Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 2917 - A letter to 20 year old me

Dear Leanne

It's not long to go now until you finish uni.  You will remember these first few years away from home as some of the best and worst of your life.  You will learn that behind every challenge is an opportunity for growth and it's the hard parts that make you stronger and more powerful in the end.

Keep going to your classes and handing in your assignments, but don't get too hung up on the grades. Your first degree is as much about your new found freedom and building solid friendships, as it is about obtaining that piece of paper.  You only need a pass to get you to the end and the extra experiences and the friendships made will last you a life time.

The people you call your "besties forever" won't necessarily be the ones you spend the most time with right now. As you head off into life you'll learn that some friendships are born from quality moments rather than the quantity of time spent.  Recognise the quality and accept nothing less from yourself or others.  Friendships like these are worth nurturing.

Don't ever let a boy get in the way of a great adventure.  If he loves you he'll let you explore the world and be waiting for you on return.

Work hard and save lots when you leave uni because that 6 month trip to the USA will bring many more life defining moments.  It will also cement a friendship that will cross oceans and last a lifetime, not only for yourself but for your children.

Don't spend all your money on clothes and make-up.  Save it to spend on "time". The material stuff will satisfy you for mere moments, whereas the ability to extend your time travelling will stay with you forever.

Ring your parents often.  Just because you're an adult now doesn't mean you walk away from the family unit completely.  You'll discover that even when you find your soul mate, your parents are the only people who truly know and love you unconditionally.  You will be a mother yourself one day and understand what it is to have your baby grow up and leave the nest.  You will always be their baby.

Be confident in the workplace and recognise your strengths.  Build good networks and relationships and remember that people are your greatest asset.  You be good to them and they'll be good to you.

Have a vision for yourself so that you have something to work towards.   See it with clarity and certainty.  Be open to the possibilities and continue through life with a growth mindset.

Take care of your skin, your hair, your teeth and your physical and mental well-being.  Your body may be easy to maintain right now, but in time it will require extra effort to keep it in good condition.

Buy that house at 25 even if it means you're eating two minute noodles and not able to party.  It's that mortgage that will set you up for your dream family home down the track and your financial independence will create a sense of pride that nobody can take away from you.

Do that second degree even though work is crazy and you're only getting 6 hours sleep a night.  Better to do it when you're young and have the energy before you settle down and have a family.  The extra study will help define you as the woman you'll become.

The boys you are hanging out with right now, won't be in your life forever. The boy you end up marrying will be one that hasn't even entered your radar yet.  He's tall so get ready for a life in high heels. Oh, and make sure you go the races on Melbourne Cup day in 1994 and hang out until the bar empties that night.  Don't go home early (even though you want to).  Don't flinch when he tells you he has a child.  The package deal will be worth it.

While it may seem like a shock at the time, falling pregnant the moment you get married will single handedly be the best thing you've ever done.  That baby will enhance your life in ways you can't imagine.  When you feel the niggle of wanting another, talk your husband into it.  The results will complete you both.

Never believe you can't do something.  You will take on many projects over the next 30 years, some of which won't work out how you'd pictured them, while others will not only enhance your own life but will add value to the lives of others.  Each of these projects will have started with the thought "who do I think I am to even contemplate this?" but will end with you feeling a huge sense of accomplishment, pride and gratitude.  Some of your decisions will actually change people's lives for the better.

Smile, laugh and be kind.

Be the best version of yourself.

Eat your vegetables, drink plenty of water and find ways to keep your Irish temper in check. That last part will become easier with age.

Get your hormones checked and see a dietitian about those migraines.

Take photos. Lots and lots of photos.

Your life is going to be hard at times but you'll hardly remember the hardships down the track.  Every single moment is an important scene of the movie that is you.

Have fun Leanne.

This "letter to 20 year old me" post was prompted by Denyse Whelan in her "Life This Week" series.  It is timely prompt as I took a walk through the grounds of my old university on Saturday which included a wander through the residences where I lived.  It brought back many memories of my time as a uni student and had me reflecting on the life I have created myself.  I can honestly say there are no regrets. At the age of 20 I couldn't even imagine what the next 28 years would look like. 


  1. I love reading these posts. It's a fabulous look in the rear vision mirror.

  2. So much wisdom in this post, Leanne. I loved reading your letter today.

    SSG xxx

  3. Did you do all of those things I wonder, or is there stuff in there you didn't do and wish you'd done.

    I couldn't decide whether to include things I wish I HAD done (or hadn't done) or remind myself that things work out in the end anyway.

    1. Mine were all pretty much done. Except for the looking after my health and fitness and skin etc. I wish I'd done more of that. But I guess I took the "things work out in the end" approach.

  4. I do like this part "Your life is going to be hard at times but you'll hardly remember the hardships down the track. Every single moment is an important scene of the movie that is you." It's funny how time dilutes things, or alters the grief or pain...

  5. I love this Leanne,especially the bit about never believing you can't do something.

  6. Beautifully written. I totally took it for granted when I was young and effortlessly skinny and healthy. Sigh.

  7. We took so much of our health for granted back then didn't we? I can't believe how little I did to prepare myself for when my metabolism slowed down! Still, they were fun years and being carefree was part of what made it such a blast.

    1. IT was a rude shock when I actually had to "go on a diet" for the first time

  8. Oh how I enjoyed reading this. What a great letter. You have already achieved and learned so much and I take my hat off to you as your recounted your story now. Loved your reflections and your achievements. Loved it all actually! Thanks for linking up for Life This Week 40/52. Next week: With $1000 I would...

  9. Oh my goodness... I really enjoyed reading this it brought a smile to my face while waiting at a coffeee shop to deal with a tricky situation that I should have dealt with 7years ago! Made my nerves go away!


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