A letter of advice to 17 year old me.

30 November 2018

Just before writing this, I personally went through several moments of 'I wish I knew that when I was younger' (younger being last week). I also went through the classic 'why didn't anyone tell me this earlier?' Let's not beat around the bush, being in your earlier teens and 20s is tough. You're on this journey to find who you really are and now more than ever the pressure to be a success at 20 (or in some cases a 5 year old protegee) is high.

I was inspired to do this post after seeing a few posts by older bloggers and writers who had lived and experienced more decades of life than I currently have and were able to speak about the trials and triumphs of being a certain age with grace and wisdom. Then I got thinking, there must be people younger than me who would maybe like to hear what a 22 year old would've said to themselves a few years ago. And in the likely case that no-one does want to hear, I found writing this letter so therapeutic and recommend everyone writes at least one letter to their younger self...

Dear Maya,

I'm currently writing this letter sat in a hotel in a hot country when everyone else in England is complaining about how windy and rainy it is. I know you hate those early mornings waking up at 6am to make a two hour journey to school but trust me, when you're making plans for how you're going to spend tomorrow drinking cocktails and sitting in the sun - it is worth it. This world is crazy. People are crazy. And whilst you think you've seen it all at 17, sit back and grab your (mixed sweet and savoury) popcorn because you're about to see a lot more - from the happy times to the not so happy times, you begin to realise how little you actually know or understand about the world at the young age of 17. Zilch. That said, now I'm 22 and experienced 5 more years of what it's like to live in this crazy world - not saying you should take advice from all 22 year olds but take what’s useful from this advice and leave behind what is not. Everyone will create their own journey which makes you unique, and you're just starting on yours. 

A lesson on people. People are odd but beautiful at the same time. But a couple of things I've learnt when dealing with people. Don't try and test people, you'll only end up hurting yourself and losing those who you care about the most. Whilst we're on the note of caring for people, if you care about someone, always tell them how you feel as the opportunities are lost in a blink of an eye but the regret is always there. And if you don't (because sometimes our stupidity can overwhelm us and force us to make stupid decisions), remember that everyone deserves a second chance (but not a third or a fourth). Even when you feel you've messed up so badly, if it's worth fighting for what you believe in, even when you feel like you can't. When someone says the word can't before they even try, it's a lie. With enough time and dedication anything is possible...can't is a cop out. 

Whether its a friend, family member or a relationship, communication is key. If you have something to say, just say it whether it's by text, gif, letter in a bottle. Whatever you have to be said deserves to be heard, and make other people feel comfortable to say what they need to say to you too!  But there comes a point where you have got to let people go.  Cut out those toxins. Whether it's food, makeup products or people. When it's people avoid those with closed minds, who in most cases have a completely negative view of life that may impact your view on this wonderful thing we call life. And then there are those people that make you feel inferior. The first couple of times, this will upset you massively but once you learn how to deal with it, you'll realise these people do not deserve the time of the day, no matter how important they deem themselves to be.

On a practical fashion note, always buy once bigger from sites like Missguided, Boohoo, Prettylittlething etc. With that said, always spend a little bit more for quality. Your mum was right when she said less is more, but your dad was right when he said more layers are better when you're going out. And, full take advantage of 50% off sales (not sure I need any version of myself to tell me that). You end up with beauties like this NastyGal dress.

Yes, exams, studying and work is important but not to the extent where you stress yourself out, don't eat and get ill. Think laterally - life isn't always about thinking concretely - life will not end because of an exam or you miss a flight  so, please don't stress over the small things. And that goes for anything.  It's a vicious cycle, you get stressed out because of one activity, you project your emotions onto the people you care about and then push them away.  And when that happens, it's okay not to be okay.  But know that in the end everything will be okay. As cliche as it sounds, it's not the destination it's the journey. Everyone is on their own unique journey and it’s worth every step. Part of getting the most out of this albeit short journey is by being curious - say yes more than you say no. Most importantly, learn from your experiences. Confucius taught me (not personally), that there are three methods we may learn wisdom. First by reelection, which is the noblest, second by imitation, which is easiest and third by experience which is bitterest. When you have the rest of your life ahead of you, it will be okay, as long as you keep learning.

Knowledge, like air is vital to life. Like air, no one should be denied it.

© What Maya Wears. Design by FCD.