Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents -

How many peo­ple have you been in your life? I have been about six dif­fer­ent ver­sions of my­self thus far. There was in­tro­verted Far­rah, and party an­i­mal Far­rah, and then, a lit­tle af­ter that, pseu­doin­tel­lec­tual Far­rah, who walked around with a copy of French verse hang­ing out of her jeans pocket ( I know, I know…). I have been a “softer” Far­rah at the be­gin­ning of my ca­reer, and a “tougher, scrap­pier” Far­rah in the mid­dling years. Which one is the real me? The an­swer is all of them. Be­cause if there are two things we can be cer­tain of in this life, it’s that: one, we will change. Two, we will have no idea we are chang­ing. Take you as you are now. You think you’ll al­ways be this way. You think you’ll al­ways have the gen­eral ideas you cur­rently hold about the world. You think you’ll al­ways be a roar­ing lib­eral, that you’ll al­ways en­joy rom­coms and that you’ll al­ways want to be the life and soul of the party. But you may not. Just as places change, tastes, minds and feel­ings change, too. It is why grown women weep at the wink­ing dol­phin tat­too they got in Ibiza in 1997, and why age-old friend­ships don’t al­ways last the dis­tance. It is also why some of the strong­est mar­riages even­tu­ally fall apart, not be­cause of any mal­ice or lack of love, but be­cause when each party looks at one an­other, they re­alise nei­ther of them is the same per­son they mar­ried all those years ago. I had a best friend once – we were so close that on the af­ter­noon I lost my vir­gin­ity, she took one look at me, smiled and sim­ply said, “You’ve done it, haven’t you?” Now? I don’t even know where she lives. Who changed? The truth is we both did. Lit­tle by lit­tle, we gen­tly un­teth­ered – change, af­ter a while, be­ing the only thing we had in com­mon. In her star­tlingly hon­est in­ter­view, this month’s cover star, Lily Allen, looks back on the many dif­fer­ent ver­sions of her­self. From out­ra­geous pop star to coun­try-dwelling mother to who she is now – a qui­eter, more thought­ful ver­sion, per­haps, of the Lily Allen we all think we know. In the face of con­stant, un­stop­pable change, how then do you make sure the essence of you stays the same? How do you en­sure the de­ci­sions you make about your life now are not ones that your fu­ture self will come to re­gret? The best ad­vice I can give is this: you make a rule book, and in that book, give your­self some rules. De­cide what de­cent val­ues you stand for: strength, kind­ness… it doesn’t mat­ter. The only thing that mat­ters is that you use th­ese as a guid­ing light through­out life. That means that when you change, and you will change, your es­sen­tial morals do not.

✱ Keep in touch by fol­low­ing me on Twit­ter @Far­rah_S­torr and In­sta­gram @far­rah­storr

FAR­RAH STORR Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

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