One of my favourite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat Pray Love fame recently posed a question to her audience.
What would you say to the old you? Not a letter. Two words. What would the message be?
I’ve often thought about writing a letter to my younger self … but a two word note? Hmmmmm. “Exercise More” perhaps.
Elizabeth offered her younger self, three options:
1) “Calm down.” (This was my first thought. But I eventually rejected this one, on account of the fact that is STILL the advice I need to follow, so it doesn’t have much to do with being young, specifically…)
2) “No boys.” (Oh, god — what I could have done with my youth had I not gotten so entangled in so many doomed romances! The hours, the months, the YEARS that I gave away to boys! The drama! The infatuations! The tears! All those evenings spent watching “Predator” again and again! I just read a study saying that 30% of all students at Ivy League universities are virgins, and I thought: “Well, of course!” If I had stayed away from boys, and instead used all that time productively, I also could have mastered Mandarin and physics and violin by the age of 21.)
3) “Never mind.” (This is what I finally settled on. Because everything I did when I was young — every mistake, every drama, every failure, every euphoric encounter, every dream, every yearning — has made me who I am today. And while I am far from perfect, I cannot help but believe that I needed become exactly this person, which is to say that I needed all those experiences, precisely the way they were. So if my younger self asked my advice, I would just say, “Never mind.” Do exactly what you’re doing. It all takes you where you need to be. A thought which becomes kind of reassuring, in terms of the mistakes I am probably making today…if you get my drift…)
So challenge accepted and all that jazz. After many months of jotting down words into my notebook, here is what I’ve come up with:
“Botox Injections.” (Just kidding … )
“Dream Bigger.” I think I settled to early for a job I didn’t love or enjoy because I was too darn scared to dream bigger. Being creative is where my heart sings and I wish I hadn’t closed the creative door for so many years.
“Know Yourself.” My winner. Because choosing the path to discover yourself, love yourself, respect yourself and know yourself will always come out on top. Without knowing it, I’ve been on a quest for clarity, purpose and self-growth and I wish I had started the journey sooner.
Ten years ago the key to my happiness was a Twix chocolate bar. Now the key to my happiness is travelling, sharing a lovely moment with family & friends and being confident in my skin. And French Champagne. I can’t forget to add the deliciousness of a glass of bubbly French Champagne.
Over to you. What two words would you say to your younger self?