Letter To Your Younger Self

Jayne Wilcock

Jayne Wilcock - Curriculum and Data Manager

After working in Life Insurance, I decided to retrain to become a teacher focussing on 19+ education.
I undertook my PGCE, followed by a Bachelor of Arts in Education and training and have most
recently completed a Masters in Local Government Management. I now work as a Curriculum and
Data Manager and lead the East Riding of Yorkshire Adult Learning Service.

Dear younger Jayne,

As I write this letter to you it is a grey and wet day. The rain is battering against the windows and there is no sign of it stopping any time soon. However, I am sat in a huge bay window, of an apartment in the Isle of Wight. The view, despite being grey, is glorious and I am here with my
soulmate; listening to the rain together. 

You are 50 now and you have learned many life lessons, but the main thing I would tell you is please do not rush through your life. You do this because you worry about not achieving things, I know that. Please try to let go of that fear, you will achieve all the things you are meant to achieve.

Those doubts that run through your head, that normally begin “What if……” please don’t let them control your life and your thoughts so much, and when they do creep in, resist the temptation to disaster think – I know you know what I mean by that! Your first real anxiety was at the age of 11 when you thought “What if I grow too tall?, I don’t want to be taller than my friends and nobody will ever love me.” The fact that you stopped growing at 5’ 1” didn’t make you stop ‘what iffing’! You go on to ‘what if I fail my exams?’, ‘what if I choose the wrong options?’, what if I can’t find a job?’, ‘what if I never marry?’, ‘what if I never have children?’…… and so it continues.

Let me tell you then that you don’t choose the right career options and you are not really happy with the work you do. You let go of your dream to be a teacher as you succumbed to the ‘what if I can’t cope at University?’. You let this one get the better of you and you rushed to get a ‘sensible’ admin job instead. You do however, go on to marry the most amazing man, who loves you with all of his heart, and you love him more than you will probably ever admit. You have a glorious wedding and an incredible marriage, as I write to you its been 27 years!. You do have children. Two. A boy and a girl.
Your love for them is all consuming, you will happily give them every ounce of love you can possibly squeeze out and you will never consider ‘what if I don’t love them enough?’ because that is the one thing you will never ever doubt yourself on – you know you will be the very best Mum you can be,
you will make sure of it. 

Your anxiety won’t stop but your ‘what ifs’ will start to focus on keeping your family safe and your disaster thinking will, for a time, get out of control. I wish I could have written this to you earlier, to stop you going through that. Even in this though, you will try to protect your children, because you will by now know that you did rush your life at times. You rushed because it stopped the ‘what ifs’, because when you get a job it stops some of the what ifs. You will tell your children “there is a time for everything, enjoy the stage you are in and don’t rush to the next stage, that will come soon enough” and you hope with all of your heart that they listen. They and your amazing husband inspire you to follow your heart, retrain and get that teaching job you always wanted. You are so proud and happy when you finally get your degree and start teaching and you know then that this was always what you were meant to do.

Please know too that of all the things that you worry about, they either do not happen or if they do, the reality of how you lived through them was not as bad as the disaster thinking that went before. I wish I could tell you that you will face adversity with strength, determination, love and positivity – you will always find the good in a situation, and you will try to help those around you see it too. You will never know how or why, and there is certainly no science to support the next statement (I don’t think), but you get extra strength, extra resilience and new ways to cope when you need them – I don’t know where from, but from somewhere!

“Your faith in this will get you through anything, I really wish you could have known this sooner.”

So back to the here now and the reason I am sitting in the Isle of Wight on a very wet and rainy August day – well the world is in the middle of a global pandemic, they call it Coronavirus. Our lovely cruise to sunnier shores has been cancelled and currently we have to wear face masks when we
leave our houses, we can’t hug our loved ones and we are living ‘socially distant’ lives, afraid to get too close to anyone that is not living in our ‘social bubble’ and not daring to cough or sneeze in public, for fear of causing a mass panic! I can also honestly tell you that this is the one thing that
never entered your head as a ‘what if?’ worry! You didn’t have a plan to how to cope with it, you never disaster thought about it, it just hit you and you dealt with it. You got sad, you cried a bit, you missed your loved ones, you lost colleagues at work who succumbed to the disease and lost their
lives. But you learned new things, you started to appreciate the smaller things in life, the world generally became a much kinder place to live and you hung on to your sense of humour and your positivity.

You also opened your eyes and saw your, now adult children, in a new way and you realised how inspirational they are and how much you now learn from them. It is your daughter (who does not realise quite how amazing and gifted she is), who asks you to write this and you are glad she did.

Your heart if filled with love and pride for them and as they start the next chapters of their lives with partners of their own, and hopes, dreams and plans for the future you finally let go of the what ifs and you finally realise that you will never get dealt a card that you don’t have the ability to deal with
and yes really, even in the worst cases, it will be OK in the end, because it will be how it was meant to be and you will make the best of that, because that is what you do.

So younger Jayne, what if you just let go of the worry and enjoy your life, because I can tell you that you are going to be blessed with the best life you can ever imagine!

Lots of love from

Older Jayne x

Dear Jayne Wilcock