I read a blog post recently that I can't stop thinking about. It's by Hannah Gale, and is titled The Strangest Thing About Your Late Twenties.
Reading it, it honestly could have been a trail of my own thoughts I related to it so much. The post describes how she feels that she has developed two versions of herself; the girl she was ten years ago, and the woman she is now. She writes about losing herself for hours in old Facebook photos, diary entries - anything to help her rediscover this person she remembers but can't quite believe was once her.
I do the same.. but I can remember more than one other version of myself. I feel as though I have several.
One thing I'm sure you'll gather from this picture is that I'm a sentimental hoarder. I keep everything from receipts for fancy dress I bought in sixth form (see the 'Party Seasons Gloucester' poking out from my notebook...) to my badge I wore out on my 18th birthday, to boxes and boxes of diaries.
It's the diaries that get me the most. I read them out aloud to myself sometimes, because it's as if they were written by a stranger - I turn the pages in anticipation of what's going to happen even though it's about my life. From the nervous thirteen-year-old writing about her first day at school back in England after being abroad for years, to the teen about to take her GCSEs, to the Sheffield Uni student getting over her first break-up...
Just as Hannah writes in her post, it's almost unbelievable to think that that girl - that all of those girls - grew into me.
I think I get scared that one day I'll forget. That I'll forget what it felt like to be 17, with my biggest fear being my AS Level results, with University and my future stretching out ahead of me, feeling like anything was possible. That I'll forget what it felt like to be a University student, living in a crazy house of seven in Sheffield and meeting a ton of new people outside of the bubble of my hometown. That I'll even forget the me of two years ago - new to London, starting my career and truly entering adulthood for the first time.
By diving into these past stages of my life I feel like I'm attempting to preserve the memories of the old versions of myself. As Hannah says, maybe we're even mourning them. I think about 17 year old me the most - she got to enjoy a lot of firsts. The first date with a guy she'd end up being with a long time. The first crazy drunken night out. The first summer away with friends. I almost wish I could meet her now and talk to her... which is crazy. Because she is me.
I'm thinking of doing more writing based on these old diaries I have - trust me, some of them are truly hilarious, some of them are devastating (2012 Lucy: stop texting boys who are clearly using you!). To be honest it's something I've been thinking about doing for a while - time give those old versions of myself some due diligence and then close the book, so to speak.
I'm going to a writing class this weekend (taught by Laura Jane Williams, who I cannot wait to meet) which will focus on writing from experience, so watch this space...
Do any of you do the same thing and recall previous versions of yourselves? Until I read Hannah's blog post I was pretty sure I was the only one who did this - as she says, I hope it's more human than I initially thought.