I’ve just finished reading a brilliant book about a woman who gets a knock on the head, and wakes up thinking it’s ten years ago. She is shocked by all the things that have changed about her life, and about who she has become.
Like all great books, it got me thinking. If the same thing happened to me, what would the me from 2006 think of the me of today?
In 2006 I had been working for a pensions company for two years. I think I was still working in a payroll team at that point, hand-writing P45s and explaining tax code queries to pensioners. The job was ok; parts of it were interesting and I was ambitious to move up the career ladder. I was living in a one-bedroom flat on the top floor of a converted (haunted) old house, next door to a girl I worked with.
I had just stopped seeing a man who had told me he was married in name only, and living with his wife only because they couldn’t afford to sell the house in the current climate. Both of those turned out to be a lie; he was in fact “happily” married and I found out recently that he successfully used this line (or a version of it) with a string of unsuspecting women, right up to a year or so ago, when his wife finally began divorce proceedings.
I had around 30 piercings, and a small piece of titanium implanted in each forearm. I also had an undercut and red chin-length hair, which you could never actually see because I wore fake hair.
Most of my cash was spent on new hair, new piercings, and the occasional tattoo. When people suggested I might one day grow out of the hair and the piercings, I would tell them no, that this was me. People would advise me that I should get rid of the fake hair if I wanted another promotion at work, and I would tell them I didn’t want to work for a company that would value my appearance over my ability.
In fact, if I’m honest I was using the hair and the piercings as something to hide behind. I would get piercings when I was feeling down or stressed, and the hair was my disguise for several years. It helped me to be confident, but also I felt I didn’t need to worry about my clothing or my makeup while I had crazy hair because nobody was looking at my face or my body while I had a mohawk or glow in the dark hair or whatever else.
If 24-year-old me met 34-year-old me… I’d like to think I would be pleasantly surprised. Being a single parent is not at all what I imagined for my life… but on the other hand, I actually had no real vision for my future. Although I would be disappointed not to have found love and be married with a child, I think I would be bloody proud of myself for having stood up to and walked away from Twunty.
I had a massive nervous breakdown in 2010 and emerged from that a changed person… a changed person, with a baby. I feel like I’m a completely different person, in every possible way. I’m not entirely sure I would recognise myself now to be honest.
Circumstances over the last few years have forced me to develop a confidence in my actions and abilities I never thought I would have. I had always had airy dreams of being “a writer” but after having S I started this blog. A year later I became self employed, writing for other people and last year I published a book.
I always thought that by the time I was 30 I would “have my shit together” – that I would be a “grown up” and know how to program a central heating system or what to do when there’s a leak. As it happens, I have no clue. I’m an adult, and I have my grown up moments – but I don’t feel like a “grown up” and I definitely don’t have my shit together. But you know what? I’ve come to accept that. I think if we’re honest, none of us feels like we have our shit together!
What about you? If the you from ten years ago met you now, what would you think of yourself?