Open letter to 20 yr old me

When a trending hashtag talks of open letters to yourself, it makes you reflect on what has been, what happened and what you hoped for.

Dear Joanne, 

You’re 20 and if I know you, you think you could rule the world right now! Every 20 year old feels the same.  I want to  tell you about the things you are going to come up against. You are, very soon, going to meet the man that you are going to marry. I know, never thought that you would ever get married did you but he will be right in front of you and you will fall for him.

He has two children and like any step-parent, there will be good days and bad days with the children but 99% of those days will be absolutely amazing. They will grow to be your children and your friends. That in itself is a gift.

You will get engaged to your man 6 weeks after living together and introducing him to your family. Friends will feel it is far too quick, but you know what….? Sometimes things are just meant to be and this will be. You will marry almost 18 months after first getting together. A small wedding, reception at home and UK honeymoon. 

Your life together will be challenging. Due to your shifts there will be numerous times where you literally go weeks without seeing much of each other but you make it work as you are both so committed to each other. You will share your holidays and weekends away. You will spend time with his family and yours. Life will be great. 

Your gorgeous husband will decide that he wants a lifestyle change and you will be excited at the challenge that comes your way. You will work your way round the UK to see if there are any feasible options there to achieve what you both are looking for. You will be looking at the USA but when your husband suggests Australia and an advert in your nursing journal says the same thing… know fate has a played a hand. 

You will hit your early thirties and pretty soon you will be in Brisbane. Enjoy your life there. Take every opportunity you can. Meet new people. Accept the culture. Go all in, green and gold! Become fully blown aussie. Be prepared for everything life throws your way because it is going to throw you one hell of a curveball. 

Your curveball is an auto-immune disease. Not you, but your husband. You will deal and beat cancer and now it seems like it is his turn. Know that your husband will fight to his very core to beat this thing but when unsuccessful, he is brave, strong and determined and goes out on his terms. He will plan everything for you for after he is gone. That takes some bravery to do that. He will ensure that you are set up with home safety and everything needed at the house.

Your life will have a huge hole in it. It will hurt and the pain will stay there forever but in time it will get easier. Everyone will tell you that. You will find ways to keep busy. You will find things that you never knew you could do and you will be successful (even if you only sell one book, you still made it!!!). The thing I would encourage you to remember is to stay in touch with your friends. Some of your friends will drift off after your husband and that is okay, it is their way of coping. But the ones that stay with you, keep them close. 

Life will change for you to a new normal. Find your feet and try to enjoy that. Moving on is a strange term, but you will learn to move forward. Know that your husband will have told you that in your many discussions. 

Enjoy quality time with your family. Laugh hard. Love deep and remember well.