Dear Beck-In-Your-Twenties,

Stop worrying about whether people are judging you. Some are and some aren’t. The ones that judge are the ones that are blinded by their own insecurities. You’ll eventually learn that giving a shit about what other people think is a waste of your precious time and energy, especially when you figure out that the only way to live is through your own truth.

There’ll be a day in November when you’re 21 and it’ll be hot – the type of heat that brings about neuroses like claustrophobia and “I just can’t” in the most stoic of people.  You’ll be on your way to the airport for the last flight test you’ll ever take – the one that passes you to teach others to fly. As it’s done on every drive to the airport since you started flying, anxiety will wrap its hands around your throat and squeeze. It will punch the insides of your stomach over and over again. You’ll want to throw up, but all you’ll do is yawn repeatedly, lest anyone become aware of the fear that has you by the oesophagus. You are brave. But you need to know that proving yourself by doing something that doesn’t fit for you is not proving anything. To anyone. Some anxiety is a message that we need to level up. Some anxiety is a message that the path is not right. Listen to your intuition and start paving another path.

On proving yourself, see my note on the “judginess” of others and its (lack of) relevance to you. The only proof you’re looking for is within and defined by you.

You have the expectation that – because you are now a psychologist – you need to have it all figured out. That you can’t possibly admit to being a little bit broken. That you can’t acknowledge that the shitty parts of life found you, too. This expectation is both nonsense and a little bit narcissistic because you’re not special. You don’t get out of being human just because you have a couple of letters after your name. But I get it. It’s part of the wall you have built both consciously and unconsciously because you’ve being taught that good psychologists don’t have stuff. And you want to be a good one. But that teaching – or your interpretation of that teaching – will paralyse you and delay your own healing. Everyone has stuff, but we are not our stuff. You will learn that your own healing is your greatest source of strength and that it forms the bridge of connection with others who are healing.

And then you’ll finally realise that we are all healing, always. And you’ll let yourself do the work – and keep doing it.

On the practice of psychology … you’ll do too much of it and burn yourself out. It’ll take you five years to admit that and 18 months to recover. You’re not good at admitting stuff. But this lesson is worth learning that your ego is not always your friend. You get better at looking in the mirror and seeing your soul clawing for attention in your reflection.

There’ll be a period where your insecurities will lead you to accept far less than a self-respecting woman should in her life. You’ll accept less fun than you deserve. You’ll accept sex as currency for validation. You’ll accept men who have zero relationship skills. You’ll accept co-workers who bully you. You’ll accept self-talk that reinforces all of the above. This only changes because you realise that perfection has been pimping you out. It’s seduced you into prostituting yourself while making you pay for its promises, and always left you empty and wanting more.

Grief doesn’t disappear. This will surprise you, but what will surprise you most is how love continues to grow after death.

Your parents are fallible. This will surprise you, but what will surprise you most is how this realisation introduces you to two of the most remarkable people in your life. You have not met them before now because you were convinced of the masks you had them wearing.

You’re not fat. The concept of fat will be one you’ll struggle with beyond your twenties, but it shifts every time you remember that the letters “f” and “a” and “t” are meaningless when it comes to self-worth. Eat until you’re full. Eat because that’s how you feed your brain. Eat because food is life, not an indicator of your value or contribution as a human. Oh, and earl grey tea is not a food group and lemon meringue fudge is a “sometimes” food.

It doesn’t have to be so serious. Seriously. The lighter your approach, the easier the work. The deeper the rest. The more joyful the play.

It will get harder than you think you can handle on more than one occasion. Okay, it may last a whole year here and there, if I’m honest. But you do handle it. And when you look back, you wouldn’t change the darkness because it’s only through it that you could see where you needed to bring light.

You’re allowed to ask for help but your stubbornness will delay this. And then you’ll be disappointed when the people you’d like to help you are unavailable. And then you’ll find those who are available and you’ll be helped. Beyond what you ever thought you needed. Some people who were unavailable will astound you with their kindness in future. And you’ll make the choice to let go of others whose season in your life had reached its natural end. This is when you’ll get that expectations of others are to be held mindfully and compassionately, and that not everyone who comes into your life will stay (and that’s a good thing). Sometimes it’s your choice, sometimes it’s theirs.

You commit to following your heart and that’s the most beautiful offering you can give yourself (and you stick to it!).

I forgive you for what you didn’t know before you knew it. I acknowledge you for how bloody hard you try and all you give. And from this end of life looking back to you, I’m doing my best to create a future for you that you want to live. It’s working. Future Beck is pretty damn happy!

Please remember you’re okay. Life is not always okay. But you are.

Love,

Future Beck xo

Letter to My 20-Something Self

      Letter My 20-something Self