So today is my 26th birthday! I have quite mixed emotions about turning a year older this year. I generally love birthdays whether it be mine or anyone elses. I love the fuss of planning something with everyone and spending the day with those that mean the world to me. This year, however, I’m worried that life is flashing before my eyes and time is going too quickly. I wish I could hit the pause button and just enjoy my mid-twenties before they vanish. I think in your mid-twenties, life is quite ideal. You’re old enough to be able to be perfectly independent and on your own feet. Chances are you’ve probably been working the past couple years and have a little bit of money in the bank to allow you more freedom and flexibility to do exactly what you want, when you want it. You’re young enough, however, to still do everything you did back at university whether it be that wild night out, H2O, a music festival, wear Converse and braid your hair. Responsibilities in your mid-twenties are at a minimum. You might still live at home or, if you have moved out, you are most likely renting a small place for the time being. There is no mortgage or children tying you down and eating up your lifestyle budget. Travel is a possibility. You don’t need to wait for school holidays or varsity breaks to be able to load the car or hop on a flight to your travel destination. Life is easy and the world is at your feet. Your mid-twenties are such a wonderful time of freedom, exploration and self-discovery and for this reason I hate the thought that they are flashing before my eyes. If this birthday has taught me anything, it has shown me that I need to be more aware that this time is precious and I must enjoy every second because before I know it I will be looking back at this point in time and wish I had done more with the options that were available to me now.
While I’ve taken a moment to reflect on my present I thought about reflecting on the past too and considering any advice or pearls of wisdom that I would share with my younger self to prepare me for this present moment in time. I decided to write a letter to my sixteen year old self, on the date of my sweet sixteenth birthday. Here’s the advice I would share if I could hop in a time machine and meet myself back then.
A letter to my sixteen year old self
1. Appreciate your parents
Now this can never be over emphasised. As time has gone on I have realised that our parents are absolute angels. They have both done so much for us that the thought of how selfless they have been puts a lump in my throat so often. Whenever I need absolutely anything, Dad always comes to the rescue. He has been through a lot and it is important to remind yourself of that all the time. Be patient with him. Don’t get irritated with him. Treat him as gold because he is the most incredible, most humble and most gentle, loving soul on the planet. He would do anything for you and it’s important that you do the same for him.
2. Enjoy life to its fullest
Life is still so simple and it’s going to get so much more difficult. Make everything an adventure and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself no matter how big or small. Go on every school camp. Enjoy every family holiday rather than sitting on your phone wishing you were with your friends. Try things outside of your comfort zone every so often whether it be in sport, travel or adventure. Travel has always been your number one priority and nothing will change so dream big! The world is your oyster.
3. A smile can light up the whole world
Take the time to learn the name of everyone you meet. This is such an important skill so it’s good to start practicing now (I wish I had done this earlier on). From the teachers in your school to your friends’ parents to the cleaners. Greet everyone wish their name. It shows that you have taken the time to notice them and appreciate the small impact they have in your life and they will appreciate that. More importantly, smile at everyone you meet, whether you learn their name or not. You don’t know what’s going on in the lives of others. Sometimes a simple smile can change everything in the life of the person you’re smiling at, even if it is momentarily. Smile even when you don’t feel like smiling. It will changes your mood and your day too.
4. Girls can be nasty
This doesn’t mean you need to be. In fact, you should never be nasty to anyone, even if they were horrible to you and you’ve spent time in the bathroom crying as a result. Instead you should learn to expect that not all girls will be loving and supportive. A huge amount of them will be but not everyone is so sweet. Work on brushing off harsh words said or the way girls can tend to make you feel excluded. Try to work on not being so sensitive, it will be curse later on. Your resilience will be an incredible strength in future. Also remember that people tend to be nasty when something deeper and more serious is going behind the scenes – something that will have nothing to do with you and that you won’t even know about. Don’t return hate with hate. Always act out of love. The person who is being evil probably needs some loving.
5. Don’t waste your time with the wrong guy
If he’s not putting a smile on your face, he’s not worth your time. If he makes you cry, he’s not worth your energy either. Respect yourself enough to know what you deserve and don’t sell yourself short. No one has the right to make you feel small so don’t let them. Don’t stick around if all the warning signs are showing or if the same things keep continually happening. In the end you are only wasting your own time.
6. Be proud of yourself
Remember that you always strive for the best and you are always looking for the best way to develop and progress. This is one of your greatest strengths. You strive for perfection and you can tend to be quite hard on yourself but cut yourself some slack. You’ve been so diligent that you should know you are on the right track. Life will continue to unfold as you strive to progress and develop but you can allow yourself the time to look back and see how far you’ve come. Don’t be your harshest critic. Be kind to yourself.
7. Treasure your friends
In ten years from now the group of friends you had at the age of six will be the same group of friends you have at twenty-six. You will go through the best times and the worst times together. Laughter and tears. Heartbreak and love. Spend as much time as you can with your friends. Build memories that you can laugh about ten, twenty even thirty years from now. Friends like these are rare to find and you found gems.
Dress: X&O via YDE
Heels: Zoom Footwear via Spree
Bracelet: River Island
Clutch: Forever New