Letters to my younger self: Blayne Baker
Updated: Jan 29, 2021
Is there anything you wish you could know now as a young person in preparation before life throws it's life stuff at you?
Do you ever think it would be really handy if we could meet our older selves and find out just what is to come and how we should handle it? Kind of like a cheat sheet from our future selves.
Well we are here to help! RARE Youth Revolution are reaching out to some very inspiring older people who have been there and done it! They have all been a younger person and have all experienced some difficult and but also very happy times. Here they are with letters they have written to their younger selves with insights and advice that might be of use to you as a young person today.
WARNING some of these letters might make you emotional!
Introducing the wonderful Blayne Baker of Findacure. The charity working to transform the lives of people affected by rare diseases and accelerate change in rare disease research and care.
This is Blayne's LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF!
You won’t believe this, but I’m writing to you from the UK! You married that handsome, British exchange student and moved your whole life to the UK to be with him. I know leaving home broke your heart (and still does some days I’m afraid), but I’m so proud of you for having the courage to cross the pond and begin anew. I can tell you now that it was the BEST move you’ve ever made. The people you’ve met and the sights you’ve seen continue to amaze you. Some days you have to pinch yourself to remind you that this is actually “Home!”
I haven’t spoken to you in a while, so I want to tell you a few things that I’ve learned since graduating college four years ago. I want you to stop doubting yourself; your writing, your intelligence, your ability. When you first started to look for a job, you hesitated to apply for positions because you didn’t tick all the boxes. You knew you were a strong writer, but you didn’t have experience in SEO (search engine optimization), digital marketing or traditional marketing. You sent out applications to the largest ad agencies in Boston, MA, and when you didn’t get an interview, you let it devastate you. That happened while applying to colleges, too, if you remember.
In hindsight, what I needed you to be was your own cheerleader, because if you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect others to?
You eventually gained that self-confidence after landing your first job at C-4 Analytics and I’m happy to say that it was that same confidence which helped you to secure your dream job at Findacure at age 25, years before you ever dreamed possible.
You also learned that being authentically you was enough. In fact, you still think back to when Cory at C-4 hugged you goodbye and said, “Never change, Blayne.” Those three words continue to reassure you to this day that you and your odd sayings, off-centre humour, multiple food allergies and constant happiness aren’t negatives like you once believed in high school. You came to the UK knowing exactly who you were with the attitude of take it or leave it because you finally understood what you had to offer. I’m proud of you for finally accepting yourself and acknowledging the value you bring to the world.
It’s true that you used to believe that you needed all the answers to succeed in a job, but I can tell you that a strong work ethic and resolve to find the answers are all you need. Your old college lacrosse coach used to say, “We may not be the best lacrosse players on the field, but we’ll never get out hustled or out worked.” To this day, you pride yourself on putting 110% into everything you do regardless of the task or challenge - Well, apart from cleaning your apartment missy, there’s still room for improvement there!
If you only remember one thing from this letter, I want it to be this: the people you meet and work beside will make your career worthwhile and fulfilling. Your co-workers will see you more than your significant other and family combined. You’ll share your daily struggles, catastrophes, wins and funny moments with them, and within months (if you’re lucky!), you’ll consider them family. Cherish these relationships and make them count. It’s not about how many awards you win, recognitions you receive or promotions you earn; it’s the people who make the difference.
I can’t pretend to know what’s next for us, B. Like Thomas Rhett sings in his country song, Life Changes, “You never know what's gonna happen, You make your plans and you hear God laughing.” If you asked my peers where they thought their career would take them, you’d find that many envisioned another path for themselves entirely. We’re all just once-aspiring archaeologists, veterinarians, authors and a million other professions under the sun trying to find our greater purpose in life.
The moral of the story is: when you come to a fork in the road, take it! You determine your future and happiness. Just remember, wherever you go, there you are!
See you over in England.
Love, Blayne xx