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Dear Sixteen year old Caroline,
As I reminisce on this my 36th Birthday I thought about all the things I would say to you if you were sitting in front of me as a sixteen-year-old.
First of all, I would say
Don't continue to beat yourself up about the friends you lose when going through school. It is only now I'm older I realise that people change, they want and need different things and just because they are no longer in your life as you move on it doesn't make it your fault. You will struggle with this for many years but be rest assured that you will realise someday that it is all part of life
Try to concentrate a little more in careers class and stop doing your homework for the next class. You might actually find some inspiration as to your future career.
When it comes to travel, you won't travel to Australia like many of your friends but I want you to know you will never regret that decision. I assure you-you will travel to many countries when you are older but it will be with your husband and for your business.
You will choose the path of Occupational Therapy which is such a lovely profession and even though it is not your final career path don't ever look back feeling you made the wrong choice. You made some of the best friends and memories during those years of work and you may never quite get that feeling of belonging to a special group ever again. There are not too many workmates bring out the bagpipes at your leaving do. Those colleagues will remain in your heart forever.
You will meet your husband to be in your eighteenth year which many may say is young. But when you know, you know. He will never let you down and will always support your crazy ideas. Even when you have him putting on chair covers in every hotel in the country. It's a long story but all part of your journey as a couple.
You will become self-employed at the age of 25 and it will be a long hard road. You will cry a lot and wonder why you can't be like other people who work 9-5pm and don't have to worry about work when they clock out at the end of the day. But I urge you not to give up and stay strong in knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Don't beat yourself up about working long hours and not being able to switch off. I don't know very many self-employed business people who aren't this way. So take comfort in that fact.
You will become a mum and it will be the best thing that has ever happened to you. Never feel guilty about time spent away from them for work. They are healthy happy children who love you very much and will know someday that every minute you worked was for them.
There is so much more I could tell you, about friends, boys, family and work but I . will let you figure it all out knowing that it all works out just fine.
Have courage in all that you to
"Courage doesnt mean you dont get afraid, Courage means you dont let fear stop you
Your Older Self