An open letter/list to my 16 year old self:
List 10 things you would tell your 16 year old self if you could is something that I see on a lot of blog challenges. I have tried (and failed miserably) a few times to complete a blog challenge. The reason why I don't stick with them because I get bored. It feels like I am just writing for writing's sake and not because I want to. I don't put a lot of effort into the writing challenges because the topics usually aren't things that I am passionate about. However, I do wish that I could go back in time and tell my 16 year old self a thing or two. So without further ado, I present to you my 10 things I would tell my 16 year old self (it's more than 10 but apparently I want to tell my 16 year old self a lot):
- You are enough. Often you will feel as though you are not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not enough, but you are. You might not be the best at something, the prettiest, the smartest, the most successful, the most/best anything but that's ok. But you are the best person you can be and that is more than enough
- You are stronger than you think you are, life will deal you more than your fair share of struggles but you are capable, strong and determined and will get through it. Believe in yourself.
- Life isn't fair, but it's not fair for anybody, everybody has struggled, been through hard times and had to work hard to get to where they are. That's just life.
- Part 2. Don't judge people and always be kind. Never judge anyone by the surface they show the world. You don't know how they got to the point in their life that they are at now. You don't know their background, their experiences, their lives. Be kind even when people aren't kind to you, keep your integrity. No one can take that away from you, plenty will try but that isn't a reflection on your character.
- Continue to be curious. Always retain your thirst for knowledge and curiosity, continue to ask questions even if they seem stupid, continue to wonder at the little things as well as the bigger picture. Read, watch documentaries, observe the people and things around you, learn. Soak up as much as you can through all of your senses.
- No one is "normal", everyone has their little quirks, just some more than others (you are included in this bracket). Gravitate towards interesting people, they fill your life with laughter, fun, friendship, and new experience and open your eyes. Be proud of who you are, you are unique and quirky. Don't try to be "normal" or like everyone else to fit in. You won't be happy.
- It's ok to make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes. Don't beat yourself up over things, learn and grow. Treat mistakes as a lesson.
- Money doesn't buy happiness. Granted it does make life easier (not that you will find that out anytime soon) but there is more to life than a large bank account. Picnics at the beach, walking amongst the leaves, laughing with friends, swimming in the river, a beer in the sun, listening to loud music, random conversations, camping, being surrounded by people who love you and you love back, listening to the sounds of nature, exploring new places, watching the stars and many more life experiences is ultimately what will make you happiest and will fill up your memory bank. Your memory bank is worth more than your money bank.
- Don't ever lose your passion. Be passionate about life - it's the only one you have, be passionate about the natural world - it is beautiful and awe-inspiring, be passionate about friends and family - without them you would be lost, be passionate about your hobbies - they fulfill you, be passionate about your job - that's where you spend a lot of your time. Experience, wonder, joy, feel everything. Talk about things that love with passion, don't be afraid to show how you feel about things. You never know, you may just inspire someone.
- Everyone has different views and opinions on life, politics, religion, work, money, people, racism, sexuality, fashion, rights, schooling and so on. It will make for some interesting conversations, you will often learn from these discussions and your eyes will often be opened. No one is right and no one is wrong. No one can tell you your beliefs and views are wrong if it is something you believe in and feel strongly about. If everyone thought the same way life would be rather dull. Go into life with open eyes and an open mind. Hold strong to your own personal beliefs, defend them but don't be afraid to learn and grow. No one has the right to take your beliefs, values and opinions away from you.
And most importantly:
- Laugh. A lot. Take pleasure in small things, tell jokes, laugh lots, find things to smile about every day. Don't be afraid to be silly or make a fool of yourself. Laugh at yourself and don't take yourself too seriously. Life is precious so you may as well have fun along the way
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but remember
It is important to remember that even though we can't go back into the past and change things, we can learn from our mistakes. After all, isn't life just one big learning curve? If we can't learn from the past, how can we make the future better?
We need to be kinder to ourselves. No one is perfect, not even ourselves. And aren't we ourselves worst critic? I know I certainly am. I can forgive others mistakes much more easily than my own.
Constant reflection is important for growth, for learning, for being our best selves. If we don't reflect on ourselves and our past mistakes, we can't move forward in a positive way.
I am by no means perfect, far from it, in fact. I often look back on the past and think, "Why the hell did I do that?". But the most important part is that I think, "What would I do differently?" and apply it to my current self. This has taken a fair bit o' practise though and don't always get it right. But I am trying. That's the main thing.
What would you tell your 16 year old self?
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