Jane Merrick tweeted the above as it’s 20 years today since the general election of 1997 which gave new Labour its landslide victory. Whilst I made a response I realised that there was so much more that I wanted to say to 24 year old me.
Dear Me in 1997
Tonight watching the election results is one of the best times you’ll ever share with Dad, you’ll never feel this optimism and hope for our country’s political future again, so savour every moment. By coincidence you are in London at a conference next to Buckingham palace on the day Blair leaves office and Brown succeeds him, you will skip lunch and join the crowd to see the two PMs. Twenty years later you are still as interested in politics just frustrated and angry with the political system.
At present, your boss at work really is a horrible bitch, it’s your first teaching job and you’re not sure what to do. By Christmas you cannot cope with her and leave without a job to go to. It works out brilliantly you’ll end up at your old secondary school and have the best years of your career, your colleagues will be the best you ever work with and you will have many happy times. The boss bitch suffers a nervous breakdown and her husband walks out on her because of her unreasonable behaviour, you only feel pity for her.
You’re feeling lonely and just can’t seem to find anyone special. Later this month you go on a school exchange to Crete and meet theHeadmaster’s nephew, you enjoy a holiday romance for the next few months between the two countries and become so much happier and confident. Next year you meet Mr S on a night out with friends, you’ll move in together a few months later and marry in Rome in the week of your 30th birthday. As a couple there will be lots of amazing holidays including two Ashes tours of Australia and the Caribbean. Having a family will be the most heart breaking journey, there will be lots of fertility treatments and these will be the darkest, saddest times of your life. Don’t give up, you will eventually adopt the two most amazing children, life will get its happily ever after.
At the moment you live in Cardiff because of your job. When you leave it you return to Bristol for family and friends and this is where you live until 2004. In a surprising move you and Mr S decide to leave the city and to have a more relaxed, simpler life in a small rural seaside town. Its the best move you make and you’ll be your happiest in a small, friendly community. The move leads your career in a new direction too, you become a special needs teacher and in 20 years time you’ll be balancing being mum with your part time job as Head of School!
You will still have a few years left with your grandmothers, both live to an old age and see you happily settled with Mr S. It’s Nanny’s last Christmas when you and Mr S get engaged, a happy memory as you announce the engagement on Christmas Day, following the proposal at his mum’s memorial tree in the hospital garden. Grandma will develop dementia and she will no longer see you as her granddaughter but sister. You will be proud to have had these two women in your life and will still miss them. Your relationship with mum improves over the years and unbelievably she becomes a home making Grandma knitting clothes and quilting for her grandchildren. Her and Dad are incredibly supportive with the adoption and show unconditional love to your children.
Twenty years later you’re still in contact and see your old school friends although none of the trio live in Bristol anymore and visits are fewer. However when you do meet up it feels like no time since you were last together.
You’re going to your cousin’s wedding later this year, the date doesn’t seem important but you will never forget it as it is the day when Princess Diana dies in an accident in Paris. You’ll go to see the flowers at Kensington Palace with a friend and be moved by the scene. The Olympics comes to London in 2012 and it’s amazing, you’re so proud to be British and decorate your house with union jacks and cheer in the streets when the Olympic flame is brought to your town. Sadly the pride at being British is seriously shaken by Brexit and the politics of 2016. There are some brilliant tv series to be watched in these 20 years, This Life, Sex and the City, Friends, Cold Feet, Strictly Come Dancing etc. There is also a series of children’s books published, Harry Potter, you will cry more at the end of the final book than for any book you have ever read. You still follow Bristol City but despite coming so close in 2008, they haven’t made the premiership yet, on the positive they have been much better than the gas in these two decades! England fail in every major football championship. When you meet Mr S you start to share his interest in cricket, this leads to watching lots of cricket and the relief that sometimes the England cricket team is very good, 2005 is a vintage year. Whilst you do the odd aerobics class now you’ll be amazed to hear that despite hating cross country at school you start running and do races, even half marathons for fun! It’s your stress buster and all important me time!
I’ll leave the rest of the future as a surprise but honestly it’s remarkably good, in 20 years time you will be happy. You’ve never learnt how to walk in heels or been able to grow your hair long but you are you, a genuine person with family and friends you love dearly.
Enjoy the next 20 years, embrace it, love it and live it with passion.
Love Me in 2017