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A letter to my pre-pandemic self

Dear past me,

Stop whatever you’re doing right now and buy stocks in zoom…I know you don’t know what that it is yet, but trust me, you will be best friends with it by the end of the year. 

Remember how you always said you wished to live through an important historical moment? Well, buckle up because this year there will be a global pandemic. It will be earth shattering and leave a wake of destruction that is unprecedented. (You will get incredibly sick of that word by the way). But, you will get through it. 

All your plans for next year will be turned upside down, shaken up and spat back out again. All of them. The closest you will get to sipping Sangria on your year abroad will be via video call; yes, it will sting, and returning home will feel like you are stuck in a life that you thought you had outgrown. This feeling will pass. Staying in Edinburgh will lead you to the most unexpected, but serendipitous flatmates and I promise you will forge some of your happiest memories in Edinburgh with them! 

This year, you will question things you never believed would be necessary. A walk with a friend will quite literally become a matter of life and death – and no, I’m not exaggerating. Stress and anxiety will creep into your thoughts far more than you have ever experienced before, and you will cling to snatches of phone calls with your  grandparents and vulnerable friends, wondering when you will see them again. But you will see them again! Just keep going. 

Please don’t be scared about losing friends. Of course, some relationships will fade a bit, but ironically new friends will come in spades and old friendships will be strengthened like never before, so don’t push them away! There is no “right way” to stay in touch with someone: reach out, send those memes, say hi, and go for many, many walks.  

Also, I’ll save you the heartbreak: you won’t have a sweet lockdown romance. So, maybe skip all those painful bumble dates? Don’t be disheartened though, you will realise that the only person you need to get to know right now is you. And what a long journey of self-discovery you will go on! 

At first, this will feel like the loneliest and most uneventful time of your life. Of course, in many ways it is, but please, don’t wallow in it. This is the longest time you will ever have spent on discovering exactly what makes you shine. So soak it up, read all those books you have been curious about, explore your hometown and get creative (oh and look up Jessie Burton – her books are the gems you are searching for). 

But whatever you do, don’t fall for the productivity trap. Just because you haven’t learnt python, gotten abs and baked banana bread all in one day doesn’t mean you are a failure. Do you even want to do any of those things? Focus on tomorrow, regardless of how “productive” Instagram thinks your day has been.

Impossible slumps will come. Days will stretch into weeks. But stop trying to break free! Eventually you will get that internship you have been searching all those months for, and you will get all that work done (even if you have to get every extension). Resist the urge to control the passing months, and surrender to the rhythm of your life. It’s okay that it’s slow!

For now, I still don’t know when the world will press play again – but I do know that day is coming. There are even three vaccines now! And remember, after the Spanish Flu came the ‘Roaring Twenties’…

Love,

Zara. 

Image: Mediamodified via Pixabay