You are 18. You have just left home and have started going to college in a different city. You fought hard for this. Keep that fighting spirit alive. For your education and for your job.
You will learn a lot more about yourself. You will learn to take care of yourself. You will have a phase of wearing glasses and braces. You may not be the prettiest in your class. Don’t let looks fool you. There is more to you than your face and body. Focus on being a better person, a smarter person. People won’t always like your smarts or intelligence and that’s ok. You don’t have to reduce your standards or ambitions for anyone. Also, your fashion sense will improve along with your sense of humour over time.
You will break your heart, one too many times. But, in that heartbreak you will find yourself. You will find friends who love you and accept you for who you are. Who will be there for you unconditionally. You may not make too many friends. Your friendships are not defining moments of adventures or even the funny things that happen. It lies within the depth of conversations with strangers. Strangers who open up to each other and become friends and then more than friends.
You will find a job that you will hate. You will also find a job that you will love and which will take you on many adventures. But, life will change and you can’t plan for everything. Embrace the good, let go of the bad and cherish every moment of your time.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t ever feel you are not loved or supported. You are. You will find love again and it will be beautiful while it lasts. You will find love many times over in life. Many kinds. And you will understand love better.
You will share journeys and memories with many people down the road. All of them will make you the person you are now. So be open, take what you can. Don’t let the negativity get to you. Don’t let the haters get to you. There will always be people who will pull you down, will discourage you all the time saying they have your best interest at heart. Listen to them. But, follow your heart.
Don’t let mistakes stop you from trying new things or doing new things. Let go. Every day is an opportunity to become a better person. Be a better person. Even when you feel like raining on someone’s parade – think about how it would feel if you were in the other person’s shoes. But, then don’t let people walk all over you or take you for granted.
You will meet people who complain about the world and everything in it. Understand, things are not perfect. Nothing is completely right or wrong. Do not impose your moral judgement on others. Do not treat others unfairly or unkindly. You know it would hurt you, if you were treated the same. Be the change you want to see.
So, be a good friend. Be there for people. But, let them have their journeys. People are not things to be controlled but hearts to be understood. Never forget that.
You will be misunderstood and hated. You will drive people away because you don’t want them to hurt you. Some will hurt you. But, you still have to find the courage to open up and let people in. Do not let other people’s opinion of you, change your perception or behaviour towards people especially of those who may not be your biggest fans. You can only be the best version of you. You need to be true in your heart, that’s what matters. So accept what you cannot change.
Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about yourself. Even if they do, don’t forget that you are your own hero and you need no one to rescue you. If you see something you don’t like, change it. Make a difference. Change won’t happen till you do something about it. There will be days when you will whine, cry, feel depressed, lonely and feel like giving up. On some of those days you will have people who have your back and will take care of you. On some days you will fight this battle alone. Be grateful. Be courageous. Be vulnerable. Be strong.
Keep your friends close. You don’t need too many. You just need a few good ones and they will stay. You will cherish them more as you grow older.
Stay curious. Read more. Write often. Never let life get in the way and stop you from doing the things you love. It’s important that you take out time and do the things that creatively inspire you.
Save more and travel more. Fill your life with experiences, newness and laughter.
The only way the negativity of the world will stop getting to you will be if you learn to laugh it off. Don’t let the problems bog you down. They will come and go. You just need to be able to laugh through it and believe that you will overcome this phase. So look for good in others and you will find it within you.
Every problem has a solution and more often than not, it lies within you and makes an impact through your words and actions. Do not define your self worth by what others think of you.
The road ahead is going to be bumpy, difficult and full of challenges at every turn. People will disappoint you. They will also surprise you. You will find goodness and sadness. Keep going ahead. Do your thing. Give everything your very best. Someday, and maybe it’s not today, it will all make sense. And you will look back with gratitude, feeling blessed about how far you have come.
28 year old me.