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Dear 20 Year Old Me;




I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the past decade and half, attempting in my own way to make some sense of it all.

I’m currently sitting in our apartment (yes, we made it — and I can probably imagine what you might be doing… surfing the internet especially Hi5 in search of friends or school for courses and scholarships? Ditching courses? You’ve just turned 20. You are a final year university student with great prospects. To think that you almost rushed into a union with someone you barely knew because you felt it was the only way out and boy your ticket to the USA! 

You’ve made some huge mistakes and will still make them but you’ll move on fast. I know that there’s little point in me telling you what to think or do differently but am going to do so anyways: You are still young, consider pursuing your education some more, it will come in handy a few years from now. Jobs and opportunities will open themselves to you but you need to study more.

Read more literature. Not just mill and boons and all the romantic stuff. It’s good because you learnt a lot of English expressions but you need to educate yourself by reading widely. You don’t have to choose between your head and your heart, your intelligence and your intuition. Use both.

Keep exploring this creative, passionate, energetic and eclectic side of your personality. Some days you will feel so alone and so different but I’m cheering you on from here.

Self-Love is a must!

I know how much you can’t stand the skin you’re in — your not so flat belly,chubby cheeks, large tighs… The thing is you aren’t slim and smooth as many of your mates are. It hurts my heart to think about how much time and energy you spend obsessing over and hating on your body. The hatred for food, the laxatives, vomiting and wrapping it all up in a lie of “involuntary anorexia !” when it’s really all about bringing that number on the scales down, down, down. Soon you’ll realise that this doesn’t really matter!

Put a stop to the unhealthy relationships.You will soon realise you have been trying so hard to fill void created by the loss of your Father. You will soon discover you will find peace in seeking to know the truth about life and existence. You’re funny and clever and lovely with or without a partner! 

Embrace who you are unconditionally!

Embrace the part of yourself that is a little quieter than the rest of the room, a little softer, a little more introverted. I know you think these qualities point to your lack of conviction but it turns out that quiet confidence is actually quite attractive. Just. Be. You. Keep pressing on, you are going to enter a phase of depression which you won’t be able to explain but that is when you will discover that you need to take better care of yourself — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Its not going to be an easy journey  but for every mistake, Forgive yourself, forgive yourself ,forgive others. Keep doing that. You are going to do things that you thought you’d never do. Some will suck, life is going to crumble, shatter, implode in a cluster of pain and sadness and grief and you’ll be forced to do the work on yourself that you’ll avoid for the next few years.…Some of these will be amazing, like choosing to forgo a comfortable life  to dedicate yourself a higher calling. It will end up being the best decision you ever made. Many things about who you will become in your 30’s will be birth here.

What am I doing with my life?

Things are good in the world of 30’s! I have figured out for the most part the “career thing”. It turns out that there are far more pathways to choose from (or create) than we ever saw growing up. What I’m doing is what I love mostly. The repetitive query of “what am I doing with my life?” is going to create endless turmoil for you over the next few years. I wish I could take it away from you but just stay focused on what you are doing;keep studying. I know there are things that you think you should be doing, but seriously, let them go. Let other people do their thing and you do yours. Others will want the house and the big car and the kids and the salary and… you won’t. At least not yet. The world is going to change so much over the next ten to fifteen years. 

What else can I tell you about being in your 30’s? You love people and want to help them in whatever way you can. That dream you’re secretly harbouring about writing a book, running an organization that help others feel good and value themselves, feels like its actually happening…

Being a woman is really amazing. Your skin clears up and your body morphs and shapes up. Self doubt comes and goes but we’ve got a better handle on it; trusting God and yourself is key.

Relationships don’t seem to get any easier but the one you’re in now is GREAT. You have your ups and downs, doubts and desires but he’s patient and kind and loving and willing. You’ll learn that running away doesn’t cultivate growth in a relationship and that the relationship you have with yourself is EVERYTHING. 

In Essence…

In a few years I’ll be able to write a letter to my 40-45year-old self. I’ll probably look back on myself at 30 and be amazed at how naive I was and how little I knew. But that’s okay. Now that I have a sense of who I am and how much I have yet to learn, hopefully the lessons will be a little easier to swallow.

If I could wrap all of this up it will go thus: give less thought about what other people think and pursue the things that you love. Take note of what those things are and follow them with diligence because my darling, another thing we’re  realising is that our time is indeed finite. So be kind, kind, kind, kind. Kindness towards yourself and those around you.

You are extraordinary and I love you.

Leila K

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4 thoughts on “Dear 20 Year Old Me;

  1. Oh, dear one, if I’d known back then what I know now, how different things might have been, and yet it’s all been part of the great art of living and growing in wisdom!

  2. Yes, my friend, if I had known then… At 52, I began thinking back to 20 while reading. So much I would have done differently. 🙂 Yet, we learned from our youthful choices and are stronger for it… We are who we are and powerful because of it. We continue to learn… and our strength can inspire others. Thank you, Leila!
    Happy Birthday Month!

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