A letter to myself in my early twenties (ie. if I could send it back through time). It is my thirtieth birthday on Monday.
Phew! What a lot we have to talk about. First of all, I know that this is not what you pictured for yourself at age 30. You think you will be married with kids by now, and settled into a little home of your own - but instead, you will be living on the opposite side of the planet, far from home and family - still pretty much the same angsty, vague, odd creature as ever, just in a very different environment.
I know in your vague way, you thought everything would happen pretty much to plan, without you having to do much in the way of forward thinking or being proactive. Well, you were wrong, sister. I am happy to tell you that you will become a bit more organised with the passage of time (although not much), but you are still as emotionally messy as ever. Oh by the way, you like cooking now! Who would've thought it.
At least you did make it overseas, and you are now an official London resident, although still dreaming of Melbourne. And you will meet a very special guy who will make you work harder at being a good person/partner than anyone in your life ever did. The warmth of his arms and the trust of his heart will be some consolation in this hard-edged world, and he will inspire you to love creatively.
A few things to bear in mind: Work isn't that important. Being cool isn't at all important. Most of those blokes aren't worth your tears. The ones who are, you should be kinder to. The people who matter, still matter, perhaps more than ever.
You are braver than you think (and feel).
Men and women are not as similar as you think, and you can't expect all men to be as honest and trustworthy as your own father and brothers (that was a hard lesson).
Music is consolation. Art is consolation. The natural world is a consolation and an eternal source of wonder - don't be so caught up in the urban landscape, glamorous and gritty though you think it is.
I have to tell you, it will take you until your late twenties to feel comfortable with your style. Although I think that combat pants/chinese pyjama top combo is rockin', you won't start dressing like a woman until you meet the guy who brings it out in you. However, those op-shop clothes and clumpy shoes are not really that flattering.
Your svelte body shape is one a lot of girls envy - be aware of this and don't slouch so much. Take more pride in your body and look after it better.
Lastly, a lot of stuff that you think matters, really doesn't. It doesn't matter that much if you get some things wrong, and some things right. This is the nature of life, especially your twenties. I am proud of you for stumbling through to a good Uni and getting your degree, and for never being out of work since (although you should be careful of that trap of being defined by your job). I am proud that you don't let anyone else define your tastes, and that you have discovered and are devouring art-house film and indie music.
You will come to like Bob Dylan. And Cat Stevens, and people you currently think are crap. You will realise that a whole load of interesting stuff happened, musically and otherwise, before you were born.
Life doesn't get easier. It gets more complicated. There are literally truck-loads of forms that need to be filled out. Modern life does suck as much as you think it does.
Above all, relax, baby! You worry far too much. You need to learn to be comfortable in your skin. You need to learn to love yourself. Actually, that advice still stands.
Here's to the next ten years of this work-in-progress.
Love, your nearly-30-year-old-self.