Dear 15-year-old Me

These letters are doing the rounds this week to celebrate the launch of Emily Freeman’s book Graceful, for teen girls. Check out her fantastic letter and some others here. Since it fit right in with my letter-writing-Friday, I wrote one too.

Hey young lady,

It’s me, your future self. Truth is that I’m not that much older than you but I’m a lot smarter. I want to reassure you of a few things to lighten the load that you burden yourself with. Your worrying keeps you up at night and it holds you back from enjoying these awesome and pain-in-the-arse teenage years, so I hope to allay some of your fears.

First things first, you will be relieved to know I’ve given up my endeavour to be perfect and I’m happier than ever. I’m kinder to myself and I laugh more. It’s so refreshing and I can’t wait for you to experience this. However you’ve got a few tough years ahead of you yet, which is how you will arrive to where I am now.

You have no idea what you are capable of. That frustration you feel with your seemingly talentless self? It will take years (sorry), but it will pass. You will grow, create and learn. You will discover your passions, flourish, and fall into your identity. The years to come of not knowing who you are, they are so important to your development. You will find your place eventually so don’t sweat it too much okay?

You are brave, smart and fun. Try to focus on these things instead of your faults. Like the attention seeking, which you will mostly grow out of. Though you will always be loud and that’s actually a good thing, so ignore the lies that whisper ‘you are too much to handle’. To some people you are too much, but they aren’t the right people for you. You are loved by your friends and people enjoy your energy. So quit wishing you were quiet and demure because that isn’t who you were born to be. And believe it or not, there are plenty of quiet girls that envy your social skills.

You think you’re fat but girrrrl, you ain’t. Enjoy those legs and that cute bum. Soon all that junk food you eat will take residence on your hot bod and you will miss what it is now. I have more confidence than you in my fuller and curvier figure, but you are way hotter.

You can be very melodramatic and self-involved, and it isn’t endearing in the slightest. Stop crying in the mirror for one second to gain some perspective. Your life isn’t that bad, and other people are facing hard times too. Look up and look out. While I’m taking you down a peg, I may as well also inform you that you don’t know everything. You could do with some humility. Wisdom and maturity come from experience, of which you have none. Yet.

The only thing that I deeply regret and wish you would do differently, is how you treat your sweet little sister. That kid adores you and asks you to play a board game with her most days. She is lonely and needs you, but you always say no. The age gap feels more of a chasm, but when she is still young you will go on the adventure of your life and be apart from her for too long. These days she and I are great friends from afar, and though she doesn’t hold it against me, I do. Your time with her is precious so play the damn games. Indulge her. If not for yourself, do it for me. I miss her.

On a final note, don’t take yourself so seriously for heavens sake! You think far too much and we both know how exhausting that is. You’ve had to grow up fast so cherish the naivety you still possess. Stop worrying. You will get your driving license, you will have enough money and you will do great things. You will see the world and find out where you fit into it. You will be happy and create a life that you love. I would know, I’m here waiting for you.

The Lord’s face is shining down on you, so look up and bask in His sunlight. Everything will be okay.

Love
The future you

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The Art of Travelling Alone

Today I feel privileged to be guest posting over at Single Roots. I’m sharing my top 3 tips for travelling solo, based on my own experiences this year. Would love for you to hop over there and check it out. I would love you to leave a comment and share your view of travelling alone – would you do it or have you already done it? Do you think it is overrated or underrated? 

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I love the world, and I never feel so alive as when I am exploring a new place. My fierce determination to see Croatia and Greece – two countries I had long dreamed about visiting – saw me embarking on a two-week adventure, alone, this past July.

My wanderlust officially became stronger than my fear of travelling alone.

Okay, so it wasn’t actually my first time going it alone. I visited Edinburgh, Scotland, at Easter by myself. Those three days were a good experience, but two weeks? I didn’t know what to expect, I just knew that I wanted to go.

Continue reading at Single Roots… 

Thoughts After 4 Years

‘So, how long are you going for?’

‘Well, I have a one-way ticket so I have no idea. But I’m giving it a year!’

That was the conversation I had multiple times before I left Auckland to start a new life in London. Saturday 26th May marked four years since I landed in this city as a wide-eyed, excited and naive child.

I never dreamed about travelling. I never imagined myself working and saving my butt off so I could come across the world. A few months after arriving in London, I went to Paris the weekend before my 19th birthday . It was (and still is) the most beautiful city I had ever seen, and I was elated on life. I couldn’t believe little ol’ me had come this far and was seeing such amazing places. I think that’s what made it so special – that I had never given myself the permission to dream, but on that trip something clicked and anything was possible.

I played a game with myself, often, in the first couple of years. I would be walking down the street with some new friends, or doing something different and exciting, and I would think ‘If someone had shown me a picture of this very moment a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it’. Occasionally I still play that game, because it seems my life is still ever-changing. Some days I love that, some days I despise it. We all want routine and security in one way or another.

I read the book One Day a couple of years ago, and it was more to me than a love story. It was a revelation that life never happens how you think it will. Life is unpredictable and that’s the best part. Sometimes I feel frustrated that I’m still here, and that I haven’t done anything that amazing or gone that far or seen that many places. But I have, and I will.

I’ve sky-dived in England.

I’ve snowboarded in France and Colorado.

I’ve explored Edinburgh on a bike.

I’ve photographed a sunset in Malta.

I’ve climbed the Eiffel tower in Paris.

I’ve had a traditional Turkish bath in Istanbul.

I’ve seen the still-standing parts of the Berlin Wall.

I’ve thrown up over the side of a canal boat in Amsterdam.

I’ve been to a casino in Monaco.

I’ve danced on tables in Nice.

I’ve drunk fresh water from streams in the Swiss Alps.

I’ve had Sangria on the beach in Barcelona.

I’ve stayed up late into the night drinking with the locals in Portugal.

The most important thing I’ve done though, is made a life in London. I’ve transitioned from late-teens to early-twenties and learned a hell of a lot along the way. I’ve grown up here. London will always be the place where I learned that life is hard, incredible and everything in between. 

I had a few hours to spare on Sunday, so I took my camera to Southbank and soaked up the sun and the culture. Here are a few of my favourites from the day.

Happiness Is

Happiness is standing on a random island in Scotland, grinning stupidly to yourself.

Happiness is glancing back at your past for perspective, looking down to where you are for orientation, and looking forward to where you’re going for vision. All with hope in your heart.

Happiness happens when you push yourself forward to where you didn’t think you could go.

Happiness is found in friends who are there for you on the bad days when you’re not very fun company.

Happiness is laughing aloud about something funny that happened, even when no one else is around.

Happiness is knowing that you can’t do it all alone, but you can do a lot alone.

Happiness is knowing it isn’t you, it’s Him in you.

Happiness is laughing at your own misfortune, because it’s really not that bad.

Happiness is when you don’t need anyone else to bring you happiness.

Happiness is found in yourself first.

This is what happiness has looked like to me recently. How about you? What does your happiness look like? Are you happy? Leave a comment!