Advice I Would Give My Young Self

I was watching a new sci-fi show the other evening. An interesting character took the opportunity to send a message back in time to his young self. It made me wonder. What kind of message would I send myself?

When I was in my teens and early twenties I was freaking brilliant! At least I thought so. In spite of being disappointed in the world, I thought I had most of it all figured out, until I really thought any of it through. I appeared to be confident, but wasn’t. I was one of those girls who was thin but thought I was fat. I had very low self esteem and didn’t know I deserved to be happy, or to have all the wonderful things life has to offer. Still, I thought I had it all figured out!

A young artist and the smae older mature artist

Now, for you sci-fi fans, I am not worried about any Prime Directives out of Star Trek. I don’t think I would have invested in any stocks if I gave myself a great tip either. I’m trying to be realistic in an unrealistic scenario.

So what could I tell young me? What message would actually reach me? I thought about this for several days. It might be this.

Dear Young Me,

You are beautiful.

You are stronger than you realize.

You will suffer many losses but you will find yourself rich from the lessons gained. You will survive. You sometimes will feel guilty that you survived. You will sometimes feel relieved. You will feel a hole in your solar plexus that’s larger than you are, and rightly so. That’s how emotional pain can feel. Big. But you’ll be OK.

You will make your life easier as long as you do these things:

  1. Make friends who love and appreciate you for everything that you are. The ones who don’t, aren’t your friends. Make every effort to show appreciation to those friends. You will need them, and they will need you. Choose friends who you would like to emulate, or who are on a similar path. This will bond you and you will lift each other up.
  2. You make your own choices. Allowing others to make them for you is also your choice. Be responsible to those decisions.
  3. You are going to do a lot of stupid things. Trust me. I know! They’re called mistakes. Make an effort to learn from them. Open your eyes. When you find yourself repeating those mistakes, quit doing that! It’s even stupider.
  4. Always make time to do the things that make you happy. You will tend to focus a lot on what needs to be done for others. If they really love and care about you, they won’t be happy unless you are happy.
  5. Be the best you possible. Let go of others expectations. Your own are high enough. You are more capable, more intelligent and more creative than you know.
  6. Quit loaning your money to people who will never pay you back. They have no respect for you when they don’t honour their promises. It all adds up! Respect your own effort. You earned it. Manage it so it doesn’t manage you.
  7. You love learning. It’s great for your brain and will help you age well. Keep it up!
  8. Get off your butt and exercise. Use it or lose it!
  9. Important! Eat your fruits and vegetables and lay off the canned stuff. You have food allergies and health issues. Your solution is not in a pill, it’s in a garden. Like the one we had with Mom when we were ten.
  10. Best for last! Quit ignoring your own intuition. Trust your gut feelings. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I’d paid attention and followed those instincts and regretted it afterward. Knowing you are worthy and have a lot to offer will help you. So will paying attention when your gut is shouting at you! You need to stand up and argue your point when you feel yourself starting to recoil. You can do it. I know you can!

The rest you’ll figure out for yourself, as I still am and hope to do for some time. Expect some serious downs and some amazing ups! You will find yourself living in these moments for the rest of your life.

Peace out,
Mature Me

I probably wouldn’t listen to all of my own advice. I am not sure I would have understood that I am as valuable a person as the one sitting next to me at the bus station. If I could send this message to Young Me, I could only hope not only that the message was able to travel backwards through the vastness of a time already passed, but that the message would get through my own thick skull!

What would you tell your Young You?

PS. Young me was all dressed up for her first communion when caught ‘flashing’.

by visual artist and art instructor (and sometimes writer) Linda Laforge.
See her art and some of her writing at


  1. Thanks for sharing Linda! The Mature Me would have said a lot of the same things to my Young self. I would also add
    a) Try not to please people so much. Learn to say “NO” sometimes.
    b) Not everyone is as honest as you are…some people lie all of the time. So much that they are experts of deception.
    c) Good looks are only temporary. Learn to love the beautiful person inside of you and aging won’t be so difficult.
    I could go on but really…my Young Self was too stubborn to have listened to a word.
    🙂 Ciao-for-now!

  2. Vanessa Leanage

    I loved reading your article. It brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps inside and out because it’s honest. I think you have tremendous courage, beauty and smarts (and always have.) after reading this! In a way, it was like reading a letter from a parent to their own child. In your pictures of “Younger me” and “Mature me?”, you look the same to me! Like both you and Pauline, I’m pretty sure my younger self would have listened to part of the advice given by the “Mature me…so I would add: 1) Listen to your own advice, you know, the same advice you give to your friends! 2) Share what you need to share with someone who will do something to help you out of some tough situations! It’s okay to be a kid. Most things are not your problem just because they haven’t been “owned” doesn’t mean you are responsible for them just so someone is.
    3) You are doing an amazing job at school and with your life! You are a worth more than what you know and I love you! 4) Thank-you for getting us through!
    I suppose most of mine would be more of a pep rally than advice! Younger me deserves more hugs than suggestions. Thanks so much for your article Linda!

  3. You ladies are amazing! Ya. I might have listened to some of it, but I really did think I knew it all. LOL

  4. From Pamela Wood on Facebook ~ AMAZING Linda! I wish I could have told myself those very same things! Well written and your strength shines through. Keep writing girl!

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