What would you tell your 24-year old self?
8 min read
Dear 24-year old me,
It feels funny writing a letter again; it’s not really the done thing anymore, it’s all WhatsApp and Insta these days….you wait, it all gets very exciting tech-wise in the “twenty-tens”! Anyway, back to snail mail, getting a letter in the post these days is a big deal. Sadly, they’re mostly from the bank or the taxman, so the excitement is muted!
Anyway, my darling, I’m writing to you to tell you some things I hope you’ll listen to. I know you got me to where I am today, so I don’t want to change you. You’re the taker of the path less travelled and the breaker of any rule going, but please, take a moment to listen to me. After all, it’s not every day; you get a letter from your older and a little wiser self!
Invest in yourself.
I know that trip with your friends to Ibiza is tempting but don’t worry, it will still be right up there as one of the places to be, probably even more so, when you’re a bit older. Instead, please invest in yourself and don’t worry about what other people will say if they hear you’re off to some weird 4-day seminar where you have to do a fire-walk. You’re going to be the one laughing in a few years, I promise.
Spend as much time as possible learning everything you can about yourself, what sparks your passions, what makes other people passionate and how you can become an even better version of the person you already are. It’s going to be one of the best investments of your life, and it will save you 10 years of detours on your path to success. I wish I’d started our personal development journey back in my twenties, not when I was soul searching for solutions to challenges I got myself into later in life.
Everything you ever need is already in you; you don’t need to constantly be looking for something you’re missing. You are enough. No one can make you whole as everything you need is within you already. So there’s no need to rush around searching for more of everything, more love, more money, more this, more that.
Silence and stillness are all you need.
To find these answers within yourself, start meditating and getting up at 5 am. It sounds crazy, but it’s so peaceful at that time of day without the noise. Direction and guidance soon appear when you stop, embrace the silence and ask your subconscious what to do next.
Play it backwards.
Ok, so if you ignore me and go to Ibiza, at least try this.
I know you feel immortal, and dying is still mostly what older people do, but humour me and try this experiment I picked up in one of those personal development books you’ll start reading soon.
Imagine you’re in a beautiful, dimly lit room. There’s soft music playing and beautiful flowers all around you. In the middle of the room, towards the back, you notice a raised platform with a beautiful box on top.
You hear your name being mentioned, and when you look around, you notice the people alongside you are crying, and that’s when you realise where you are; you’re at your own funeral.
But you’re not sad; you’ve had a wonderful life. Listen to your eulogy, to all the things you’ve achieved and how many people have loved you, then play it backwards.
How are you going to live your life to achieve all of your dreams and goals?
Later in your forties (when you still feel like you’re in your thirties), you’ll realise the quality of your life is the result of every decision you ever made. Every job you chose, every man you dated (or didn’t date), every friend you made or lost touch with….
It’s like a Sliding Doors moment (definitely watch that film, it’s pretty old now as it was early in Gwyneth’s career. She later makes a comeback with GOOP and some strangely named candles that will make you laugh!)
Realise early on; you have the whole world in your hands. Choose wisely. As Tony Robbins says (he’ll get you fire walking), imagine life is always happening for you, not to you. You’re in control of everything. How empowering is that?
Oh, by the way, you must get yourself one of these amazing framed prints I found last week. You enter your date of birth, and it shows your whole life in dots representing how many days and years you have left of your life. It’s very scary, but my gosh, it motivates you to ditch the excuses and take extreme constant action every day even when you’re, quite frankly, petrified of failure.
What’s more terrifying is the lack of time you have and not the risk of a dream failing. Failure is your friend; the sooner you realise that the easier your life will be.
Practice gratitude every day you and your loved ones are still with you on this journey, you have everything you ever need in life. Never ever take this for granted and never go to bed on an argument.
Talking of not taking things for granted.
You must take care of your health and wellness, mental, spiritual and physical.
It’s so important to start looking after your body and your mind now. I’ve learnt so much about health over the last 20 years, and I know for sure that it’s a cumulative effort, that good health is “earnt" over the years.
There is no point in getting to forty, thinking everything will be OK if you drink a few green smoothies. The likelihood is, it won’t be. Please, start eating healthy, organic food if you can afford it, get any nasties out of your diet and your home and cut down on the booze. Boring, I know, as our 20’s were mostly spent inebriated.
Start taking the best supplements you can, look after your gut health (we all get obsessed with gut biomes), and make sure you exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. Oh, and slap on sunscreen and use a good moisturiser; you’ll get quite a shock in a few years if you don’t!
Making this investment in yourself now will give you such an easier life when you’re my age. All won’t be lost if you don’t, but you’ll have so much less to worry about.
Do what you love, not what’s expected.
Another pearl of wisdom for you is to do what you love, not what’s expected of you.
Always follow your goals and dreams, however crazy and regardless of what anyone else ever says. We never like being told what to do, and we also don’t like going down the same path as everyone else, but there are sometimes when it’s ok to follow the crowd, not fight it. You don't have to intentionally go out of your way to be different all the time.
Please don’t make your choices based on what other people want you or expect you to do. And don’t make your choices based on what you should do; that’s not what you’re all about.
Going into the “right thing” might look safer, promise more money, and get you approval from the “people that matter'', but that world is about to crumble, and you’ll be better off beating your own path. Making a safe choice will be more painful than taking a risk. You’re made of different stuff, and you need to embrace that. You’ll have a fabulous time if you do, and you’ll end up well ahead of the crowd when the old ways start tumbling down. But it’s scary to take such big risks - just trust the universe always has your back.
Talking of love.
You can be quite intense. Thankfully this always scares off the wrong people who can’t cope with your constant enthusiasm and goal setting.
Please don’t try to chase after them (I’m specifically talking about dating here). None of them are the right men for you. You’ll waste a big chunk of time in your late 20’s, and early 30’s trying to mould them into men they will never be. It’s far better to be independent and single than with the wrong man.
Do start investing in dating without it feeling like a waste of time. Why? Because Mr Right doesn’t just appear, you have to put some leg work in to find him.
We always prioritise focusing on building a business over finding a life partner because it seems a greater chance our hard work will pay off. After all, who’s got time to go on hundreds of dates with the wrong men just to try to find the right one?
I know we found this quite a daunting task, but if you don’t take this seriously now, you’ll have a whole load of anguish later in life when freezing eggs, and guilt about not investing time in finding your soul mate or having children, rears its head. You think you have all the time in the world and that it will all work out. But spend time wisely in your 20’s networking not just for business but for pleasure. Your network is your net worth on so many levels, and relationships need nurturing and investment.
So my darling, that’s all that I want to say.
These are the lessons I’ve learnt for you over the last 20 years, the things I wish I’d known when I was your age and the things that, while they wouldn’t have changed me, would have got me further down the line a lot faster.
Oh, and before I forget, stop buying new Chanel lipsticks and start investing in the S&P 500. I know it’s very boring, and no one taught us about compounding at school, but it really is the seventh wonder of the world and it will make you very wealthy later in life. And there’s really only so many lipsticks you ever need.
So, take at least some of this to heart, and get ready for an amazing adventure.
All my love,
Your older and just a little wiser self.