Shedia vendor Maria to her 25-year-old self: “I want to tell you that life is in front of you and that you can achieve whatever you choose”

INSP has been asking vendors from across the street paper network to write letters to their 25-year-old self to mark the end of INSP’s 25th anniversary year. Today, Shedia‘s Leonidas reminisces about his younger years, while his fellow vendor maria writes a heartfelt letter to her 25-year-old self as if she is a long lost friend.

Leonidas Georgiou

At the age of 25, I had four of my six children. At 19 years old I had married my classmate, a chemical engineer. I was working hard 15 hours every day and simultaneously I was participating in union protests struggling for a better future. I believed, as I continue to believe nowadays, that “wherever there is will, there is a path.”

Life is too good so as to be enjoyed only by few people. At least four times per year I was visiting my parents in the village of Gorgopotamos (one of the most historical villages in central Greece), so as to contribute to agricultural work (tilling, sowing, threshing). The love I was feeling outweighed the fatigue. I was returning to Athens feeling relaxed and stronger (mentally and physically). I was sharing this love with my family and my environment. Love and solidarity have existed inside me as far back as I can remember.

Shedia vendor Leonidas Georgiou

As I was working in the construction sector, I had a decent income, so I could take care of people who were in need. Sensitivity, as well as a will for a future without poverty, makes young people readers of Shedia. Those who find the content of street papers interesting are becoming supporters. It is the content of street papers, I think, that results in stable support of the vendors by the readers. Our behaviour (as vendors) and the deep knowledge of the content of the street paper play an important role in the growing number of our supporters.

What would I advise 25-year-olds nowadays? At their age they believe that they know everything, that the internet makes them omnipotent. Even their personal relations, largely, are forged by it. I believe that they should investigate the news they read. They should think critically and expose fake news. I advise them to love and take care of themselves. The enrichment of their internal world is more than necessary. Love towards ourselves is being transmitted to our fellow human beings. I advise them to be active and not to be afraid of making mistakes. Only the dead do not make mistakes. Love so as to be loved. Take care of the people you love because life is short.

Maria Drangou

Hello, 25-year-old girl!! I am writing this letter to you after 28 years. It’s been a long time, and a lot of things have happened in our lives that nowadays help me to face you with more love and understanding.

After so much time and through the experience I have gained as a middle-aged woman, I can see clearly your faults both professionally and personally. But at this moment, I am not here to judge you. The only thing I will tell you is that I appreciate and love you exactly as you are. I am certain that if the conditions in your life, your upbringing and the environment in which you lived were different, then you would have made other choices.

Shedia vendor Maria Drangou

I want to tell you that life is in front of you and that you can achieve whatever you choose. You can dream of and envisage a better future. Don’t be afraid of claiming whatever you want. Everything is possible in this life, as long as you know what exactly we want and to do our best so as to realise it.

Always bear in mind that you are a perfect creation and that your existence on Earth is not accidental. Your mission is to discover your destination and to follow your own path. There, you will meet a lot of fellow travellers. Learn to love and to share your life with these people, because they are your best friends and teachers. Because no one can succeed alone. We need each other. Finally, I want to encourage you so that every moment in life is worthy. Life is so beautiful that you will never have your fill and, as you live it, it seems to you more and more fantastic. So, never give up. Enjoy whatever life offers you. Be glad.

Check back in every day over the festive period for more #VendorLetters.

INSP members can download the #VendorLetters feature on the INSP News Service.