10 Things I would Tell My Twenty Year Old Self
When you are young, or younger depending on your perspective, you feel a sense of invincibility. You believe you can and should conquer the world, enrich it with your gifts, and be as Gandhi put it “the change you want to see.”
But you are also besieged with self doubt and overwhelm. You wonder whether a certain career path is for you, if you need to emigrate, advance your education; if, even, you really want to go on that safari your tribe is urging you to for which you have neither strength nor inclination.
I know I faced all that. Now I smile with fondness and affection for that young woman I was. I want to pat her on the back and tell her well done! I want her to know that I understand that she did the best that she could with what she had; with what she knew.
Here is what I would tell the twenty year old Mombasa Mommy and every person in his or her twenties:
- Trust yourself. If we wait for the right moment, or until when we have all the information, or until when ‘all’ is well, we would never do anything. Just trust yourself that whatever happens you will be fine and that whatever happens is a step in the right direction. Feeling paralysed, not taking any action is waste of your time and potential.
2. Take better care of your health and well being. The future you will thank you. The twenty year old you will feel sharper and more energized. Ditch the sodas and the fast food. You do not need to check out each new burger joint or pizza palace. Move your body, eat your vegetables, go out into nature. Avoid toxic people and be your own number one fan!
3. Invest in yourself; in your self improvement (remember you don’t have to be broken in order to be improved) learn a new language, take a course, aspire to the best version of yourself. This is a never ending process. Sit still, pray and place your faith in the Almighty.
4. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to not fit in, it’s okay not to have all the answers. It’s okay to want to take the safest route; that’s just us being human. It’s okay to be scared. Cut yourself some slack.
5. Say yes to the road less travelled after you have acknowledged that you would really much rather take the easier route. Challenge yourself, say yes to the right way however difficult. So many adventures; so many opportunities for growth lay in forging your own path, owning your personal truth.
6. Say no to all the ‘shoulds’ imposed either by you or the society at large. As long as you are not breaking any moral laws or doing anything illegal, then ameen to you! Don’t be afraid to rock the boat or ruffle some feathers! Those who matter won’t mind and those who mind don’t matter!
7. Do something for the planet. The future you as well as your progeny will thank you. Every little thing counts! Recycle, reuse! Be conscious of how your spending habits are affecting the environment. Choose what your money is supporting. Also, spread the word so that others can do the same.
8. Invest in your relationships. Who knows where life will take you years from now? Nurture your friendships, appreciate your family especially your parents and siblings. Losing a parent, having siblings in diaspora, not physically present to share our joys and half our sorrows is a reality many of us live with.
9. Have fun! Go out, enjoy yourself, play! Laugh!
10. DREAM BIGGER ! The biggest injustice you can do to yourself is to play small and play safe! You are worth it and you have what it takes! You are limited only by your imagination.
They say hindsight is always 20/20. Are there things I wish I could have done differently? Certainly! But life is a course; there are some things in it that we may not understand until after the fact.
Still, each new day is another opportunity to do better. Seize it!