This is the final in our series, where the Tribune asked local prominent residents to write a letter their 16-year-old selves. The previous letters, by Aboriginal elder Eric Bell, Yass Police Sergeant Tom Lawless, Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey, Nationals Burrinjuck MP Katrina Hodgkinson and Yass GP Dr Ray Burn, can still be read online at www.yasstribune.com.au. Here Tribune editor Karan Gabriel writes to her past self.
You’re still very much finding out who you are. Right now you’re so very unsure of yourself and easily influenced by others. This is something you will eventually overcome in your own way but I would love for you to listen to yourself more. I promise you, your inner voice will never steer you wrong.
You’ve loved writing from a very early age and during your teenage years there are periods when writing down your thoughts and feelings is the only thing that holds you together. Keep doing it, keep writing. It will take you places you hadn’t expected.
You are going to live a rich and full life. That doesn’t mean everything is going to be rosy. You will have your fair share of tragedy and drama. But you will have few regrets, and when you look back over your years to write this letter (at the ripe age of 41!) you will realise that you have lived a charmed life.
You are naturally someone who takes risks, says what you think, who rebels when others try to squish you. Despite the consequences – and there will be some interesting consequences! – don’t try to stop being that person.
Your fierce determination will also stand you in good stead and will mean that you succeed after others would have given up.
Right now you want to blend in and be like everyone else. As you get older, you will realise that it is your uniqueness that makes you ‘you’ and you will value it more. It would be nice if you could realise that sooner.
Here are a few key dates for you.
December 1988 – go, with no regrets.
1996 – Your first year at uni; embrace everything it has to offer.
March 1998 – the start of your new role as a mum; you will learn so much.
February 2008 – just let him go; you will be okay.
April 2010 – definitely take that job at a country newspaper; you’ll be surprised where it will lead.
Most of all - live, love, laugh.