Letter To My 20-Year Old Self

Dear Me,

You’re gonna go through a lot of things in the next couple of years that, looking back, you’ll know made you who you are and were absolutely necessary to your growth. This letter is not about stopping you from doing anything or warning you to take another path in life. I’m not going to ask you to avoid certain people or situations or make different decisions. That being said, I do wonder how things might change if you heed this advice:

1. Love yourself: I can’t stress this enough. This has to do with totally understanding who you are, what you need and acting on those things. Love yourself enough to know that you know what’s best for you. Don’t doubt that little voice deep down that tells you like it is. It will never steer you wrong. Trust that you know what you need.

2. Don’t be afraid to fail: Your biggest lessons in life will come from taking a chance on yourself. Don’t worry about how you might look to others. The people who really matter and are out for your best interests will love you regardless of how many times you screw up. They’ll also be your biggest fans. And the more chances you take on yourself – I can bet – the more you”ll surprise yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

3. Realize that life is short: This is such a cliche and as the years go by, it may become a diluted concept to you but it’s so damn true. As you while away the time running around with limited responsibilities, you won’t feel how fast time flies. The key is to enjoy every morsel of life and appreciate it all. And most importantly, when you’re moving in the wrong direction, correct your course. Don’t put it off for another day because it’s quite possible that day may never come. It’s also quite likely that you’ll never get around to doing what you need to do.

4. Don’t worry about things you can’t change: It’s an utter waste of energy and will only lead to more problems and worries. And laugh dammit. There’s nothing better than laughing in the face of adversity. Remember that there will always be challenges in life and things you need to overcome so instead of worrying about them, embrace them, conquer them and move on.

5. Be mindful of who you spend time with: Crappy energy is crappy energy. If someone brings you down or makes you feel like any morsel less of the amazing person you are, they need to go. Period.

6. Travel and explore: Understand that the world is made of things far beyond what you can see. The more you see, experience and realize is out there, the more likely you are to create new opportunities and situations that will help you grow.  Grab those opportunities and refer to #2.

7. Be thankful: When you think you need more of one thing or you think you need something entirely different, be grateful for what you have. You’ll never attract more of the good shit until you’re happy with what you’ve got.

8. Know when to move and when to be still: There will be days when you just have to keep going to get shit done. There will be days where a sweaty workout will bring sanity to cloudy thoughts and help you get clear on stuff. Be sure to make the distinction between when you need to keep moving to feel like things are going right and when you need to slow down. Stopping to breathe and reflect is just as important. Sometimes things become clear when you just sit still.

9. Music can turn the crappiest day right-side up: You’ll understand this most when you’re dancing like no one’s watching. And wait ’til you hear what Radiohead comes up with over the years. You ain’t heard nuthin’ yet baby.

10. Don’t stop drawing, colouring, painting: While you might think you’ll ‘grow out’ of this stuff, there’s nothing better you can do for your creativity than to create art. Keep creating because those creations will bring you more joy and pride than you can possibly imagine.



  • Corinne K.
    December 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you Melissa! I guess hindsight is always 20/20 😉

  • Melissa Paiva
    December 7, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Love this! Well said!

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