If you were asked to write a letter to your younger self, what would you say?
I was recently asked to do just that. When I released the young readers edition of my memoir Unmasked, my publishers asked me to write the book’s foreword as a letter to my teenage self.
I almost didn’t write it.
See, when I was a teenager, I distinctly remember HATING it when adults would try and impart their “life lessons” on me. They’d warn me in a very serious, omnipotent tone about the perils and dangers of adult life. Yawn!
But I’ve gotta keep my publishers happy (there’s a lesson for you – compromise! It works!) so I shared a few things I wish my younger self would have known… though I sincerely doubt she would have listened!
I thought you might be interested in reading it too.
So, without further ado, here’s a list of stuff I’d love to tell the obnoxious (at times) little Turia:
1. Mate, you don’t know everything. And the sooner you realise that, the sooner you start LISTENING to other people’s advice, the faster you’ll grow up.
2. Get better with your money. You’ll have a crushing credit card debt by the time you’re 21 (I don’t think she would have listened to this, see #1).
3. Learn that relying on other people and asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness but instead is a sign of strength.
4. Drop the invincible, tough act. You’re not a robot. And as much as I know you hate these kinds of words, get in touch with your feelings.
5. Be more grateful. Practice gratitude more. Don’t take your body and your brain for granted – take notice of the incredible life you’re living and everything you can do.
6. Don’t get so caught up in over-achieving and over-delivering. Don’t believe me? Remember your 17th birthday when all your friends came over for a surprise party but you ended the party early cos you had to study?? Enough said.
7. Try to relax a little darling. Stop, enjoy life.
8. You’ll meet a man. Who will change your life and be your rock. But it won’t be the one you think.
9. There’s going to be a time in the future where you’ll need every ounce of your inner strength. Things are going to be very sh*t for a few years. Worse than sh*t. The sh*ttest thing you could ever imagine. And it’s going to drag out and you’re going to wonder what you ever did to deserve it. But then, like all storms, it’ll pass. You’ll get better. You’ll heal ever so slowly. And even though we can’t change the past, we can change our future.
10. Listen to your Mum more. Even though she’s a crazy Tahitian woman, she does know what she’s on about (80% of the time).
11. Those shorts you wear are a bit too short. Just saying …
And if I had some unsolicited advice for you too, dear reader? My advice would be to live life on your terms. Do what you want. Chase the dreams that matter to YOU. Life’s too short to try and please everybody and to worry about what people think.
I’d love to know what advice you’d offer your younger self. Let me know in the comments below.
PS – I’ve bundled up the young reader’s edition of Unmasked with my eBook Good Selfie. This little book duo has stacks of strategies for kids and teens to build confidence, grit and resilience. Both books are here, if you know a family who would find them handy.
PPS – If you’re a teacher, my publisher put together these awesome resources for teachers and students reading Unmasked.
Click here to access them for free.
I could have written the same thing to my younger self. Very insightful read. Thank you.
Turia, YOU ROCK WOMAN !!
Love your honesty and sincerity!!!!
I would say to my younger self don’t be defensive and reactive especially to criticism. Take a deep breathe before you speak at times as everything cannot be perfect all the time. You’ll be less disappointed if you understand that all of us have flaws and life isn’t always fair.
This is amazing! Thanks again, Turia.
You are on point as always . My note to my younger self would be to respect myself ,trust my instincts and be true to myself . Remove the word “should” from my vocabulary . Be compassionate to myself and those around me .
Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful .
You are on point as always . My note to my younger self would be to respect & trust my instincts and be true to myself . Remove the word “should” from my vocabulary . Be compassionate to myself and those around me .
Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful .
Only a person who is very comfortable with their past can write those words. Thank you for sharing, very inspiring.
I can relate!!!
I would add to take myself less seriously, to find grace in every simple thing and try to laugh as much as I can. Most of “hard times” in life could be soften by laughing, living your own truths and giving zero Fs to toxic people!
I love reading your articles
Love and light xx
Smart words from Turia, as always. I had a very difficult early life, and I imagine myself hugging that lost young woman and telling her it will all be okay. It will take a lot of work with therapy and friends, but one day you will be confident, loving and loved. I am an artist and I always believed in my work, and that is one of the things that saw me grow and flourish. And along the way I met people in the arts, a therapist, a friend and others who I learned so much from. About how to live life and take a breath and look at the blue sky. Having an unconventional family made up of friends is quite wonderful.
Just one to my younger self even if I’m still only 23.
1. Trust your journey, you are amazing, you are loved and life will always get better.
I would support myself with her own decisions about what major to chose in college, not to listen to parents regarding that as I truly am strong enough smart enough for my own interests. There’s a reason I felt the way I felt about my parents, had I learned more about psychology early on I’d recognize evil in them a lot sooner and found way out sooner and saved myself from their turmoil a lot sooner. Learn to say NO, learn to walk away, learn to be alone, learn to be emotionally and financially independent no matter what others say. Learn some basic laws, study Buddhism, follow the inner compass.
Learn to love yourself!
Loved this. My advice to my younger self is almost the opposite to yours, I was enjoying life rather too much. I would tell myself to pull my finger out and study, forget the gap year that turned into 4 years, because by the time you get your sh*t together, uni with a baby is is no joke, and studying for final exams with a toddler with an ear infection, uggghhhh – we got there in the end and I have no regrets but like you I should have listened to my mother! Love your work.
I identify with number three so much. It’s something I still identify with today, it’s been a constant struggle growing up having to constantly rely on my nan to drive me around to hospital appointments, physio.
And god am I stubborn, while everyone else was getting independence I had to constantly have family support. But I also know I wouldn’t have gotten stronger if I didn’t allow my family to help.
Trust that little voice that whispers to you – your gut instinct – especially in times of trouble.
Sometimes you have to take that leap of faith – take the risk – otherwise you’ll never know “what could have been” and if it doesn’t work out the way you wanted then at the very least you still learned something – good or bad – all knowledge is important and useful
Turia, you are a true superwoman rockstar! You have enabled me to change my outlook and perspective on life and on how I view myself and what I wanting to achieve.
If I could go back and tell my younger self-anything, I would certainly tell her many of the similar things you have written about. I would also tell her;
1. Do whatever you want to – never let fear or anyone hold you back.
2. You can achieve anything your heart desires and much more.
3. Love who you are – the good and bad. Love the skin you are in, cherish and be kind to yourself.
4. Take the risks, take the leaps of faith and enjoy the journey.
5. Go on lots of adventures on your own, discover who you truly are.
6. You are amazing, you deserve happiness, you are stronger than you think you are and braver than anyone could imagine.
7. You are a SURVIVOR and you will always get back up no matter how hard they try to knock you down.