I sure do hope you've had a most productive week! I sure have! I was going through some of my old pictures today and I couldn't help but think to myself "my oh my, how times (and indeed, I myself) have changed!" Some of what I thought, at 16, were my fundamental beliefs have changed. Some of my basic tastes have changed too - have you ever looked back at an old pic of yourself and thought, "now HOW on earth did I leave the house looking like that!" Haha! In other words, all I'm saying is I've become a little less ratchet..hahaa! But actually, if you'd like to see some pics of my younger self, see this post here.
Change and growth are good!
If I could go back in time and teach my younger self what I know now, this is what I'd say:
Yes, in capital letters: RELAX. You're okay, you're doing your best. You're growing. Everything will come together. Chill. Somehow when we are younger, we're always striving. For better grades, or to be the teacher's pet. Or to be the rebel or to fit into some "cool gang". Or to be like so and so. Always, striving. And striving is exhausting. I'd remind my younger self to take sometime just to be breathe and to count my blessings.
2. Invest in Yourself
Take some time to read a new book by an author you've never encountered. Spend some time on Youtube learning a new skill. (Psstt.. I learnt all my make up skills from YouTube.! Haha! Yes, I have a degree from YouTube university folks!) But seriously, attend a conference. Meet new people. Take an extra class. The more skills you gain as a youngin' the better for you. I have friend who plays 4 instruments, swims professionally and is studying to be a Doctor. Whichever career he chooses, he's set for life! I'd encourage my younger self to invest in building worthwhile skillsets.
This is one of the most important lessons I've implemented in my own life. I can't even overstate just how much GIVING has given back to me. I've been involved in community service initiatives since I was 14. I've volunteered to teach in schools in informal settlements in Nairobi and public institutions in snowy Massachusetts. I also ran a book project while at the Kenya High School that raised over 50,000 used textbooks and exercise books for 40 schools in Kenya. Giving kept me alive. Giving connected me to humanity. Giving kept me humble and human. Giving not only impacted the people I shared my resources with, it gave back to me. EVERYTHING I've come to be has simply been because I gave of myself. I'd encourage my younger self to spend less time focused inwardly and instead to reach out and serve my community.
4. Forgive Yourself
Now, I've made some pretty serious mistakes in my life. I've hang out with the wrong people and put myself in some pretty dangerous situations. I've hurt my parents and my family on more occasions than I'd like to admit. I've disappointed my friends and lost some along the way. We're human, we all make mistakes. Mistakes are part of how we come to learn what's right for us from what's wrong. If you're as stubborn as me, you probably want to learn by yourself rather than be taught. Mistakes don't only hurt the people in our lives, the hurt us too, and sometimes it's hard to forgive ourselves for our shortfalls. But I've learned that the greatest gift I could ever give myself is the gift of self-love and forgiveness. Learn, and move on. I'd remind my younger self that it's within my power to decide whether or not my mistakes define who I am.
5. Crush on him hard
Hhahaha!! I'm laughing at myself here. Do you know I had a crush on some guy for 7 years? Whatever a crush is to an 8 year old, but yeah. S.E.V.E.N. Y. E. A. R. S. First loves somehow are the most gruelling of them all! Ask me, I could write a book! But even if I could turn back time, I'd do it all the same again. Every encounter, every broken heart, every flirt and giggle shaped my heart and prepared me for the person that was meant to be mine. I'd tell my younger self that It might not look like it now, but you'll find a knight who's captivated by you and the stregth and vitality of a mature love will be nothing like you experienced before!
6. You're Beautiful
Believe it, breathe it, live it. It's okay to be a little curvy, a little skinny, a little tall, a little short. You are okay just they way you are. Your skin doesn't have to be any lighter or darker. You are enough. Your stretch marks are pieces of art, your back rolls are perfectly placed. Her beauty does not lessen yours. You are enough. You are worthy of love. I'd remind my younger self that I am a blossoming rose and that my beauty is not diminished by that of the rose next to me.
Everyday, choose life. Every morning when you wake up, choose love, happiness, lightness, forgiveness, and patience. Feel the freedom that comes from being able to make mistakes and choices. Embrace the frailty of your humanity. Let your heart soar. Give light and the darkness will disappear by itself.
If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say? Funny enough, these 6 things that I'd tell my younger self feel relevant for my present self! But yeah, what would you say? I'd love to know, so leave me a note down below!