This is you, well the 46-year-old you writing to the
I wanted to write you a letter to give you the heads up
on some of the wonderful and not so wonderful things
that life will throw your way. I know at 15 it's hard to
imagine what life will be like when you are 46 but I will
try to let you know.
I know at the moment, at the age of 15 life is what it is
and doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon, but just
because you left school at 14 and 9 months to start work
doesn't mean you will amount to nothing. It's quite the
contrary. You will actually be wonderful at your job
because you know how to work hard – this is a trait you
will carry with you through to adulthood despite the fact
that you change jobs even careers.
I know you're reading this thinking “no way” . . . I
love working at Woollies, I'll never leave it. Trust me,
you do and you never look back.
You will get a little weekend job at the corner shop
soon. You love this job as it's a reprieve from home.
Things don't get much better there I'm afraid, but don't
worry, you come out pretty tough from that experience.
It's hard to believe, but in about three years time,
when you’re 18 you will marry a young man whose
family love you and show you the love you've never
experienced from a family. From this marriage you have
two beautiful sons, but sadly the marriage won't last.
Don't let this knowledge put you off, it's just one of the
many “life experiences” you will have that make you
the person you are destined to become.
You will continue to work in retail but get the urge to
study – I know you are probably thinking no way, I can't
spell, I can't do maths and yes you hear that a lot, but
deep down that fires something up inside you and you
decide to give TAFE a shot around the age of 24. You
will be told you can't do it, but trust me, you can and you
will. You actually continue on at TAFE for another seven
years. Yes, you even do some accounting, believe it or
not, and even though you hate maths you do OK at it.
During your time at TAFE you become very
independent, and it's early in this phase that you set your
first real goal after your divorce, to buy your own home.
You will continue to work in retail but because you have
studied hard you become a trainer and manager which
you will totally love. One day you will get a fantastic
surprise, someone is going to call you from your past
and offer you the job of a lifetime, to become a teacher
at TAFE. I know, a teacher’s job – fancy that – not bad
for someone who only went to year 9. You buy your
little house which suits you and your sons perfectly. But
be prepared for a hiccup.
You end up re-marrying around the age of 26. I know
you might be thinking “no way” but trust me you feel
ready this time, you've grown up a lot and have become
very independent by then . . . your own house, full-time
work and even your own car, see how much you have to
look forward to. Anyway this is a good period of your
life, you are settled and end up having another baby – a
gorgeous baby girl called Georgia. Sadly though that
marriage fails and you will be a single mum again. This
doesn't stop you though as you plod on continuing on
with uni study. Can you believe it, uni, who would have
In 1999 you are hit by a car on a pedestrian crossing,
and this throws all your plans out the window. You
won't be able to do things as you once did and this puts
you in a very bad space mentally, but with a little help
from a mentor who becomes your lifelong friend you
pick yourself up and move on doing the best you can,
becoming stronger and more determined than ever.
Anyway life's great, you get out and about a bit and
meet another nice man,. He's younger than you but you
really click and guess what, he's the one. You will be
with him to this day, even though you have a little break
in the middle somewhere, you both seem to find each
other again in 2004. Life is really great, you start to
think it can't get any better, but be prepared – the
biggest life lesson is about to occur.
Brace yourself Michelle for in 2005 you will lose
both your boys in a car crash – they are 16 and 19 you
will be shattered – but don't panic you will survive this.
You might not think so at the time but I'm still breathing,
I'm still here in one piece able to write this letter to you.
Trust me this will rock you, you will need to muster
all the strength you can to get through this for your
daughter’s sake, she needs you. Your husband will be
very supportive and sticks out the journey.
The first three years are pretty tough. I'm not going
to lie, there will be times you will lose the will to live,
but you have a strength deep inside that will get you
through. You pick yourself up and guess what, you even
create two wonderful programs out of this tragedy. You
become a changed person but for the better. This is the
final major hurdle in your life. You may be thinking,
how can she know this? I know this because there will
be no greater, harder or sadder hurdle you will ever have
to face. You get through this one so you can get through
Michelle, embrace every unhappy, difficult and sad
event, these things make you. Your daughter will be
proud of you and your boys will always be with you. Be
the best you can be and always strive to do better.
I don't have to wish you good luck on your journey, I
know for a fact that you will make it.
I hope I have given you some insight into what you
might expect. Don't aim to change a thing, and
remember this: “When something bad happens you
have three choices, you can either let it define you, you
can let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you.”