If you could advise your younger self, what would you say?
Hindsight is a mighty superpower and one we all play with from time to time.
Is there much you would do differently? Do you know so much better now?
My answer would be something like this.
Dear Younger Self,
*Enjoy the freedom.
Little responsibility in life is a great luxury; embrace it.
I remember feeling as if I had so much to worry about when in truth life back then was so uncomplicated. I was in too much of a rush to grow up, to settle down and be responsible. Now I could think of nothing better than to feel free enough to chase those dreams.
Don’t like something, change it.
Change is so easy to incorporate with a younger self. I often tell my girls to enjoy how they look today because it is all pretty fabulous right now. The same goes with study and with careers; keep searching for what inspires and drives. Working takes up so much of our time, we have to love what we do and the sooner the better.
*Have confidence in yourself.
Trust your instincts, they are so often right the first time.
Age and confidence go hand in hand but I seem to remember so much second-guessing when I was younger. Being selective in how we are influenced is never as easy as it sounds.
*Take the time.
There is so much time, don’t be in a rush.
Were you always in a rush? I wanted everything to happen yesterday. I don’t think I understood the concept of time, that it is to be savoured and how quickly it passes.
*Listen and stay open-minded.
Sometimes those we love do know better.
This is the best piece of advice and the hardest one to follow. The invincibility of youth ensures we know all and everything. It comes, as something of a shock when we realise that is not the case. The flip side is, as adults we need to gently guide our children towards the best decisions for them, not force them. As a parent it is the hardest job of all to watch them make mistakes and feel powerless to intervene. I still don’t have the answers to that one.
Accept and enhance the unique qualities.
Did you worry about fitting in and conforming to what was expected? Wanting what was popular and fashionable instead of what was realistic? Striving for the impossible wasted a lot of precious time.
Try not to take for granted.
Youth takes it all for granted.
What would you advise a younger self? Or is hindsight a reflection with no benefits? I would love to hear your thoughts, xv.
image jane birkin and andrew birkin