Messages To My Younger Self

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Having recently entered my 32nd year of life, I feel as if I’ve reached a point where I’m beginning to realise what life is all about. Of late, I’ve started to reflect a lot more on my life; where my life began, the journey I’ve been on up to this point and how my life will progress in the years to come. As with most people’s lives, my life to date has had many twists and turns and is certainly a far cry from the life I’d envisaged when I was a young girl. That of course doesn’t mean to say that life hasn’t been good to me, because it most certainly has. That said, I wish I could offer a few words of advice to my younger self, to help dispel some of the worries I once had and to ultimately equip me better mentally for the life ahead. This of course is an impossibility, but in hope that I may help you on your own journey through life, I’d like to share with you all those words of wisdom.

  1. Do not be afraid to fail. Learn to be comfortable with failure. Failure helps you to recognise the areas that require development. Take the necessary lessons from failure and use them to mould your success. Never getting things wrong means that you will never truly get things right. Embrace failure, it will drive you to success.
  2. Have confidence in your inner voice. Take time out of your day and listen to what it is telling you. Respect what it is telling you and act on it. In doing so, you will find some happiness.
  3. There will be days when you will question where your life is going; what is the purpose, what is your purpose? You will not discover your purpose simply through making a choice of which University to go to or what you want to do for your career. You will continue to search for your purpose, convincing yourself that you will find it at your next achievement, only to find that it’s not there. Stop focusing on what you want and spend more time focusing on what you already have inside you. Only then will you discover your passion and therefore your true purpose.
  4. Always trust your gut instincts. If in doubt, go with your gut. Whether it’s during an exam or in any number of life’s situations, your gut will rarely fail you.
  5. Invest as much as you can in your friendships. You can’t be friends with everyone, but your close friends will be there through all of life’s ups and downs. They will be there to support you, to nourish you, to laugh with you and to make memories with you that you will cherish forever.
  6. Although there are difficult times ahead of you, know that you will get through them. Keep breathing and know that the sun will rise tomorrow.
  7. Never be ashamed to ask questions, to take advice from others. Those who are courageous and passionate ask questions. As the Chinese proverb states, ‘he who asks a question remains a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever.’
  8. Be kind to others. This will fill you with an immense sense of satisfaction. Smile often and offer a helping hand to those in need; an elderly relative, a student at school without a friend. The simple act of kindness can change lives.
  9. Embrace any opportunity to learn. You are not abnormal for wanting to learn. Learning, in any format, will open many doors and present you with a whole host of possibilities.
  10. Value nutrition early in life. Healthy nutrition will aid focus, will keep you energised through the day and it will help ward off a number of chronic diseases that can otherwise compromise life. Drink more water, eat more veggies and enjoy the occasional treat (occasional being the optimal word).
  11. Don’t be ashamed to be yourself. I repeat. Don’t be ashamed to be yourself. You are your best when you are yourself. Don’t be afraid to be different. The world would be a boring place if we were all the same.
  12. Take inspiration from your elders. For the most part, they’ve been where you’ve been. Respect them and allow their life experiences to guide you.
  13. You will never be the only person going through what you are going through at any one time. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone, though it way seem that way at times. Find companionship in those who are going through a similar situation. There will be a greater sense of understanding and you can support each other through difficult times.
  14. Don’t keep things bottled up. Think of your mind as a giant glass cylinder. Whenever you take something on emotionally, it’s like adding a glass of water to your cylinder. If you don’t offload those emotions, the cylinder will fill up with water. Ultimately, if some of that water is not taken out, it will spill out over the top of the cylinder and cause damage to the floor. In reality, if you do not express your feelings to those who can support you, you cause yourself unnecessary damage. You are not doing yourself any favours by keeping things to yourself. Talking is a great form of therapy and you will feel better for doing it.
  15. Travel as much as you can while you’re young. The world is filled with truly magnificent wonders. Interact with people from different cultures and use their life experiences to enrich your own. People can teach you far more than a text book can. As Saint Augustine once said, ‘the world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.’
  16. Life is precious, never ever forget that.

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