Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Life Begins at 22...

When I was 22, I was full of dreams with absolutely no idea how to make them happen.

I had just left university with a good degree and came back home to the joys of endless job applications. It seemed I had the double-whammy of being over-qualified and under-experienced for every job I applied for. I'd gone to university with my dreams of being an actress firmly in place, but after one audition where the casting director said, 'No. Next!' before I'd even spoken and another where I was the only candidate and still didn't get the job, my confidence hit rock bottom and I quickly shelved my career ambitions.

I wasn't writing then. Or at least, I didn't think I was writing - although my diaries I faithfully kept during that time would disagree. I'd been laughed at for writing when I was 18 years old and didn't try to write fiction again for ten years. I wish I'd had the confidence to tell that person to get lost and carry on with what I loved doing.

When I was 22, I'd also just met someone. I was amazed and overwhelmed that anyone would want to be with me and so when he proposed I accepted straight away. I started to have doubts about it throughout the year but I convinced myself it was just pre-wedding jitters. I wish I'd had the confidence to listen to my gut. It would have saved me from nearly eight years of unhappiness and fear.

What message would I send to my 22-year-old self? Be confident in who you are. Don't worry that you don't have all the answers yet: you're not meant to! Fight for what is important to you - whether anyone else thinks it's important or not. And trust your gut reaction. If something feels wrong, it is. And lastly, even the really awful mistakes (that you make in good faith but wish in time you hadn't) can help you to become stronger, more determined to succeed and a fierce celebrator of life.

LIFE BEGINS AT 22 is a blorgy of sharing to celebrate the launch of BROOKLYN GIRLS by Gemma Burgess. Find out more about the book here and read more LIFE BEGINS AT 22 entries here.

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