To My Younger Self

younger self

Dear 17-year-old self,

I am your future currently roaming around Southeast Asia to avoid going home. You might be disappointed on how you turned out to be me. My younger self, I know you had a lot of things you wanted to achieve. That notebook you got when you were 14 to keep a list of your short-term and long-term goals, I still remember it. I hope you’re happy that you have achieved half of those.

I want to let you know that I got rid of that notebook and started from scratch as I realised that those are not the things that I want now. We might have a disagreement on this but you were materialistic. I know you had a good heart but got caught living up to your society’s expectations.

You did not have to be hard on yourself. Pleasing the world should not be on your mind. You should’ve loosened up a bit more. I know we’ve been through a lot but I wish you were able to live your life the way I do now.

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It is a different world out here, nowhere near being easy but I get to experience things. I remember how you did not even taste or try alcohol and cigarettes. You were admirable for being so responsible. Look, I drink and smoke now. I know how you kept yourself from flirting as you avoided relationships so much. Hey, flirting is fun at times! It sucks that I got to enjoy it just recently. We both know we’re late bloomers.

Remember when you told yourself you’re never going to work at housekeeping changing bedsheets, picking and throwing up trash? Or even work at a call centre thinking it’s a waste of your university degree? Guess what? I did all those. People at BPO industries are smart. Working at a hostel or hotel is fulfilling. I actually want to try being a waitress now or go to remote areas in Vietnam or Cambodia to help communities.

I know you always wanted to do charity work that’s why you spent sleepless nights studying so you can be rich one day and donate to charities. It is true, dear, that you don’t have to have a lot of money to help. You just have to always have your heart and compassion, more so, empathy.

Oh, my younger self, you might be wondering what happened to me – not married at 27, no post grad, no properties, not a part of the management team at a multinational company, no car, not anywhere you expected me to be. I am sorry.

Every once in a while I look back at you and check if you are proud of me or if you can even accept the fact that I threw all your dreams and decided to pursue mine.

Please, don’t feel too upset. I still love how you made a lot of friends in the university and I apologise for not keeping them. You were such a leader and strong-willed and I think I still keep it with me. It’s just now, I don’t do it to boost my ego and just to avoid the bullies. I do it because I believe I can make a change and that it’s for a greater cause and for a better us.

I am struggling now, trying to re-evaluate the choices I made. Of course, I can hear you say “I told you so! You should’ve done according to plan.” Baby, I want you to know that life is not as easy as that. Doing things according to plan is only great if it can give you a sense of fulfilment or happiness. I knew I was unhappy keeping up with the plans we had. Goals had changed.

You are lucky because you had our Nan to run to when something goes wrong. I have no one. I run to myself in the mirror when something goes wrong, talk and nag to myself whenever I do something bad, and even cry myself to sleep whenever I don’t know what I am doing. You do not have to worry too much; I’m used to it.

We might not be in sync now but I can tell you that I am now in sync with our present self. Do not feel anxious, I am still as strong as you are if not, stronger.

This is the life that I want now. I may be struggling but struggles are beautiful. They give you a sense of humanity or even just a sense. I still get anxieties but I can tell you that I am a lot happier now. Travelling is my escape. I am actually not a traveller; I am more of an escapist, but I am learning a lot.

Sorry for not doing the things that you dreamed of. Dreams can change. Rest assured that I won’t let ourselves grow old without them. We always believe that dreams are free and we should take advantage of that, right?

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Life is beautiful out here. It is not perfect but it’s wonderful. Forgive yourself for being too righteous and too stiff. I am going to take over from here. This is your future – a carefree, independent one.

I wish you may accept the fact that I am living another life now.

I love you and I hope you still love me, too.

Your future self at a current time,

Haze at 27


Author: Haze

Haze is someone who does not know what to do with her life. She always tries new things on her own. She is now suffering from allergic reaction she got from a travel bug's bite.

20 thoughts on “To My Younger Self”

  1. Thank you for an inspiration Haze. It gave me an idea for my post. I’m 29yo and woudl love to write a letter to my 19yo. At that time I was completly different person. I was not cool, not boring – just a normal person. Now with all my travels and experience I feel much more comfortabe about myself and stronger 🙂
    All the best 🙂

    Kasia

  2. I liked the post, but at the same time, I feel like the best is to look forward. So, I would prefer the idea to write a letter to your older self. I think I will do that too. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. As we grow older and look back we can see things clearly and objectively. Many things we did when we were younger will look foolish with the passage of time. This is a candid and introspective post and makes me pause and look back too.

  4. Great post! Thank you for sharing your inner thoughts to deliver such an inspiring post. 🙂 I wish you all the best on your travels. I hope you will grow and keep inspiring other people along the way.

  5. This is inspiring. I often think about what my 17 or 18-year old self would think about me right now. He will not be proud but things have changed since then and the priorities in my life are different as well. I feel blessed that I have traveled so much and this definitely makes us all happier!

  6. Deep thought for Sunday morning coffee! I’m about to hit a milestone birthday and have been thinking about my life path, it’s good to spend time reflecting every now and then

  7. I have only ever done what has been suggested elsewhere in comments – written a letter to my future self. I did that when I was 10 years old and opened it when I was 21 – it made for very funny reading!

    I love this post and I love your approach to life now. Good luck for the rest of your years!

  8. I often think about what my younger self would think of the life I have lived, the choices I have made. I think in the main part, she’d be pretty happy – my life is full of love, creativity, travel, a great balance between work and life… I think she’d laugh at how excited things like a greenhouse and harvesting our own fruit and veg make me, but overall I think she’d be alright with where I’m at!

  9. Great letter! Oh, the things I would tell my younger self. I never thought this is what my life would look like now. We think we know it all when we’re that age. Now I’m old enough to know I don’t know much.

  10. This was a sweet read, Haze! It’s so interesting to reflect back on our younger selves, the goals we had and where we thought we’d end up compared to where we are now. Like you, back in my teens my definition of success is different from how I define it now, so my life looks different from what I thought it would be. But accepting that that’s okay just means we’ve grown, and will keep growing 🙂

  11. This is a good idea! Write a letter to our younger selves! I appreciate this and it is really touching! Your younger self would really like this pep talk!

  12. What a great exercise in humility, writing to a younger self is. I’ve always wanted to do the opposite, write a letter to my future self, and bury it in a time capsule…

    1. Wow! That’s a good idea! Very interesting. Maybe I should give it a try, too? I’ve got a lot of things in my mind to tell and ask my future self.

  13. Nice post to your younger self. But I don’t think you should regret having lived the way you did 10 years ago (or not having done this or that thing you’re doing right now), since that was what you really wanted back then. Now you have another lifestyle, because this is what you want now. Maybe in 10 years you’ll have yet another lifestyle. Who knows, maybe even one that you would despise right now. haha… But that’s OK, as long as you are true to yourself at every step of your life. I mean: we all change throughout time. Our interests, hobbies and even taste change throughout the years. It’s important to listen to our body and heart, and to keep adapting our choices and interests. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for this post. I’m sure it’ll encourage young people to be themselves. 🙂

  14. I think the only thing that my seventeen year old self and 43 year old self (wow where did that time go?) have in common is travel. Back then I was starting out on the travel path and in some respects was much braver. With little money, just a rough guide and no plan, I would head to the train station and just jump on a train to wherever I could afford. There were no phones, no internet and no mum or dad to collect me if things went wrong. Now travelling is a lot easier but my bucket list only gets longer. How does that work?

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