Wednesday, 4 January 2012

"Dear Me: A Letter to my 16 Year Old Self"

My friend Maren posted this a few days ago and I absolutely loved the idea of this post. Aparently a book was published called Dear Me: A Letter to my Sixteen Year Old Self’, edited by Joseph Galliano, which is a collection of 75 different letters by a variety of different celebrities (actors, comedians, writers, etc) writing their own version of a letter to their sixteen year old selves.

The idea of writing a letter to your former teenage self is such a unique way to reflect on what was most likely a time of self doubt and self-absorption and reflect on all of the lessons you’ve learned since then, so I just had to write one myself, and here it is, my verison of "Dear Me: A Letter to my 16 Year Old Self"

Hi Anja,

I am writing this while I am nearly 31 and you just signed your contract to start your apprenticeship in a few month time (right after school). Never one to let a challenge go, you had to pick one of the hardest apprenticeships out there, with the constant changing tax laws.  When you start there you will be the youngest in the class, the baby as they call you but the guys are great and supportive. You need to study a lot more then them, with their A-levels they do have an advantage over you but don't worry, you finish with a decent grade after those 3 years. You love the college that goes with the apprenticeship but not the office environment. You get through that in your own way and finished with the best grade anyone in that office had in a few years. Just stick with it no matter how hard it may seem, it will get much better in year 2 in the office.

While you are still in school for the last few month, you should really focus on it. I know that so far things just went your way, always have in fact. You never had to study much and got great grades but you are slacking right now, read the signs when you get vocabulary test back that is 4. It does not affect your future as you can take your A-level if you want to and you end up with the best highschool diploma of your class but it will annoy you later on in life to know that you could have done better. I know that your thoughts are with your sport shooting career, so I know you won't bother to take my advise anyway.

I know that you believe that you should have made the state national team (and I agree you should have). Well guess what you are not gonna make it this year either. You don't realize yet that you are not wanted there, so you train with the 'B Team' for the next year again. You love it there, the guys are fun and the trainers are great. In a years time you will win the State Championship and your results at the German Championships are even better. With that you force yourself in the state national team. You never feel at home though, you can't relate to most members and you don't feel supported from the trainers. There are good and fun time though, the trip to Rupolding was great and a lot of fun. By the end of the year, you will fall in a big hole (caused by the trainers in the national team) and get kicked out. It'll take you years to recover from that but you have amazing friends within the SG Seesen, they are both supportive and patient. You will make a great comeback a few years later, showing every one that they can't break you and then you'll retire from your career at 21, after you showed the guys in the National Team that they were wrong about you, it's a great satisfaction. Those years before that are going to be tough but you will get through this.

Oh and remember how you just quit the junior fire fighters to focus on your career in sport shooting? Before you are 19 you will be back with the firefighters. They are a lot of fun and make great friends. You have a great time with them and even put out some firees. Oh and you become a trainer for the kids shooting too when you turn 19. Best results in the testing without even learning (in fact they even use you to demonstrate and explain everything to the other people in the course).

You are a natural when it comes to kids, too. They just love you.

You are wondering why you retire from sport shooting at age 21? Well that is an amazing story... Remember when you were about 10 and read about High School exchange programs with the US? You always wanted to go and it was not possible. Then after your apprenticeship finished you considered a year as Au pair in the US but you didn't go (be glad as it was not meant to be and would mess up the future) well 2 years later you will go to the US and spend an amazing 13 month with a family in Nanuet, NY. You gonna look after 4 kids who will become so much more then family in this year. Don't get me wrong the year will be tough, your dad will pass away in this year after battling cancer for 5 years and there will be disagreements with your hostmom but you learned all about the american way of life that you always wanted, you made great friends, saw amazing places and found a second home. Leaving after that year will be tough for you. You will cry for month because you are so homesick and because you miss your kids so much.

You are not going to stay in Germany either, you will move to Newcastle in the UK (remember when you were 13 and just got home from visiting Aunt Hilli in England and what you said then? You said one day I will live in England, and you will). You will work for Convergys and you fall in love with your job, first as a CSR and then as a TL. You find amazing friends here and a career path that fullfills you but after 8 years in the UK you miss your mom and brother more and more whenever it's time to part again. You are considering moveing back to Germany and we will see if and how that goes. You still dream about moving back to the US one day. It's the one dream unfulfilled so far. You loved your career with Convergys and were devestead (still are) that you've been made redundant 6 month ago. You found a new job straight away, you are always lucky with that, never been unemployed in your life.

You will travel quite a bit, that is until you get Jessie (your Toller) and 18 month later Lily (your 2nd Toller). Now you only travel were they can go too. They are your family and you don't like to leave them with someone else. You are still a country girl... You like going out in Newcastle once in a blue moon but you prefer the nature and outside. You have a little courtyard that you transformed into a garden more or less and you grow your own vegetable. You have a good idea of what kind of life you want to lead, you are independent and believe in your self. Continue to just do that. Follow your way. Your mom and dad are very proud of who you have become.

The road ahead has not always easy but things happen for a reason and if they would not happen, a lot of the great memories you are going to make would not happen either and a lot of the people you met, you would not meet either.


PS. You might have figured that you never made the Olympic Team for the 2000 Olympic Games but if you had stayed in Germany after the year in the US you might have made the 2004 Olympic Team, the chance was there, you were still amazing for your one comabck shoot with no training in a year (you trunced the competition) but you moved to the UK and instead  have tickets to watch the 2012 games in London and I do believe it was the right choice.  

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