Dear 20-year-old me,

 

It’s funny how you think life is so straight forward.

Finish school, get qualifications, go get a job, a boyfriend, a house. Maybe get married and have some babies.

It’s hard for me now to think that was ever what you wanted. You were meant to be successful, academic, have a long and fulfilling career and a perfect family.

So why at 20 do you feel like a failure?

Know that you don’t need to follow this path in life. You are allowed to chase your dreams. It’s OK for those dreams to be big.

Stop comparing yourself, your life, your looks to other girls. We are not all the same and that is OK. Embrace your unconventional views on life. Explore the things that make you curious. Why did you suppress it for so long?

There is never a good time to chase your dreams. There will always be an excuse. Work, relationships, family. But mainly money, debt, the drowning feeling of going around and around in circles.

This is not happiness. Not for you anyway. And that is OK. It’s not that you need more, you just need something different.

Stop making excuses. Stop spending all your free writing in rhymes about all the things that make you unhappy.

 

‘ my roots are branches,

floating in the wind ’

 

Then let them float.

Why are you trying so hard to root yourself in one place when your mind doesn’t want to be there? Why are you so afraid of failure? Of being alone? Nobody actually cares about the choices you make; you are the only one judging.

Why do you spend all your evenings and weekends reading travel guides? Dreaming? Making wish lists that you’ll never look back at?  Why do you tell yourself you’ll never do that? That you can’t do that? That you don’t deserve that?

Too many bills, too much work, too many commitments, it’s irresponsible.

Where did you find these excuses and when did you start telling yourself they were valid?

Start small, take that trip to the next town. Be comfortable in your skin. Look at yourself with love, because until you learn to do that, nobody else will.

The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Why are you waiting? Waiting for opportunities? Waiting for life to happen? Waiting to be happy?

 

‘ your wings can’t fly you into the depths of your future

If your feet are still tied down by the strings of your past ’

 

Nurture your curiosity, feed your imagination, teach yourself about the world in preparation for the day you find your wings. Cut the strings that are tying you to unhappiness. You’re the only person that can.

Don’t be afraid.

Travel, no matter how big or small will change you. The inevitable will happen, you will find yourself. You always thought that cliché crap didn’t exist, didn’t you? It took you a while to admit it does.

Push your boundaries, make friends with people from different cultures, eat foods that you wouldn’t eat for dinner, never mind breakfast. Trust strangers when you need to, fall in love in different countries, revel in the beauty that lies everywhere and educate yourself on the misery that is so prevalent.

Experience the world, experience the universe, learn about your place here. Know that you can still have a successful career, family will always be there, and real friends will still be around 7 years later.

Know that travel doesn’t have to be a choice. It is not travel vs career, travel vs stability, travel vs a family, travel vs financial stability. Travel can be everything you want it to be. You are the creator of your own destiny.

Know that it is OK to not know what the future holds, not have plans, not know where work is coming from or whether you will ever go home. You will learn that life is livable this way, you will learn to embrace that you don’t know and you will also learn that you don’t need to live conventionally to be fulfilled.

Know that one day you will be comfortable enough to work in Saudi Arabia, brave enough to be alone in Europe, crazy enough to drive a tuk-tuk through India and strong enough to climb mountains.

Know that yes, you will get lost. A lot. Not only physically, but emotionally. But know that you’ll survive, and you’ll learn that getting lost can be fun.

Quit pleasing other people.

It is OK to dream and it is admirable to chase those dreams, no matter how big they are.

But most of all, be you, find you and be happy.

 

With love,

34-year-old me.

 

 

Quotes taken from poetry book ‘ Screaming Wings ‘