Dear younger me,
I know you don’t tend to listen to advice from anyone and you know better; but perhaps you’ll take it from me, your older self:
- Talk to everyone who is important in your life. Really talk to them. Ask the big questions because life is fleeting. Before you know it, they’re gone and you’ll miss the chance to find out about the stuff that matters.
- Phone your mum on that first night you move from home. She’ll be hurt you didn’t call her to let her know you were there and happy.
- Travel to many places and continents and never lose your curiosity about the world around you. Pick places on the map, book the flights (even if you’re short on money) and go. You’ll save because you make it a priority. Those are what memories are made of.
- Your mum will be the best friend you ever have.
- Keep in touch with your friends, even when you move away. Have friends in different groups with varied interests. Make an effort with them. You’ll never be stuck for company or new experiences with lots of friends.
- Take a year out to travel or volunteer and think about what you want to do with life – there is no rush to find a sensible career.
- It doesn’t matter if you fail at first, remember to always try your best and don’t give up when the going gets tough. Then if you get to the stage where you cannot go on any further, there is no shame in giving up. The shame is in never ever trying.
- Sometimes hurtful comments, even if they’re true and deserved, really are best unsaid.
- Tell another person about the thing that happened to you. You’ll always wonder who else wasn’t so lucky to get the help you got.
- Those boys who never phone you when they should – tell them to take a hike. The ones who want you will make the effort.
- If you’re stuck or don’t know – always ask. Don’t mess up when mistakes can be avoided!
- Take time to heal then move on after a break-up. It will feel like the end of the world. You’ll have to deal with other losses over the years and this is training for other departures in life. They don’t want you and you’ll meet the right person when you’re not looking.
- When someone shows you something at work write it down so you don’t forget.
- You have a gift of the gab. That gift will bring many rewarding conversations and experiences your way. Don’t lose it.
- Stop binge drinking. Through drinking you’ll put yourself in dangerous positions.
- Keep on writing the diary. I know she read it and discovered your secrets, but find a way to make it work. You’ll regret not having those precious memories written down.
- Continue reading. You can never be lonely or bored when you have a book.
- You are better looking than you think you are. Ok, you don’t ooze sexiness, but you’ve got that sweet country girl look. Enjoy it and have more confidence. There’s a chance you’ll never look as good again! I can vouch for that.
- You think you’re fat. Ok, you’re not thin but normal sized is good. Embrace your normal size. In the future you’ll want the normal when you’re struggling to maintain it.
- Don’t trust Jennifer who wants you to stay at her flat in Glasgow. She’ll have a fling with your boyfriend when you’re in Turkey.
- Your friends say you’re ‘too nice’. Don’t listen. As an adult you can hold your head high and genuinely speak to anyone in the past without regrets.
- Take a Mindfulness Productivity course when you’re 20. Then you might not spend the next 20 years feeling guilty because you procrastinate over everything.
- Find fun in exercise and healthy eating and make it a way of life. If you don’t start taking care of yourself now, you’ll feel the results in later years when you realise it’s not just about looking good.
- Keep appreciating the small things in life. They might seem insignificant but they’re often the things that make you happiest.
- Don’t assume you’ll get pregnant at the drop of a hat. You won’t, but it will happen.
- When you have the money, overpay your mortgage. You’ll save loads in interest.
- Keep loving the music. Go to as many concerts as you can. Again, those memories make your middle aged self happy. You’ll still be going then too but not as much.
- Don’t go in the van when the strange man stops and offers you a lift when you’re drunk. You’re an 18 year old girl alone in the city – phone your mum!
- You’ll never enjoy housework, but you’re ok with that. You will learn to compromise.
- Pick you battles carefully. Some are not worth the hassle.
- Do what you love. You love writing, you love children – there’s no money in either but it’s what you should aim for in your career. You’ll be doing both 20 years later after chopping and changing over the years.
- Stop being so self-conscious. It’s more fun when you don’t care what others think.
- If you have to pick between a thing or an experience – go for the experience every time. Those are what make you smile in later years.
- You’re spending all your money on clothes, make-up, nights out and holidays. Good for you! Do it for as long as you can.
Not always the most sensible, sometimes you even break the law and put your life in danger. You’re a curious girl and luckily haven’t been damaged by it. That aside, you are young and embrace life. You’re a free spirit, unpredictable and live life on a whim. The danger aside, I want to tell you that I’m proud of you. Believe me, it all gets very sensible when you have adult commitments in a few years. You’ll never stop changing and learning as you go – and that’s what it’s all about.
Your middle aged self. xxxx
Lesa is an average person, living an average life and is moderately happy with her lot. There are peaks of bountiful happiness and pleasure and dips of turmoil and flatness. Lesa doesn’t let life’s set-backs knock her down or think she’s invincible when she achieves greatness. She’s finally realised that nobody is perfect and the purpose of life is to embrace it with all she’s got and to give what she can to others. Oh, and try to have a lot of fun along the way.
Lesa has no idea why she’s writing in the third person; she never does that.