Womanthology Editor, Fiona Tatton – Coming face to face with your former self: Back to the Future?

Tape

Blink and you might miss something

Fiona Tatton - Womanthology Founder and Editor

Fiona Tatton

Blimey, the past fortnight has flown by and it’s issue 6 already. Is it just me, or is it that the older you get, the faster the time passes? As a child each Christmas and birthday seemed to take an eternity to come round. Nowadays, time seems to pass in the blink of an eye.

I was reminded of the passage of time when I returned to the town where I went to school last week and happened to pass the clothes shop where I worked whilst I was doing my A-levels.

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pop in and maybe fold a few jumpers for old time sake. (I seemed to spend most of my early retail career putting right the chaos created by untidy shoppers.)

It was a more innocent time when the way to show how much you cared about someone was to spend an evening editing together a mix tape for them. There’s no romance in putting together an iTunes playlist for the object of your affections in all of about two minutes.

There was no social media, no Internet, no decent hair straighteners.

Only posh people had mobile phones; the handset was the size and weight of a house brick and it cost about £2000 a month. If you had arranged to meet someone and either of you weren’t in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, then tough; it wasn’t going to happen.

Whilst in store I came face to face with the modern day equivalent of my former self, who now has ‘my’ old Saturday job. It was lovely speaking to Megan. Like *ahem* a slightly younger version of me (but with better hair). It sounded like the trials and tribulations of working in store hadn’t changed much, even though *coughs*, Megan wasn’t born when I worked there. Megan is currently finishing her A-levels and deciding on what’s next.

Serendipity and fate?

Unable to hold myself back from my earlier graduate recruitment days I then found myself clicking into advisory mode and contemplating all the things I would do differently. Arguably I wouldn’t change anything at all, as different life choices would mean I wouldn’t have met some of the dearest and most important people in my life. I’m a bit believer in serendipity and fate.

A few lingering “what ifs”…

We’ve all wondered what advice we would give to our younger selves. The Womanthology way is all about infinite possibilities. Don’t let anyone tell you that something that’s important to you is impossible. Don’t let fear hold you back. If you want to travel abroad and have adventures, do it as soon as you can.

JigsawIt’s much better to give it a go than spend the rest of your life plagued by “what ifs”. But perhaps the experience of having a few lingering “what ifs” can be a good thing too though?

To our readers at the start of your career, I say, “Dream big and don’t take no for an answer,” but to women further through their career I say exactly the same thing. Regardless of your age and circumstances, your future belongs to you and you alone.

Half of the challenge is to work out what you want and what you think will bring you happiness, but just because you haven’t worked out what that means to you in your teens or twenties, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep looking. There’s no single ‘right’ choice. The ‘right’ choice may change as you change.

Never too late to become passionately curious

It’s never too late to have a new idea, find a new vocation and become passionately curious about it. Don’t let anyone tell you that your idea is too ambitious (…new magazine anyone?) or that you’re too old, or that you should stick to the same boring old same old that is your regular safe existence.

The ‘safe’ path may seem safe but actually it is fraught with danger because it is leading you oh so slowly to a life of mediocrity and compromise.

Make things you wish existed

I developed an unhealthy addiction to Pinterest for several months last year whilst I was developing Womanthology when I was obsessively ‘pinning’ motivational quotes and phrases that set my imagination alight. One of the most important quotes I found was by Jessica Hische, who said, “Make things you wish existed.”

Thank-you Jessica, you said it, I’ve started doing it. How is it that a few words from a well-intentioned stranger can have such a great impact on your life?

So if I could go back to my jumper folding days in retail and look at myself now, would I be proud of who I’ve become? I certainly hope so. So now I have to flash forward to my future life and decide what I need to do in order to impress myself and then go out and make it happen. I’m daring myself.

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