Dear my younger self
Life. It’s an enigma. Never in your wildest dreams is it what you could imagine it to be. It’s not a fairytale - far from. Adulthood is the time when you realise that there is no such thing as being a “grown up”. That, in fact, "grown ups” have nothing figured out. They tell you lies. They are overgrown children. As a child, you think everything will work out the way it is meant to be. But that is the grand fallacy.
There is no prince charming. Walt Disney lied to you. In fact, there is no man out there incapable of breaking your heart. Your first love will be painful. It will be a lesson you wished you never had to learn. But that’s how growth happens. Unfortunately, you can’t develop into a strong, resilient woman without a little pain. The men you happen upon thereafter won’t be any better. But having built that resilience, the duration of time in which you experience heartache and disappointment will significantly lessen. You will also start to look at other women – who have been physically beaten by their partners, cheated on throughout their marriage, and are emotionally destroyed and recognize that, perhaps, you may have have dodged a bullet in failing to find someone to “love”. Especially since the person you once loved had rarely anything positive to say about your appearance and personality.
You see, you will live in the generation of “FOMO” (“Fear Of Missing Out”). Many men (there are, however, rare exceptions) think there is a better woman just waiting around the corner for them. They are deluded, but it will be too late for them by the time they wake up to their willful ignorance and see that the person they had standing in front of them was actually a keeper.
You will live in a time when there is perceived gender equality. But this is bullshit. You will live in a reality where the gender gap is as big as ever. You will earn 25% less than your male colleagues and yet work just as hard. You will be called “bossy” when you are assertive and a “bitch” if you dare share a divergent opinion. Eventually, you will wash your hands of those negative comments and ignore the stigma that comes with labelling yourself a “feminist”. You will be a feminist. You won’t care if you’re called a “psycho” – and you will be called that more than once – by men (and some women) for not lying to yourself and sharing your world view with others. However, you will learn that the reason they call you this is that they are threatened by your power – and your “f**k it” attitude.
You will, sadly, buy into the beauty myth. You will have botox, lip injections and maybe do something more drastic. But, at the end of the day, you will realise that it doesn’t add to your self-worth. Rather, it is psychologically damaging. You cannot beat mother nature. You will age no matter how many cosmetic treatments you undergo. And you will question why you put yourself through such physical torture. To be liked? To find a husband? F**k finding a husband.
You need to stop measuring your self-worth through the opinions of others. You are a smart, beautiful and capable individual with a deep sense of compassion and empathy. Your heart breaks for the world and the people suffering in it. But you will feel helpless, because getting out of bed in the morning is a triumph for you. You will suffer your demons. But you will conquer. You will find your place in this world - the problem is, I can’t tell you when because, at the age of almost 32, we haven’t figured that out yet.
So the best advice I can give you at this stage in your (our) life is to love others (especially your parents, family and friends). Be there for them. Show them compassion. Live your life without expectations. And be prepared to live your life alone. We come into this world alone and we die alone. We can form human connections for a certain period of time, but those connections are transient. They a transient not just because people are fickle, but people die. Life is not forever. It’s about relishing in the experience of the now, enjoying the present moment and being true to yourself and the person you choose to be. Don’t be what others want you to be. That’s the biggest mistake you will ever make. Stop trying to be someone you’re not and if that displeases another then so be it. Your life has nothing to do with them.
Love wholly. Be honest. Seek out connections. Learn. Grow. Experience. Appreciate. And don’t ever give up. Don’t let the darkness consume you. Because wherever there is darkness there is light. Your light is within. I love you my younger self. You are such a good person. You will make many mistakes as an adult, and you will be ashamed of your actions at times, but there is no point in beating yourself up over it. Stop and question how you can make a contribution. You have the power to turn things around.
Every decision that you make is your choice. Embrace your choices, even the bad ones. Experiences = growth.
Loving yourself is more important than being loved by another. Yes, you are an only child. But you will choose your tribe and end up with friends who aren’t blood, but who are wholly devoted to you. You may not get married and conceive a child, as you have always wanted, but that’s another lesson of life. You can’t always have what you want.
You can however, and will, have what you want academically and career-wise (those desires will be fulfilled), but matters of the heart are a different story. You cannot force another person to fall in love with you. And that is the hardest lesson you will have to learn. Once you do, you will find true contentment with your life and a sense of freedom you never thought possible.
At 32, you still won’t know what our life’s purpose is, but that’s because we are meant to find out when we’re a bit older. Whatever you do, don’t lose hope. We will never give up on our dreams.
Love always, your older self