What Would You Say to Your 10-Year-Old Self?
You know what you’ve been through better than anyone else, but sometimes, your ideas seem to get tangled in your mind, hungry for explanations, searching for meaning in everything your past self went through. But no matter how much you try to find it, either you can’t, or the answers you do find make you even sadder.
None of us wants to feel that we wasted time on things that weren’t worth it instead of doing things that would have brought us more security and enjoyment. But when we are young, perhaps more naive, we often end up wasting some of the best years of our lives.
Your present self, more wise and less naive, would tell you that those years are to be lived, not wasted on activities, people, and places that provide no benefit in the long run.
What would you say to your 10-year-old self?
“If I had known that ten years ago…” “How much time did I waste crying over something that wasn’t worth it?” “How many things did I miss out on because of fear?” “I missed out on memories because I was caught up in fear, laziness, sadness, insecurity.”
I’m missing certain pieces of my past. It would be nice if I could be a bit more specific, if I could fine tune my episodic memory and attempt to reconstruct those memories of myself. Not to dream about how it could have been, but to know whether there’s still time to experience them. If I had the opportunity to talk to my 10-year-old self, I would say:
- Turn of the television. Press the off button forcefully and decisively. Let it stay off as much as possible. You won’t learn anything from the “idiot box.” Keep it off, because you have to save your energy for real experiences. Buy a good computer and get a good internet connection. It’s a good short-term and long-term investment if you know how to use it. Use social networks as a form of communication, but don’t expose yourself too much on them. Don’t let them control your emotions.
- Do sports or take nature walks. I already know that you’re busy. I’ve always been very busy, but looking back, believe me, there’s always time to connect with nature, whether alone or in someone else’s company. The most pleasant memories are those of nature and animals.
- You can doubt some things about yourself, but never forget what you really want or where you want to be in a few years. Do everything in your power to make it possible. Fear can snatch your dreams away, or at least delay them too much.
- Spend your money on things that make you feel good, but also on things that will be useful to you. What you’ve spent on vices, you could have used on moments. Work on what you can and gain some perspective and experience, but don’t stray too far from the path marked by your values.
- Don’t fight for someone who doesn’t show that they want you to. Don’t force situations or get anxious or depressed if you don’t get what somebody said you would. Life takes many turns. If somebody changes, think hard about whether they deserve a second chance based on everything you’ve experienced.
- You’re going to lose friends along the way, not because they hurt you, but because you’re going to change, and they will, too. Breaking from your routine will bring new people into your life who are more similar to you at that moment in time. Don’t make any drama out of it. Try to keep at least a cordial relationship with your old friends, because unresolved conflicts can lead to many bitter moments.
- Don’t worry so much about everything. You’ll figure out which problems have a solution and which ones don’t, and you’ll learn how to solve them. When you’re anxious and fearful, most catastrophes happen only in your imagination.
- Love the people in your life and show them that you do, even if you’re tired or don’t have that much time. Your family, friends, and acquaintances are going to need you. Sometimes they’ll tell you, and other times they’ll show you. A friend who is there when they’re needed is one who will always be remembered. A daughter who goes back and takes care of her mother will fill her soul with the best feelings life has to offer. Try to be present when new family members are born.
- Give more hugs, be more sincere, and be less combative. Do you know why many people get more affectionate over time? It’s because one day they feel the chills of all the loneliness they’ve accumulated and learn that maintaining a distant attitude towards others only creates distance, not respect.
- Love yourself and take care of yourself. Treat yourself and try to improve yourself physically, but don’t forget that nothing looks better and enhances your features more than confidence and calmness. Change only to feel more comfortable in your skin, never to please others.
- Don’t buy things that you’re not certain you can pay for. Save as much as you can and don’t gamble any more than you can afford to lose.
- Don’t be embarrassed to love what you love. Many people will question your decisions and lifestyle, but never regret or go back on doing something that you really wanted to do. They have millions of other people to influence, so let them pass by you.
- Read and write. There’s nothing like reading something you wrote years ago. It’s an emotional snapshot of how you were at that time in your life.
- Stop being afraid and enjoy what you do more. Travel, do crazy things once in a while, and surround yourself with people who are in the same boat as you. Even if they’re very different from you in appearance, they may not be in values.
There’s nothing that you can’t overcome, no matter how big it is. I’m telling you, as your 10-years-from-now self, to hold your ground and breathe, despite everything that happens to you. Establish priorities, manage your time well, and respect that there is a time to rest and a time to work. Don’t let things that are perfectly fine to postpone interfere with your life. The fruits of your future demand a lot of concentration in the present.
The past smells like the future
Nothing from the past can be changed; it’s already gone. Instead, think of the past as something that you should forget, but also something that you should learn from. It’s in your head, in your spontaneous tears, and in the path that you chose.
Your future self will bring you new dreams and advice to follow. As for the ones from the past that are still unfinished – do you think that you can’t achieve them anymore? Don’t forget that the pieces of advice you gave your past self are the desires of your present self.