Back To The Feature Part XIX – Jacqui Gracey

Letters to Your Younger Self

This week we are joined by Jacqui Grey who has he own blog at as ever we get a personal insight into her life when she writes to her younger self…

Dear Quel,

Jacqui at 18

I would start this letter ‘how are you?’, but as you are me, just younger, I guess I already know. I know how grown up you are, except when you try too hard to fit in; I know how confident you are, except for those insecurities going round your head you never let others see. And I know themistakes you have made, the regrets you already have. But I also know you are doing fine – just don’t live in your own head too much, as you have some amazing people around you.

I know how you say you have it all planned – you will go to Uni, become a lawyer, have a high-flying career and never want children. Don’t have a maternal bone in your body. But I know that a lot of that is just worry that you would never find someone to love or who would love you back. I still tend to plan for the worst, in the hope that life might deliver something better, but don’t set your sights too low. You can not only love but are loveable – and we really hit the jackpot! You will not only have a tall, dark, handsome and intelligent husband, but 4 (yes, I said FOUR) beautiful boys. The one down side is that everyone you  know now will never let you forget you said you never wanted children!

While this might seem a lot to take on board, the fact that life can turn out the opposite to how we think, don’t ever stop planning for thefuture. There are thousands of options ahead of you, and by having goals and working towards them you are creating ever increasing opportunities for yourself. I am still planning for our future – although now it is to give my kids the best start in life; to retire early and see theworld; and to plan an amazing holiday for my 50th (I know that sounds ancient, but don’t worry, I’m just giving myself 17 years to save…)

Stay a cynic, but trust your good friends. Be open to love, but not naïve. I know how lazy you can be, and the adult in me thinks I should tell you to work harder, but actually just enjoy it. You will be pretty busy in a few years, so enjoy your quieter days. Though while you do pretty well just winging it, you will need to learn to actually put some effort in now and then!

I wish I could tell you the lottery results, or what day not to drive your new (second hand) car on, but that may all change where you end up, where I am today, which I have to say is pretty amazing. So instead of giving advice, I will ask a favour. Please always try to see the silver lining. Some things may be tough, you may get hurt, you may feel lonely and confused, but there are a thousand times more good moments tobe had.

We were lucky to grow up in a loving family, and you will create one of your own soon too. Life will be busy, chaotic and without much sleep (your tendency of doing things at 2am doesn’t really change, I just now have to get up in the morning too…) People will look to you for solutions, you will have to learn how to multitask, how to be domesticated, nurturing, professional and in control, and it will be a privilege and the most rewarding rollercoaster you can imagine.

So in short, just be yourself. And thank you.


Jacqui at 33

P.S. You do actually get used to calling yourself this in future – it’s a work thing!

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