So given that one chance to be 21 again, that time in my life when I was young, maybe free and a little wild.What would I say to my younger self; When the world was my oyster and a landscape of possibilities? Where do I start? Would I give anything for another opportunity to be 21 again? A little part of me says yes, but a bigger part says no. There are things I know now I wish I knew at 21. Hey, I didn’t and I guess it’s alright. So here it goes…
Dear younger self,
Live everyday openly, honestly and happily. Listen to your inner voice… always. That still quiet voice is never wrong, especially when it tells you “take every great opportunity that speaks positively to you and do it afraid, no one ever died from trying and failing”. Make mistakes and don’t be too scared to take risks in love, life and sex, for how else would you know what you like and don’t like; what works and doesn’t work. The world will get over many of your misgivings especially if you don’t wear it about like a coat of many colours.
Not having your dream job even at 25 isn’t the end of your life, many of the world’s most successful people were flat out broke, no job with little or no prospect or idea of what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives. Don’t get caught in the drama and band wagon of the ‘5-year plan’, most people often say that to sound intelligent and focused (only a handful know the true essence of the 5-year plan). Be selfish. If your dream is to travel the world, then do so. Don’t be burdened with the worries of parents and their wellbeing. Love them and care for them, but never be preoccupied with how they are doing; from where I stand today, parents are meant to worry about us and not the other way round.
Make education a priority. Take every opportunity to broaden your horizon. Read, learn a language or two. Ask questions without fear of looking silly. Tackle that class project and go after that 3.5 GPA with everything you’ve got. Don’t worry if liking school makes you less of a cool kid; imagine how cool you would be at your school reunion with success stamped all over you like expensive French perfume. Be nice to people in school, you never know where life will take you and who will come around the bend to throw you a life line. Life has a way of showing up with people we never envisioned we would need. School days are for learning, living, experimenting and playing. Enjoy it as much as you can.
Learn the culture of savings and a six-months fall back plan, it’s always reassuring knowing you can meet beyond your basic needs while figuring out the rest of your life. Dream, experiment, work hard but also play hard. Give your best to your job but always remember to put yourself first.
Boys? Enjoy their company and their half truths but be smart enough to know he can’t look out for you better than you. When it comes to boys and sex, have a lot of it but play safe with the boys and remember, do it for you and not for him. More importantly, having sex with boys who aren’t your boyfriends or proposed husbands don’t make you cheap or a slut. If you feel the need or desire to have sex, do so without feeling cheap or used (at best, take solace in the knowledge you both used each other… Lol), above all, protect yourself. AIDS is real, so is herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and an unwanted pregnancy. Sex is both over rated and under rated. Yes I said it, it’s true. (I wish I was having more sex at 25). It’s a big deal and not so much a big deal, it’s for you to find your balance. Decide who you want to do it with and who not to ‘knock boots’ with. If you keep worrying about who he’ll tell or how people will look at you; I have news for you; he’ll probably tell all his boys and people will know, so what? Truth is, even if you aren’t having it, people already assume you are, so bloody well have it.
Love? Have your hear broken at least once in your life time and don’t ever think your first crush is your first, only and one true love, because darling, there will be several first loves. If you eventually find the ‘one’ you feel deep in your heart and head, is the ‘one’, then hold on tight and never let him go. But please, don’t be in a mad rush to bag the MRS. Certificate, you have a lifetime to bag it and keep it. A man who loves you will respect you – love and respect go hand in hand, so never trade one for the other. If a man ever shoves you, pushes you or talks down at you while laying claim to “love made me do it”, run as though the devil himself is after you. Let him beg, let him grovel, please don’t take him back. He’s a liar, a cheat and a bully. You are too beautiful to make room for such a person in you life.
Friendships. Make them, nurture them, cherish them and hold them tight. But learn also, not all friendships will last a lifetime, some will run their course and you will call it a day on it. Others will come ferociously to strengthen you and you will bless every single day you found that friend. You are allowed to have several best friends because each one brings something unique to your life. Some will be your calm through a storm, some will be you partner in crime, some your confidante and some will be your party buddy and it’s ok. But remember, any friendship that harms your mind, person or takes away from your value is not worth keeping, do away with such. Bond with your girlfriends, have differences but always work it out. Don’t let boys come in between you, they aren’t worth it. Love your friends like sisters and keep their secrets safe.
Peace, Love ‘n’ Light