Annie Crawford: My Letter To 24 Year-Old Me

10 Jul 2020

Dear Annie,

I’m writing to you from the future. I want to let you know that everything will be more than OK.

I promise you’ll overcome fears and you’ll even learn to enjoy things that currently cripple you with fear.

You’ll experience amazing rewarding moments and be inspired by incredible people in your future but you’ll have to get uncomfortable and push through boundaries for that to happen.

By turning fears into opportunities, you will inspire others to do the same and give back in a way you never realised you were capable of.

You will be happy again and see that it’s not disloyal to dad to feel this way. You will learn that tragedies happen to everybody and you’ll cope so much better with unexpected life events.

It’s not "why me?" It’s "why not me?" By pushing through on good and bad days and surrounding yourself with good people and accepting help you’ll find a way to get through it.

You’ll get out of bed, to make positive decisions, set little goals that are achievable and build on them and accept that tragedy and difficulty happens to everybody. You’ll make conscious decisions to have some control over how you respond to things.

Running will get you out of a funk, make you strong and resilient, as well as connect you with others. By pushing outside your comfort zone and stretching your goals with exercise you’ll stop listening to the negative voices and replace them with a stronger voice which will help you and others around you. This ability will transfer to areas of your life also.

You will find the courage to found Can Too to prevent and find a cure for cancer to give back in memory of dad. In this role you’ll help yourself and others to set challenges and strive towards them.

You’ll be inspired by people from the 60 year-old man who saw that if he could do his first ocean swim, he could face his fear of leaving his corporate job to work in the not-for-profit sector or the woman who saw that by pushing through to run a half marathon she could study for that Masters’ degree. They will inspire you to be the Chair of Can Too.

Even your fear of public speaking will be overcome, you’ll make the decision that you’re not going to let something debilitate you. No longer will you have to fake sickness to avoid public speaking like you did to avoid introducing yourself in tutorials at uni.

You’ll learn that you can do tough things and that avoiding them doesn’t help. It won’t happen straight away but you’ll take small steps. You’ll go from feeling terror to speak to seven people at the first Can Too track running session, where the very thought of welcoming them was going to make you physically sick. You’ll face that fear to then speak to function rooms full of people including at the party celebrating that Can Too raised over $20 million to fund cancer research.

In helping others from training for a Can Too program, to giving back to the community by fundraising for cancer research, you’ll feel better about yourself.

Can Too will give you the most amazing experiences of your life but it won’t be easy.

Be prepared to go within yourself to dig deep and to have courage. You’ll see the parallels of running and swimming in a Can Too program is like life, there are highs and lows of that journey.

You will go from looking at people coming out of the water thinking ‘that’s a fate worse than death why would anyone in the world swim in the ocean’ to enjoying it. One day you’ll swim voluntarily on your own from one end of Palm beach to the other and realise you love it. It will be a sense of liberation, accomplishment and achievement.

You probably can’t believe that you are this person, it doesn’t come naturally to you to jump in the water first to support new ocean swimmers, to speak publicly and to be the founder of a foundation. However, you’ll learn that sometimes rather than loving everything that you do, it’s important to do if there’s a greater purpose.

To live a full life you have to take risks and face fear and live with discomfort and that will bring you a richer and more rewarding life. You can live half a life and never take a risk or take a risk and lead a full life and the benefits far outweigh the risks.