Louise Hunt reflects on the advice she would give her Younger Self
When I heard about this project, I spent a lot of time trying to think of a creative way to tell my lockdown story. Then I thought, what advice would have helped me get through this strange year if I could have had some beforehand. So that is why I decided I’d do it in the form of a letter to my younger self, so here we go…..
Hello 10-year-old me,
Now I know a lot of this will seem quite serious as right now you are living a lovely worry-free life and so you should and continue to do so for as long as possible. However, the meaning for this letter is to simply give you a bit of a heads up as to what is to come later to you in life. Now please don’t worry, as the one thing I can reassure you with is that you will experience many difficult times throughout your life, and some take longer to get your head around than others (that’s okay because there’s no time limit in getting over difficult times) but you manage to get through each and every one, becoming stronger and a better person after each experience.
So now for the main reason for writing this letter. What I am about to tell you, I know you will find hard to believe and think I am telling you the plot of a movie but sadly, I promise you this simply isn’t the case. When you reach your late 20’s the world will go into turmoil, and when I say the world, I mean the world. A virus (which sadly causes many deaths) will spread very quickly across the world, to all those places you usually travel to, to every friend you have in various countries, it will affect us all. That’s one of the strangest yet comforting feelings. You will speak to many friends you’ve made throughout your life, in Australia, USA, Holland, the list in endless and the strange reality is that each and every one of them will be going through the same as you. It is bizarre to say the least. The effect this will have on you personally however are relatively life changing, from your various career paths, friendships, and relationships, this is going to challenge you in ways you’d never even imagine. Just four years before all this happens, you will have gone through one of the toughest years of your life, but the relevance in me telling you this is because by coming through that, the things you learnt and strengths you gained during this time will get you through this world crisis. During this time endless restrictions will be in place by governments across the world, which will affect you in every area of your life. Some of these restrictions will allow you to thrive and learn things about yourself and others you never knew before, and others will cause you great distress and make your anxiety, at times, soar. There will be three lockdowns, each of which will affect you very differently.
Lockdown number 1 has many highs and lows, but for the majority you will be happy to hear are highs. You and Chris will finally get that quality time together you both always crave so often. The sun shines every day, and you relish in every activity you find to do indoors and out. Your home becomes even more beautiful and your creativity has so much time to flourish. The best part, you are lucky enough to spend each and every day with people you love (your childhood friend is living with you too) and the gorgeous puppy you acquire too just a short time before the world shuts down. However also during this time, the pain in missing those other important people in your life often becomes too much to bear. Having social media and internet has never felt so good and important but its just not the same. The biggest shock of all is when that final goal you were aiming for in your sporting career gets pushed further away. Yes, the Paralympics/Olympics gets moved to the following year which brings so many emotions, all I will say is, take each one in and you will get your head around it all. Luckily, you’re with the best guy in the world who is aiming for the same thing and together you find ways to manage all the challenges this brings you both.
Between lockdowns 1 and 2, you actually manage to get some competitions in in France. I know crazy right, just be prepared that in 2020 you’ll only get on a plane twice and compete 4 times. A huge difference compared to the usual 20 events around the world each year but actually, the break from all that travel does your health the world of good, enjoy it! Chris proposes in this time too and you both agree that you will remember 2020 as a wonderful year, where we became engaged and gained all that unexpected quality time together.
When lockdown 2 happens, things are a little odd, not as many restrictions as before, and it brings you new challenges this time. You have 2 jobs to juggle alongside training and Chris and Claire are back to “normal”. However, fun stuff is still shut! No restaurants, no cinema, no theatre, remember to keep making your own fun! Nevertheless, it fly’s by and soon it is Christmas. You have a wonderful time and a lovely few days break from the world’s dramas.
The real challenge for you sets in during lockdown number 3. Although the country saw this coming, nothing could prepare you for the way this would affect your mental well-being. This lockdown looks so different, the sun is not shining, it is so cold and you will become incredibly lonely. Your mental salvation is training, as this time the government has recognised that elite sport can continue. Other than that, you will have long days will little interaction with real humans. I mean in person not over the computer. You will hit lows which you haven’t for years but the difference this time is, you continue to live. Although there are some days where just getting out of bed feels like the biggest mountain to climb, you do it! You don’t enjoy many days, but you do all you need to and that is success. Be proud of yourself for that and that alone! For carrying on. Also, you try some new things, I won’t ruin the surprise but if your hesitant, don’t worry, just try them, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy them, and it’ll help you so much through this tough time.
The main thing I want you to take from this letter is, please remember that this challenging time, and all the others which are to come are, and will only ever be temporary. You are strong enough to get through them and come out the other side, smarter, stronger, and knowing yourself better with each battle you face.
You’ve got this! Remember to enjoy the little things and do not stop being creative! When you feel at your lowest, engage in something that brings you joy, it may just help make you feel that little less sad.
Now go and enjoy life, it’s pretty amazing most of the time and as long as you’re always look for that next challenge, adventure or little thing that brings you joy/happiness each day, you’re moving in the right direction.
All my love
29 year old you x