Dear 18-year-old Verity,
This letter is being written by your 38-year-old-self. You’re sat at a Mac (this is not a raincoat), and wrinkling your brow.
My first piece of advice therefore is STOP FROWNING. By 38, you have furrows deep enough in which to plant potatoes.
My second piece of advice is to stop worrying. Worrying about things will not prevent them from happening and most of what you worry about never happens anyway.
By the time you are 38 you will have two tiny daughters.
Therefore my third piece of advice is to also stop worrying about what your 18-year-old stomach looks like.
In fact, go to work in a bikini if given the chance, because by the time you’re nearly 40 you won’t even be able to decipher where your belly button begins.
Sleep as much as you can.
From the second you discover you are pregnant you will never sleep properly again.
Treasure the next decade and indulge in myriad lie-ins.
Also, stop worrying about whether or not your bottom is too big or your boobs too small.
Any boys who have suggested such will be hairless and fat by the time you’re writing this, but you’ll have been a size 10 for years with a push-up bra.
Furthermore, work hard, very hard. Your mother and grandfather have instilled you with a strong work ethic, so follow this.
Your career will give you a sense of self-worth that you cannot even imagine at the moment, and you will love what you do.
Keep writing, for one day you will have books with your name on the front cover and not because you’ve doodled it there. You may even write a column for The News, if you’re lucky.
Treasure your friends. You’ll make new ones but those that you’re closest to now, you will still be close to when you’re nearly 40 and try to steer away from that egotist that you unfathomably find attractive when you’re training to teach.
And then, when you find The One, the Real One, hold on fast, because it will be an amazing ride. He’ll make you excited to wake up in the morning, give you a zest for life that you never knew and you’ll make a family of your very own together.
Time is a tricky thing. It’s oiled and slippery and slides away when we try to hold it. Cherish it.
Verity Lush is a 38-year-old mum-of-two who lives in Portsmouth.
She is a tutor in philosophy, English and maths and has written a book for newly-qualified teachers, plus textbooks and articles for teaching magazines and supplements. Follow her on Twitter @lushnessblog