Before you read this rather personal piece of writing, I’d like to take the opportunity to ask for your support. I would like some real good to come from my ride, and so I have set up a JustGiving page for MS-UK. One very special woman who was close to me had MS, a horrible disease which currently has no cure. I was riding my bike for all those people who would not be able to. If you can, I would so appreciate it if you could sponsor me here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jo-goodall2
I’m writing this to you in what will be your 30th year. Scary, eh. To be honest, this isn’t something I’d normally consider doing, however, I’m coming to the end of a bike ride. A big bike ride, let’s say. I’ve been on my own for nearly three weeks now and that’s both, a lot of thinking time and a lot of time to listen to podcasts (you don’t know what these are right now, but don’t worry you will become low-key obsessed).
So, ten year old Joey. You’ll just be about to start big school. Don’t worry; moving from a class of nine kids to a year group of 180 isn’t as scary as it sounds. You’ll love school, I promise. Mostly because you’ll make the three best friends anyone could ask for. You’ll be still the best of friends twenty years later. You’ll go through everything with them; first holidays without the ‘rents, first boyfriends, first jobs, first heartaches, and they’ll be there the whole way.
Honestly, you don’t know it now, but you couldn’t imagine doing life without them. But whatever you do, don’t worry. Don’t worry that you’re not “doing life” at the same pace as them – enjoy their relationships, their marriages, and soon to be, babies (so exciting!) it will all come to you too, one day. It may not seem like it now but you’ll be someone’s wife too and someone’s mother. And you’re going to be a great mum, after all, you’re learning from the best.
You will also realise, over time, that you have the best family anyone can ask for. Two supportive, selfless and generous parents and two talented, loving, and sometimes annoying(!) sisters. People will comment on how close you are as family; this is a good thing. A great thing. Don’t lose it. Do everything you can to show them how much you love and care for them. You might not show your emotions as well as your sisters, but that’s ok, it doesn’t mean you care any less.
School will be fun. University, perhaps not as much as you would have hoped. But that’s ok, you’ll have a bumpy ride to begin with, with your health, but I promise it gets better: you make some more life-long friends, so treasure that. You’re a hard worker; resilient; and strong. It will stand you in good stead over these next few years. The doctors will say; “you’ll grow out of it” after you take a few too many knocks to the head (sorry about the indent on your forehead: Miss Tyler’s cooking class, Year 9 – Dad even got a speeding ticket for you that day!) But actually, you’ll learn to deal with it, just get used to the sight of the back of an ambulance!
Your twenties will be fun. You’ll have your ups and downs, but just go with them. Ride the waves and enjoy it. They’ll fly by and before you know it, you’ll be here, hurtling towards your thirties. Take time to appreciate the people around you and enjoy what you do. You won’t find your stride straightaway, but when you do, you’ll realise it. You’ll be able to combine something that you’re good at with something that you love, and you’ll finally feel like you’re making a difference to people and their lives. And that’s what matters, isn’t it?
And Joey, take the time to look back and appreciate what you’ve achieved. You’ll realise that you’re not very good at this, but when you do reflect, give yourself a moment. A pat on the back. Like I say, I’m writing this at the end of a big bike ride. It’s 1,000 miles long. You probably don’t appreciate just how far that is now, but trust me, it’s a flipping long way! And you did it. On your own. On your bike. Incredible.
This ride has given me this time to reflect, before we hurtle on into the next big opportunity. And yes, that maybe a daunting one but it’s also exciting and unpredictable. Who knows what will happen after spending a year at Oxford University; you will actually visit the University twelve years earlier, but won’t find a course that is right for you – well, now you have, so go get it. Enjoy it. But stay true to yourself, you know who you are now and what you want. You just have to go get it.
So, ten year old me, all I can say is; be proud, you’ve done so well to get this far. Take the time to appreciate your successes, learn from your failures, and love your family and friends with all your heart. You’re going to be fine. You’re going to be more than fine, in fact. And don’t worry, a few years of braces will sort those teeth out and yes, you’ll grow into your forehead. It’s going to be ok.
Lots of love,
Your wiser, older self xxx