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A postcard to my younger self

To mark International Women’s Day, BBC Arts has asked famous and inspirational women to write a postcard to their younger self. I may not be famous and can only hope to inspire my daughter, here’s my postcard to a young Hayley Gyllenspetz (yes my maiden name was unusual but that’s another story…)

“Don’t be afraid to believe in happy endings. There will be tough times but you will get married and you will have children!”

“Having your own family will be the most amazing ride ever – there will be some unimaginable highs but some pretty catastrophic lows. You will be sad sometimes and wish you’d stayed on your own but most of the time your heart will burst with love and joy and you’ll be unable to remember a time before you were a family.”

“Make the most of your career – take risks, travel to get the job you want and don’t be scared to take a leap of faith. Doors will start to shut, and surprisingly you will shut other doors, once you have a family, so whilst the world is your oyster, and you are free to have the career you want, you should grab every opportunity.”

“Don’t be scared to fail, to be homesick or alone. If it fails, you can always come home. Living with ‘what ifs’ is a lot harder than giving it a go and you already know you’re braver and stronger than you realise.”

“You’ve always held your friends close, continue to hug tightly and love unconditionally. You will lose a few friends along the way and that will hurt but you will be surprised how many stick with you through thick and thin.”

“Don’t use sex as a weapon or give it away to be accepted. Whilst you might not regret any of your partners, you will look back and wonder what you were thinking with some of them! Don’t try and be every man’s fantasy – the real you is more than enough for the right man.”

“Finally, although everything does happen for a reason and the painful relationships will make you a stronger woman, don’t let your need to be loved and your dream of a happy ever after lead you into dangerous situations. Say no, stand up for yourself and know that you have more brains, love and charm in your little finger than those who want to drag you down could ever have.”

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