“Letters to My Younger Self” is a series focused on wisdom and self-awareness. Just as you write letters to a friend to encourage and uplift them, here is the advice we would go back and tell our younger selves.
My words to you, as simple as they may be, start and end with the warm and resounding truth that you are going to be just fine. Yes, you’re going to be OK.
You’re 19 years old, and you’ve just started university. You’re in a new town—a brand new place. You always imagined that this would be “your year.” You pictured that you would feel wild and free, bold and becoming. You imagined that the world around you would be exciting, that it would be yours to behold.
Things are pretty stormy, perhaps more than they’ve ever been. You wrote in your journal today that you felt lost at sea, but my dear younger self, in all of these things, you are still known and you are still seen. However, these days—the ones that you would rather skip over or keep behind the scenes—are the pages of your story that will one day be proudly told. These are the days where change will finally begin.
My dear younger self, in all of these things, you are still known and you are still seen.
During this time, you’ll learn some important things about who you are. These things will lift you out of the water and calm the waves of the sea.
It will start with the art of letting go, leaving behind the relationships that reduce you and entangle you. It will start with letting go of the ones that keep you from where you want to be. You’ll learn that you are not the substance of what they said you were.
Despite what you may have been led to believe, you are not deficient or lacking. You are whole—gloriously whole. It’ll take a little time for these things to settle and sink in. It’ll take a little heart to speak up about the way things have been.
You are whole—gloriously whole. It’ll take a little time for these things to settle and sink in.
You will not always feel confined in this way. It seems like a mystery, but one day, I promise things will be clear. You will learn that freedom is uncompromisable and soon, you will walk in wide open fields.
I see you falling in love with life again—in a way that nobody can take away.
I see you not only finding your feet but rising, rising and rising again.
I see you facing your fears and laughing with deep belly laughter.
I see you feeling joy, deep in the depths of your soul.
I see you, a force of life, learning to hold your own—accomplishing more than you could ever think possible. It won’t be in your own strength, but you’ll realize that there is a place for you here—one that you will occupy with courage and grace.
I see you, a force of life, learning to hold your own—accomplishing more than you could ever think possible.
I see you growing up to do great things. Better yet, I see you never standing alone. I see you surrounded by friends who will remain alongside you every step of the way. They’ll pick you up and cheer you on. (In fact, years down the line, they will still be your best friends, and they’re still standing in your corner today.)
I see you not wallowing in the pain of the past but revelling in the joy of all that is to come. I see you living a life that you could’ve never dared to dream. My dear younger self, I gently ask you this: Will you release the pressure that keeps you confined and let your heart beat slow?
In the space between where you are and the place where you will be, a lot is going to change. Breathe deep, lean in and listen close, for this I know for sure—you are going to get there. In fact, you are well on your way.
Wild and free. Bold and becoming. You are going to be just fine. Yes, you’re going to be OK.
Your older self
What advice would you give to your younger self? What do you wish you knew at a younger age?
Illustration via Studio Grand-Père