A New Decade

'Your life shrinks or expands in proportion to your courage' – Anais Nin 

'I choose me, and this time I'm not sorry' - Sian Wilmot 

'Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous and unafraid version of you and go after those things as if nothing else matters' - George Saunders 

'Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.' - Robert Louis Stevenson

 'Your mother did not scream you into this world so you could silence yourself.' - Salma El-Wardany 

'Their compliments should not define you, nor should their criticism break you. Validation is only for parking.' - Pierre Alex Jeanty

'People who have found happiness in their relationships careers and communities have all experienced loss. They’ve said goodbye. They've endured stretches of solitude as things slipped away but they didn't cling to what was fading. They let go. They understood the necessity of creating space for the new. Good things don't happen to people who are lucky. Good things happen to people who are brave.' 

'Her rebirth was stunning- she lifted herself up from the depths of despair, grasped her dreams, embedded them in her heart and walked forward into a future that only her will and vision could control.' - Diego Perez

Dear Little One

As you grow older, you will be met with challenges. One of them being subliminal messaging from society on what you should be doing and what milestones you should have achieved by a certain age. Try to ignore them, as making decisions under duress to fit the mould will be uncomfortable, difficult and disappointing. Avoid as best you can. Your life is your own and you can change your mind should you have the option to. Nothing is forever so embrace the moment.

Over time, people will forget your achievements, the way you looked, the talents you have, but no one will ever forget how you made them feel. Lead your life with purpose and with love. Do not be so humble that it robs you from opportunities; be confident but do not be arrogant. Know your worth, stand firm and respect yourself. There is no audience to perform for, no approval needed and no one to convince but yourself. Does it make you happy? Does it fulfil you? Are you learning? Then go for it. Mistakes are inevitable so hold yourself accountable, acknowledge them, take responsibility for them, and take the time to reflect and do better next time. We are human beings after all but it is what you do with those mistakes that carve out your character. Seeking validation outside of yourself will only and will always leave you depleted. Regret will cripple you so take the baby steps to get to where you want to be, with the time you have. Those steps will become wide strides soon enough. Stop forcing things to be a sign and just go for it. It may take you a little longer than someone else and you might have to work a little bit harder but if you want it, you will eventually get it. And if not, something better is waiting just around the corner. You just have to keep going. 

You can’t skip chapters, you have to read through every single line and meet every character. Good, bad and everything in between. You don’t choose whether or not you suffer but you do choose what’s worth suffering for. It will allow you to either be more resilient or more guarded. I say go for the former.  

I truly hope that you are proud of the woman that you have become because I am so proud of little you.

All my love,
30 year old you

I wrote down 30 lessons, pick and choose what you want to take from this, it can be none or it can be all of it:
  1. Use sunscreen daily (SPF50 upwards only), workout regularly and keep drinking water, lots of it. 
  2. Many industries are fuelled by your insecurities, do not let the patriarchy win. Learn to love yourself, even the parts you're most insecure about. 
  3. Encouraging yourself to go into situations outside of your comfort zone is necessary. 
  4. Actively listening to a different opinion even though you disagree with it, teaches you more than just your ability to self-regulate, do it. 
  5. Saying I was wrong, and I am sorry is sadly rare. Be one of those people that does it genuinely. Hold yourself accountable for your actions. 
  6. People only meet you as far they've met themselves, so try to not take things too personally. Instead, help it to fuel you to grow and learn. 
  7. Understanding someone’s behaviour does not mean you have to excuse it. Set healthy boundaries.
  8. Life is short so speak up gently with your strength and boldly with your vulnerability. 
  9. People's opinion of you is none of your business. What do you think of yourself? Are you proud of who you are? If not, change it. 
  10. You can feel sorry for yourself but do your best to pick yourself up and find a solution that works and makes you happy. Do not just sit around. NO WAY!
  11. Just because you're no longer draining your own battery doesn't automatically mean it gets recharged. Don't confuse the need to rest with the need to do things that rejuvenate you. You need separate time for both. 
  12. What’s meant for you, will never pass you. 
  13. Effortlessness is a myth. Never be ashamed of trying, even if the outcome isn't what you desired, you know that you tried your best. 
  14. Emotional intelligence teaches you empathy, kindness, and patience. Learn and practice it.
  15. Mistakes teach you, not trying is failing. When we lose things, we gain things too. 
  16. All relationships take work but they are not supposed to be a job that exhausts you and upsets you. It is supposed to be enriching with mutual effort, understanding and compromise, especially with romantic love. Do not settle. Life is far too short for that. 
  17. Try to find and make the time for the things that bring you joy outside of your professional role. 
  18. Live in the moment. If you are constantly seeking out your five and ten year plan, you won't acknowledge what is in your periphery so whilst it is good to have long term goals, try to enjoy the moment too. 
  19. Life can be heavy, especially if you try to carry it all at once so learn to pick your battles and what you should carry along the way. Learn to release it, you will feel much lighter and at peace. 
  20. Your track record of getting through your worst days are 100%, keep going, the best days will follow. 
  21. Prioritise your health, your time, your loved ones and your home. Home can be a person too. 
  22. There is power in drowning the noise to sit in stillness to hear your own voice. It can allow you to improve your ability in making decisions through critical thinking, and not just what you have been fed over time. Your discernment is valuable, and it is ok to change your mind once you gain more information that you never knew existed. 
  23. Remove your rose-tinted coloured glasses, you'll differentiate the green and red flags more clearly, in every aspect of your life. 
  24. Shift your mindset. The glass is not half full or half empty; it is filled, should you need more, pour more in. 
  25. I am all for humanity but I care not to be loved by all. 'A friend to all is a friend to none.' 
  26. Use your voice and privilege for the betterment of your community, society and the world around you.
  27. Be curious without being nosy. 
  28. When you are met with a difficult or uncomfortable situation, it is important to process your emotions but in that moment in time, use self-regulation. In doing so, you can translate your thoughts clearly. Annoyingly this comes with experience, but your ability to articulate your thoughts and decisions in a calm and assertive manner is imperative to give yourself more of a chance to be actively heard/ acknowledged, especially as a woman in a professional setting. 
  29. Quality over quantity, keep your circle small but always treat everyone with civility, even if they don't deserve it. 
  30. Life is precious, fragile and can be taken at any second so get over your ego and pride and be unapologetic about your genuine love for others. Of course it can be scary but we only have so many tomorrows so try and be a little braver, I know you have it in you.

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