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.