Food for Thought

Letter to my 17 year old self

Dear me,

Tomorrow will be a big day for you. Tomorrow is the day you turn 18, when you legally become an adult. Happy birthday. I know you’ve been through a lot at home and had trouble fitting in at school. Everything just feels so overwhelming when you leave behind the security of friends and classmates you’ve been to classes with for the past 7 years, at least.

I promise you this: things will get better. There are some things I want you to know about what you’ll learn in years to come that might help you deal with situations you’re dealing with now and will come to experience in the future.

You are unique – In school, everyone is in their groups. To feel like you belong, you feel like you need to be put in a category. What might not be immediately apparent to you though is while each of your friends belong to a social group, they don’t always share all the same interests. You are unique in that you have varied interests that more than one group of people from school share. You have insight and knowledge from being observant on the outside which gives you power and knowledge. You don’t always need to be the centre of attention and that’s okay. Do what makes you happy instead of what society expects of you. It’s okay to get your first tattoo within the next couple of months; you’ll be getting another 6 over the years. It’s okay to speak your mind if you’re upset. You can’t hold it all inside and be happy. Just be you and those who appreciate you as a person will get to know and appreciate the real you.

Source: Josh Hanson

People will come and go – There are people you’ve been really good friends with and those you haven’t been such good friends with. Over time, circumstances change: people move away, you start a new job. They move to another country, you meet new friends. It’s hard letting go of friends that you built a close friendship with, but it takes two to maintain a friendship. No matter how hard you try, sometimes you have to let that person go. If they find their way back, it was meant to be. You will make some really good friends and they’ll move on, but so will you. If your friendship means as much to them as it does to you, they’ll make an effort to keep in touch. One thing you’ll be surprised to know is that after all these years, Armilyn is still a big part of your life. No matter how often you speak or how busy you both are, you’ll still see her regularly even after you move away. Dad was right: she really is a friend you can depend on and should treasure.


Believe in yourself – There are many people in your life who will tell you what they think of you, how you dress, present yourself and act. Don’t let the words of others bring you down; know that everyone will always have their opinions about how people should be, but you should be happy in the decisions you make in your life. Sometimes it’s people close to you who may say hurtful things. You need to sort through what people tell you and see which ones are hurting others and make changes to improve that. Otherwise, if your actions/appearance don’t cause anyone else pain and makes you happy, why do you need to change to make someone else happy?

Source: Pinterest

Be honest – One thing you’ll learn later on is that honesty is the best medicine, even if it’s a bitter pill to swallow. Don’t take your anger out on the messenger, it’s better to hear the truth than be deceived and given false assurances. Do you really want your friend to tell you the dress you’re trying on looks great when the colour and patterns don’t suit your skin tone? Sometimes the truth is hard to take, but your honesty is much appreciated from friends who know you won’t shy away from telling them the honest truth.

Source: The Powerhouse

Don’t give up on what’s worth fighting for – You’ll face an uphill battle at times, but you’ll face situations where you need to fight for what’s truly important. It seems like everything’s impossible or outwith your means, but more often than not, you’ll have more options than what’s right in front of you. Six years from now, you’re going to get the word ‘Fool’ tattooed on your wrist. People who see it think you’re a fool for having this permanently inked into your skin, but it’s your tarot card. A reminder that when other people believe you to be going on a fool’s errand, your hard work and determination to succeed pays off. Five years from now, you’ll be looking for another job after graduating and you’re going to make a big decision about your future. Six years from now, you’re going to finally go to University in Edinburgh, just like dad always talked about. Don’t give up, keep fighting even when it seems like you won’t succeed.

Source: The Things We Say

Don’t let your age stop you from doing what you love – You’ll hear over time about people talking about getting older and how they can’t believe they’re already 3-0. You’re still young and capable. Don’t let the number fool you into thinking you need to control yourself and restrict what you can and cannot do. You’ll realise in a few years time how great it is to work with horses and you’ll learn to ride horses. Ten years from now, you’ll be involved in 6 hours worth of classes/sports (that’s right, you’ll be involved in BodyCombat, BodyPump, BodyBalance and capoeira). If you’re still fit and able, what does it matter what age you are?

Source: Growing Old Disgracefully

The last point I want to make is, live life to the full. Live and make the most of every minute. You’ll come across some hard times and need to make difficult decisions, but in the end it’s the negative experiences that we learn from and make us better as a person. It’s the only way we can appreciate the good things in our life which we would otherwise take for granted. You’ll have experienced a lot and there will be more hurdles along the way, but you’re stronger than you think. You’ll realise that over time, your experiences have shaped who you’ll become.

Source: Kati Morton

The future is not static, it’s not a book that’s written out that you need to follow. Psychology is the chosen career path but it won’t go as smoothly as mum and dad made it seem and that’s okay too. Each life experience brings you something new and you will learn and develop new skills from those experiences. You’ll also find that there are quite a few people appreciate your sense of style. If I told you that you’ll also be involved in making your own pieces of jewellery and dresses among other things, I know you will laugh in disbelief but it’s true. Remember your love of taking photos? You’ll get better at that too. Oh and because you’ve moved to Edinburgh, you won’t get as much of a chance to speak Cantonese, so don’t be surprised when you find it difficult to chat fluently – you’ll feel like you’re in high school again when you start speaking Chinglish to family and friends.

What I really want to tell you is that things aren’t always as bad as they appear. You’ll come across situations that are difficult and hard at the time to deal with, but you’re strong and you’ll get through it. You’ve got the support and love of friends and family, no matter how far away you are. You’ll also find your niche and hone those skills that make you happy, with the help of your fiancé (hard to believe, right? It does happen though!) who encourages you to do so.

There’s no storm you can’t weather as long as you believe in yourself and what you can achieve.

From your future self, 11 years from now


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