Live your life with arms wide open (the rest is still unwritten)

Dear Amy,

When you are young, the world seems like a big open door. No one knows what’s on the other side. You come to realise that life isn’t laid out in front of you, and I believe we all embrace this at a different point in life – usually when something hasn’t worked out as we thought it would. But then sometimes, in the moment, it’s lovely to just ‘be’. And when is a better time to just ‘be’ than in your youth?

“We had tea in the club-house – a polite tea (hope Mrs. Baker doesn’t give that kind), then some of us went off to look at the shops. The shops are beautiful. Nearly as good as the London ones. We went to the Pier-head and watched the ferries going across. I enjoyed that the most of anything. It was a beautiful night with a half moon and it was fascinating watching the huge, long ferries sliding across the black water. All you could see of them were the lights and each one had a different coloured light. Crimson, blue, green, yellow and white.”[1]

Young people of today would argue that you and they are very different. I disagree! An almost 100 year gap doesn’t separate the thoughts, feelings, friendships and relationships.

“Did he mention a Miss Winnie Erving to you? She’s one of the girls I introduced him to at one of the dances and they’ve taken a great fancy to each other. It’s really quite amusing and something to tease them about. I should imagine though that his studies must be suffering from neglect. The day before he went to Hull we carried him off to the pictures to see ‘Conquering the Alps’, as he might have told you. It was a fine picture and I stopped to see it again. It made it much more interesting as well to have someone there to explain things.”

Concerns in your time Amy, like getting up early, winning the hockey match and making sure you have a date for the dance are not too far away from the concerns of today! Times may be ever changing but the sheer emotional turmoil of being young – that’s kind of timeless.

“Last week I went to Liverpool as a delegate, and had a lovely time. The Varsity there is a fine place – twice as big as ours. Their Ball, however, was not a patch on ours. We’ve got the best dancers and the nicest men at Sheffield.”[2]

It’s laughing until you cry, crying until you laugh, staying up all night and sleeping in all day. It’s peer pressure, society pressure and wanting to change the world. Taking risks and jumping in with both feet. So dive in.

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

John Green- “Why the word Millenial makes me cringe.”

Why it’s okay to embrace your youth in your 20s:


[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 29 October 1922

[2] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 4 March 1923

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