Ten years ago today, it was the first of January 2011. That feels very strange to me. I had a somewhat similar feeling at the start of 2020, knowing that 2010 had been a decade ago, I wrote about it too. But knowing that we’re now ten years away from 2011 feels especially strange, perhaps because that’s the year I went to university. Perhaps because I have a clearer memory of it than 2010 – a lot of it still feels fresh in my mind.
I was invited to a New Year’s party to see the year in. A house party which I didn’t particularly enjoy. I never was fond of house parties and I remember, as I walked home alone in the darkness, I was wondering what the year ahead might hold for me. Half way through the year, I’d come to the end of my time in Sixth Form. I had no idea what I was going to do after that. Perhaps I’ll get a job in one of the local shops, I thought. I didn’t really think going to university was that likely. It would be nice, but I wasn’t sure I’d get the grades. If I was honest with myself, it felt like such an unknown, something which would require so much work and so many new experiences that the thought of it made me a bit anxious. I knew that most of my friends were thinking of going to university and that they’d almost certainly be moving away for it too. I felt anxious about losing them and finding it hard to make new friends. In general, I felt anxious for the uncertainty of my future.
What would that past me have thought if they could see the me of today? Well, I think they would be very happy indeed. Living in Bath with a good friend, one who they don’t know yet, but I’m sure they trust their future self to make a good decision. Back then, I did used to think that living with a friend in Bath would be quite a nice future. They’d be pleased that I’d stayed in touch with all the people they were in touch with in 2011. They’d be pleased I’d made lots of other friends. They’d be pleased I went to university and did well. They’d be pleased I’d had lots of writing jobs. They’d be pleased with just about everything.
I’m not someone who generally feels down about their circumstances, but if I ever do, I’d do well to think of myself walking home on that night ten years ago. They’d covet the life I lead today very much – with that thought in mind, I can only conclude that I am very lucky. But you know what? My anxious 2011 self was very lucky too. They had a lot to look forward to, including a particularly exciting new friendship which was just around the corner. I hope that the me in 2031 whose looking back on the me of today feels equally as lucky.