You are lucky. You have some of the best friends that anyone could imagine. They’re honest and friendly and open and loyal. They’re generous and fun to be with. Your close family loves you, and while they don’t understand why you do what you do, they always will.
You are well organised, have thought through your priorties and are together and disciplined. You run your risk management consultancy, schedule quality time with your boyfriend and friends, entertain when you feel like it, go dancing and train regularly in the gym. You're doing OK. It’s a shame you don’t appreciate the symmetry of the body you have, but I guess when we’re young we never do.
You already know that your closest friend is innocent of the murders of which she was accused. Stick to that. You’re right to defend her, need to expect to feel a little alone in that defence and know that her only culpability (if such it can be called) was that she told peoples’ tarot when she shouldn’t and said exactly what she thought. You can’t yet quite believe it, think they’ll release her from imprisonment any day now, and have no idea that the campaign for her freedom will last nearly a decade. Enjoy the feeling while it lasts, because once it's gone you'll be wrecked.
You don’t know that a desperate feeling of helplessness will get increasingly worse as you are unable to do anything significant to help Lucia's daughter and see how terribly her mother's imprisonment is hurting her. You’ve no idea how alone you'll feel, how awful it is to hear her ask again and again ‘Why did it happen to my mother?’ 'Why did they have it in for my Mum?' and feel able to do little or nothing at all. You'll accept the feeling of leaden guilt because you can't also help support the girls father. You know that your entire emotional bandwidth is taken up with her daughter and while you love them all dearly and are happy to do this, there is nothing left from that to give.
You’ll dismiss it when others say you’re doing a lot for them. You’ll hate your weakness when you discover your emotional involvement means you’re unable to be as active in the campaign for Lucia's release as you’d like. You’ve not noticed the insidious scarring, the way it wears you down, or that you’re unconsciously punishing yourself because you can't do anything to change the situation. You don’t know that it’ll take years before Lucia is freed and it all falls back into perspective. Poor cow, you have all that to come.
|Cow beside mountain bike path in Val Gardena, (c) Carole Edrich 2010|
You don’t know that you’ll get hit by the Asian tsunami, that a combination of things including absent boyfriend and friends expressing their preference that you come home instead of staying to help will combine to give you serious post traumatic stress. You don’t know what that is yet, or how it'll be received by your parents or that it’ll take a radio programme on cognitive behavioural therapy before you manage to get yourself fixed.
For now, at least, you love the buzz of the business, know that you’re good at it and that your methodology is leading edge. Nothing wrong in being so competitive and you're going to learn a lot while running it, most of which you'll later discard with relief. Right now you've no idea that giving it up will release you to find a completely different way of life. When you do let it go, you will start to understand in your heart and bones what you’ve previously been too privileged to do more than get intellectually; that most people are often extraordinarily good. You’ll be inspired, invigorated and profoundly changed when friends and strangers demonstrate this through their actions, their thoughtfullness and generosity, and will feel thankful when you see how many real friends you have during the difficult years to come.
|Cuddling a D3 and flash unit on loan from Jacobs|
You'll soon start discovering the delights of photography, don’t really get dance yet (although you do have fun doing it), and while you love reading the works of others, you’ll soon learn the pleasure of playing with words for yourself.
You’re going to change from a maths-and-science based thinker in a static location to a traveller whose life is about images, words, light, pattern and sound. Motivated by a desire to share more with new friends on the Internet, your photography will improve out of all recognition. Online friends will prove to be constant, genuine and lasting. So much so that, when you share your diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer, their thoughtfulness and generosity will make you feel both comforted and humbled - as though you were less than a centimetre tall.
Your progression through treatment for breast cancer will help you realign your own misconceptions about health, ability and how they can be managed. As you fight to recover full fitness after chemo, you’ll be frustrated more by others’ preconceptions than by the battle back to health itself. Because of the way you're made, you’ll start working on changing such attitudes which, along with a charity, means you’ll have found causes to which you can stick.
You’re going to delight in your passions for dancing, photography and people, be amazed by others' lack of understanding of the fundamentals of business and your perspective will change completely too. You'll move from seeing things as if you were a scientist to having the perceptions of an artist or creative and catch yourself saying things that make it all feel surreal. A result of the photography, you’ll see the splendours of light, sky and darkness, appreciate the Old Masters and Renaissance Art, and rediscover the creativity and wonder - at everything - that you had as a child. Even Tim Burton’s 'Alice' will stop seeming pointless and become a pleasure, with a heart-rendingly beautiful set.
You’ll be devastated after being dumped in an email from a close platonic friend and find a more enduring and creative friendship instead, will briefly have a lover so good at professional double-think that he doesn’t realise he takes the same approach home, and then meet another who is so self-absorbed that his world soon reabsorbs him, leaving only the tiniest trace.
Those worth your love will remain constant. Friends will be a balm in the bad times and bring joy in the good. Death takes some away, but you’ll honour their memory and from the losses gain a more balanced perspective, rediscovering considerable strength.
|Words Worth at Lilian Bayliss Theatre, Sadler's Wells, (c) Carole Edrich 2012|
You’ll delight in the development of your passion for dance, be surprised by the discovery of your drive as a photographer, become even more determined to help others and live by your own rules. You’ll become more confident of the kernel of selfhood within you, find joy in all you do and look for ways to share it while staying true to yourself.
You’re going to be challenged, delighted, amazed and astounded. You’ll get sick and then slowly will heal. You’ll travel more often and further than you ever imagined, will be surprised at the extent of the girliness in you, finally accept that you're more sensitive than average and establish indubitably that you’re every bit as strong as you believed.
I have no advice to give you. You already know life is exactly what you make it.
The rest, my girl, is up to you.
(posted in response to a competition)