This September/October marks 10 years since sweet innocent 18 year old Rachel ventured forth from the safety of Croydon into the great unknown of university.
Yes, 10 years. A whole entire livelong decade. I didn’t think I was old enough for that either. I'm pretty sure I just graduated last week. But there is it. 10 years.
I look back and laugh - at all the things we learnt (mostly nothing to do with our actual subjects), all the things we did (cringe), and all the things we wore (just no, no and I can't believe I left the house like that). I also look back and realise that I'm not the person 18-year-old Rachel thought I would be.
18-year-old Rachel would be disappointed I'm not a radical activist. 18-year-old Rachel would be disgusted that I quite happily pass on dessert because too much sugar makes me feel sick. 18-year-old Rachel would not understand why I'm happy to drink Gin instead of Malibu & coke (urgh).
I was asked what 50 year old Rachel will be like. I knew the answer straight away, 50-year-old Rachel is a wild hippy with flowers in her hair.
She drives a car that runs on cooking oil instead of petrol and reads poetry to the wind.
50-year-old Rachel lives wholehearted and vulnerable. She laughs with no fear of the future because in her 50 years she has seen success, love, joy and laughter, she has tasted defeat, failure and heartbreak, and yet, she firmly holds that God is good all the time, all the time God is good - that is her song and she continues to sing it come what may.
She has finally accepted that it is sometimes OK to lose games and unleashed her competitive spirit, so watch out anyone in opposition.
50-year-old Rachel not only believes in miracles but expects to see them daily. She has seen the immeasurably more and lives life amazed and perplexed. She throws caution to the wind and errs on the side of love and whimsy.
Not to sound like a 1950's housewife or anything but 50 year old Rachel finally owns a KitchenAid and it is her pride and joy (Holla at me KitchenAid crew, you know who you are).
50 year old Rachel sings and dances her way through the livelong day and the life admin that even 50 year old hippies can't seem to escape.
She watches the sunrise every morning because the reminder of light breaking through darkness helps carry her through the day (50-year-old wild hippy Rachel clearly lives under a warm sun and friendly sky).
50 year old Rachel loves with the fire of a thousand suns and fights unto the death for her people.
50 year old Rachel will have finally learnt to bake bread, sew her own clothes and crochet a granny squares blanket.
She spends her days barefoot with the sun on her face and the wind in her hair. Her fridge is always full and the cake tin replenished daily but she'll never ask you to come round because you're always welcome - just come over already! There's always room for atleast a few more at the table, perched at the kitchen counter, sitting on the stairs and, as a last resort, squished in the bath. On the flip side, she'll just turn up at your house and make herself at home.
50-year-old Rachel does not care what other people think, atleast, she does not care if they think her foolish or crazy or wild hippy with flowers in her hair but she hopes that when they look at her life they see one overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful, gentleness and self-control - a life that points to the fount of every blessing.
50-year-old Rachel does not fear failure and she does not fear disappointment. She is not afraid to cut off all her hair to both save the planet the burden of producing her hair products and to save time (also, her Nan will kill her if she has dreads).
She is not afraid to make decisions that don't seem to make much sense to the world at large. In fact, 50-year-old wild hippy Rachel is not afraid of anything (expect spiders, they will always be terrifying). She makes decisions based on faith and not fear. Who knows, maybe tomorrow she'll pack up her life and set sail around the world.
50-year-old Rachel takes a tambourine to church.
50-year-old, wild, flowers in her hair, barefoot, singing, dancing, hippy Rachel is a million-and-five miles from who I am now (which I'm kinda relieved about because, lets face it, she's a bit intimidating. Although, I am pretty good at inviting myself over to yours, so maybe its only a million and four?). And I'm pretty certain it will take the best part of the next million and five four years to become her. Which is OK, I'm too scared not ready to be a fearless wild hippy just yet.
Sometimes, its so easy to get lost in the what we will do with our lives, when maybe its more about who we'll become. What are our central values and beliefs? Do our lives match up to them? How can we start moving toward the person we want to be?
Me? I think I'll start making some decisions 50-year-old, wild, hippy, flowers in her hair, faith over fear and holding tightly to the goodness of God Rachel would make.