Over the past few weeks, teenagers have been receiving their exam grades, and it has made me look back to what I was like as a child, what my goals were and where I am now.

It is incredible how different our lives can map out. For some, they have followed their childhood dreams and for others (including me), for whatever reason, find they are living a life they would never have expected.

Life can be full of ups and downs. We need a bit of resilience and we need to know there are many paths to take in life.

So for this month’s blog, I have decided to write a letter to my younger-self, sharing what I know now.

Dear 18 year old

Dear 18 year old me,

I am writing to you from twenty-five years in the future. I know you have your life mapped out but there is something I need to share with you. I hope you listen as I realise that you are strong minded and when you have made decisions about something that you want to achieve, you are pretty determined.

Firstly, don’t worry, you’re going to be really happy one day, you are going to have a life so far from your comprehension right now that I am not even going to explain how exactly that happens. I can hardly work it all out myself but you have to go with the flow, take the twists and turns, just tumbling through life until you get to where you want to be.

I am not going to lie, there will be shitty bits but nothing you can’t deal with and get through.

My advice to you right now is enjoy what you have, you don’t always appreciate exactly what you do have until you lose it- it is easy to take it for granted. So I want you to dance the night away with your friends, soak in the bath relaxing after a hard day relishing the warmth of the water on your body, kick on and strive to reach the highest level in your sport, work hard and play hard.

I know you have never really been a ‘follower’ anyway, but make sure you stay that way. Have the confidence to do what you believe is right, even though other people may not agree. You have one life and it is yours to live the way you want to, although that is not strictly true because you are going to face some kind of adversity- and you will go through a spell of feeling like you have lost control of everything.

It is when you are 27, you will face an obstacle bigger than you thought was ever possible and your world will turn upside down. The passion, love and drive you have for all the things in your life, particularly competing your precious horses is going to make this beyond tough, It may seem that this catastrophic life change is far too much to cope with, after living an incredibly active life with dreams and goals set high for the future but the truth is, your strengths are needed at this stage of your life more than ever, so dig deep and use them to their full potential and watch yourself grow as a result.

Many of us steer away from change if we have a choice. You will have no choice- well, apart from ‘sink or swim’. Try to focus all what is possible rather than on what you have lost. Most of all, love yourself, no one will be a harsher critic and just remember that others will not give a toss about superficial things such as if you have a soft tummy or a toned tummy or if you have attractive lace knickers or Tena pants. Acceptance will mean you can move forward again. (Oh, if they do care, then they can p*ss off- surround yourself with the right people- this really matters)

As the years go on, the world is changing considerably. You will soon get your first mobile phone, very exciting but be careful that in the future you don’t spend more time with that phone than the people you love. Whilst you are struggling to come to terms with a rather different life, you will see all over social media (luckily you have grown up without this) your friends and acquaintances doing what you wished you were still able to do, just make sure you don’’t spend too much time watching others and wishing things were different. Instead explore what the world has to offer, there are thousands of paths you can take. Find opportunities and grab them.

Although you will have to go through a very dark period with many doors closing; including losing your sport, losing your career and your relationship falling apart (bloody hell- it doesn’t sound fun does it?!) Rest assured, chapters closing will be a chance to start brand new sparkly ones and believe it or believe it not- you will end up with a better man, a career you absolutely love, you will be even closer to your family (and some special friends- old and new), you will be in a position to help many others, you will still have a life jam-packed full of sport plus two little additions that are as life changing as that trauma when you were 27, but his time (thankfully) in the most amazing and special way. They are called Maisie and Chloe- they will positively change your world.

When you are struggling, lean on people if you need to as this will help. It is a strength to ask for help not a weakness. Remember what a difference it makes and offer your help to as many people as you can.

One last thing- don’t waste time comparing yourself to others, just be yourself and when doubt creeps in, kick it right out the way and remember ‘you will miss all the shots you don’t take.’

It is your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.

So it is up to you. Make it happen!

Claire xxx

Blog Author: Claire Lomas