I’ve had a few things on my mind of late, and I’ve spent a lot of time journaling and working my way through some blocks. All this has put me in a fairly reflective mode, and I’ve been reliving the last few years in my head. I don’t mean that in a negative way though. If anything, I can feel my heart and mind expanding in ways I’ve not allowed myself for quite some time.
Going over my life almost like a movie reel in the last few days has made my heart ache for my younger self, the 18-year-old version of me. God! I was so naive then, and my world view was so limited. I had no clue then of all the ways in which my life would expand, the experiences I would have, and the lessons I would learn along the way.
So as a result of all this recent contemplation about my life’s journey to where I am today, I ended up writing this post as a letter to my younger self. It’s mostly just cathartic writing in a way, but a part of me also hopes that if you’re going through a tough phase, the words in this letter might uplift you and make you believe in your own strength.
Dear younger me,
I know you’re dying to become a “real” adult. You know, with a job, and a salary on which you can live comfortably, and with no one to tell you what to do.
Well, that last part is a myth. No matter how “adult” you become, there will always be someone to tell you what to do. You will learn with time to ignore some of those voices, but adulthood is not the utopia you imagine it to be.
Make no mistake though – growing up, growing old, is a real privilege. The adulting (no, it’s not a word that you know of yet) might get to you every once in a while, but being able to do adulthood is something you should be grateful for every single day.
In fact, your adult life will be sweeter and harder than what you can imagine right now, but know this, you’re in for a beautiful journey.
Anyway, you won’t learn to be structured till many, many years later, so here’s an unstructured list of things that I wish you knew at the beautiful, impressionable, golden age of 18:
No seriously! Save more. You will not realise how important this is until so much later.
YOU ARE WORTH SO MUCH MORE THAN WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE.
It will take you over a decade, and then some, to believe that. You will spend many years believing you are not good enough. You won’t even realise how much you’re tying your own worth to outside validation. Have more faith in yourself. Love yourself, all parts of you, all shapes of you. You are worth everything and more.
THERE IS MORE TO YOU THAN YOUR BODY SIZE OR WEIGHT.
Somehow in your head you’ve come to believe that you’re fat. No one’s ever said that to you but that’s how you’ve started to see yourself. Over time this will create a long-lasting block in your head. When you look back at your photos from this time, you will whack your head at how you thought THIS was fat.
You will become unbearably sensitive about your weight, to the detriment of your mental and physical health, and you will have body image issues. You will have to work very hard to unravel that block but you can do it. I wish you learned to cherish your body much sooner.
YOU WILL IGNORe YOUR INTUITION MORE OFTEN THAN YOU WILL LISTEN TO IT.
It will take you a long time to learn to trust your inner voice, but when you will finally lean into it, big, beautiful things will happen. It will seem scary in the beginning, and you will have to shake things up dramatically, but listening to your intuition will fuel a fire within you that you didn’t even realise you had all along.
I WISH YOU WOULDN’T SETTLE FOR PLAYING SMALL.
Somewhere along the way, you will start to play small. It breaks my heart that you will have to go through that phase. You will unknowingly give up your power, and it will take you a long time to even realise that, leave alone taking that back.
The journey back to your inner strength will take a while, and you will fight it in fact, because sadly, even you will not understand the depth of your own self. But once you own it, you will blossom like the gorgeous flower that you always were.
FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS FTW!
You will lose touch with some of your closest friends only to find those ties back again in a few years, and you will know then that having girlfriends that you can lean on is a blessing, and one that you must hold onto with all your might.
TRAVEL WILL BECOME A SOUL LIFTER FOR YOU.
You will find a deep sense of joy in travel. You will leave pieces of your heart in so many places.
Right now, you can’t even fathom that you will one day fly to far away lands – you’ve never even been on a flight yet! Or that you will eat foods you’ve never even dreamed of in your life and see views where you will have to pinch yourself to believe that it’s all real, and that it’s all right in front of you. But sweet girl, you will, and you will want more of it, because you will learn that travel is one of those things that truly makes your soul feel alive.
IT WILL TAKE YOU A WHILE, BUT YOU WILL LEARN TO LIVE THROUGH TOUGH TIMES WITH GRACE.
Admittedly, you will not always act or behave gracefully. In fact, there will be a phase when you will become a version of yourself that you won’t even recognise. But little by little, as you start your inner work, you will find your true self resurfacing, and along with it, your grace, empathy and confidence as well.
YOU WILL BE LOVED IN WAYS YOU CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE TODAY.
I know you’re worried about whether you’ll find true love, whether there is someone out there for you. You’re afraid of being alone even though you never really were.
Despite your worries, you will experience love. Deep, profound love that will shake you to the core. You will find joy, so much joy, that you will be afraid to believe that it can last.
So many new people will come into your lives who will love you for who you are. Your inner circle will never be too large, but the ones who make their way through it, will be solid gold. Because YOU are solid gold, darling girl.
HONOUR YOUR WORD.
Live up to your own word. Do what you say you will. Don’t say yes to things you know you won’t end up following through.
There will be a phase when you will struggle to keep your own promises to yourself – try not to beat yourself up over it. But know that the sooner you break that cycle, the happier you will feel with yourself.
AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE TOPIC OF WORDS – YOUR WORDS HAVE POWER.
Be wise in the words you use for yourself and also what you use with others. Your words have so much power – they can heal, they can uplift, but they can cut you (and others) down. Use this power wisely.
I could go on for hours, but I’ll probably end up boring you to death. So just one last bit before I sign off – laugh more, and live whole-heartedly! You, and your life, is a gift.
Your much older self
What would you include in your letter to your younger self? What advice would you give the 18-year-old version of yourself?
Image via The Creative Library
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