges the last few decades, all the studying and exams, all the tears from broken relationships, all the family anguish, all the hiding under the covers from the Fear and all the waiting for something worthwhile to happen…. It’s coming now, at age 50. It will just take you longer to get there – It must be the right time now. Everything happens in life for a reason, of that I am sure.
It’s never too late to begin a new life and have new adventures, it makes your life exhilarating and exciting. And now I can’t wait to write to you when you are 60 and share even more new adventures.
Good luck, keep smiling and fate will guide you.
Remember, don’t be so hard on yourself, bad times will pass and time is the best healer.
Lots of love
Yvonne (age 50) 😊