Letter to my pre-pandemic self

Updated: May 8

Dear Debbie,


How to start… This is going to sound dramatic, and pretty surreal. You might not believe what I’m going to share. All I ask is that you trust me.


It doesn’t feel like it now, but 2020 will be an extraordinary year.  Not just for you, not just for those you know, but across the world, in a way that you can’t even imagine yet. Families, high streets, and companies large and small will all be affected.  

2020 is a year that shaped our future. It woke us up. It forced our hand to reflect on our living. And on our dying.


You are a lucky. one. You will get through this, but there are times that just suck. What do I wish we knew before? Maybe just a glimpse of what’s to come to ease the mind, to prepare yourself.

Connect now with those you love, and who inspire you. Meet them in person (seriously), hug them, thank them, love them. Make sure they have wifi and some kind of device.

Take care of your self as you step further in to 2020. It won’t feel right, you’ll want to care for others first, but there is a long-haul ahead. You need your energy, your humour and time to process. Take a walk. Take some space. Breathe.



You will feel all over the place for much of the time. I can’t describe why in a way that you’ll believe but you will see some people all the time and most people only virtually, if at all. Virtually is a word you are going to become more familiar with that you ever thought possible. ‘You are on mute’ will become a meme for the year. Seriously.


You will realise how much time we’ve spent individuating our selves doesn’t serve well when we need a collective response. Join the collective. Trust me.



hange the relationships that don’t honour you. This is a time you will learn a lot about who you are, be reminded of what you value, and how you are valued by others. It might feel brutal at times but it’s a good lesson well learnt.

Be ready to test many of your assumptions – about how you live, how you w ork, how you school, how you fit. There is no blueprint for


or some of the time, but there will be laughter, joys and inspired moments. Let the highs carry you through the lows. And be there for each other, you will need it more than ever.


Take all the hopes and promises of timings, opportunities, and returns to normal with a big pinch of salt. Imagine this is the future. Live it for now and don’t wait for what might not come.

This one will feel like a leap. Take a teacher training class or at least invest in Twinkl. I know it’s not in your career outlook but trust me, you’ll appreciate it. Be thankful for what you didn’t know you had in your education system.


It’s a year you will feel full of what I can only call ‘disclarity’. Not knowing whether you should be busy or calm, noisy or silent, anxious or thankful. You will feel stretched in a multitude of ways, you’ll wonder if you missed the warm up exercises. Full of emotion, confusion, reflection, and yet empty at times.



I sit here, a year ahead, and am thankful for those close to me that are still here. You will be too. Not everyone can say this. Many suffered losses that we can’t imagine. Everyday heroes risked their lives in extreme conditions for months on end. And we just had to stay home. Appreciate the imbalance. Do your part.


We’re not through it yet, but there are glimpses of hope. It’s hard to tell what the end looks like. We talk of ‘new normals’ but the beauty is that’s up to you. You are part of creating a future that nourishes you, that cares for how we live and work, and that your kids can be proud of.

Be grateful everyday that you are healthy, you have a future. Even on the days that feel heavy.

Hopeful and helpful might help you orient your focus.




With much love,

Debbie xx

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