So I have often thought about that whole concept of writing a letter to your younger self, in hopes of warning them about what lay ahead and what not to stress about.
It always seemed a little silly to me, a pointless exercise - for what is done, is done and no amount of wishing it away shall change it so.
I guess the concept stems from some sort of regret that bubbles away underneath us all. How sad this seems to me.
It is that whole ‘youth is wasted on the young’ thing that comes to mind too, I used to be so offended by this phrase when I was younger.
It is only now I see the wisdom in these words.
Well my beautiful Maggie, I have decided instead to make it more worthwhile by writing this letter instead to you.
You and I both know, that you have been told your whole 15 years of life that you are just like your Aunty Emma.
It is true you are, very much so.
I sometimes disagree when I hear someone tell you this, but it’s a weak shake of the head because deep down I know that you are exactly like me in many ways.
At the same time I am wondering how you feel about hearing such a thing?
Is it a good thing or bad thing to be like me?
I (being me), immediately think this must be a bad thing…that’s where you and I do differ, but we will get to that.
I worry you think this then means you will look like me, think like me... fail like me.
I want you to know that although you are strong willed, stubborn, independent, fiery and quick with the jokes...you are just so very much more.
You are everything I wish I was at your age. You are everything I wish I was at my age.
You are so very strong. You have been since you could lift yourself up onto those gorgeous little chubby legs and decide to be done with crawling, it was time to explore the world by walking…you have never looked back.
You have also had to face a lot of things in your 15 years that not many of us do.
You are bright and brave and determined and funny...so funny.
The very bestest best thing though of all - You never let people make you feel small.
You stand up for yourself.
When someone pushes you down you say no, and in your own Maggie way deal with problems head on and move on for the better.
I am in constant awe of watching you handle yourself with confidence, always with confidence.
I know already you are going to move through life with such self assurance and do it spectacularly.
Unlike your Aunty Emma, you will not worry so much about pleasing everybody else around you.
Unlike your Aunty Emma, you will not feel constantly anxious and guilty all the time over everything.
Unlike me, you will not let boys and then men walk all over your heart, stripping you of your confidence.
Unlike me, you will never let people make you feel like you are not good enough. Because you are.
Unlike me you will be brave enough to go to parties and dances and experience all that a teenager can at that age and you will trust yourself and your judgement of any situation you find yourself in.
You will also, unlike me, not ever put up with the bullshit that comes with ingenuine female friendships. You will work out very quickly who is in your corner and who is not.
You will also unlike me, never let people talk down to you or tell you things about yourself you don’t agree with – you will not stay silent if this happens. You will not accept people’s cruel words, judgements or actions or let them affect you.
Oh to be you.
I hope this also extends to people with different, cruel and narrow minded belief systems to you, question them, challenge them but always speak up.
So, even though this old Aunty of yours may feel you are so much more than she ever was, I still think it never hurts to help make this rocket ride to adulthood you are currently on, a little easier.
So my little Maggie - if my former, younger self that you are, needs to hear any advice from someone who did not have it all worked out, then these really are things I would tell my 15 year old self if I ever had the chance.
While I do think you will be unlike me in so many ways, there is no denying the fact remains you do have pieces of me there, so we had better make sure you are prepared just in case.
If I start to sound like a Nike commercial I apologise, I can’t help but get a little cheesy and sentimental when it comes to you.
Don’t ever let anyone yourself tell you, that you are not good enough or talented enough, to do in life what you deep down want to do. I cannot shout it from the roof tops enough – the whole world is there for you - so grasp it firmly with two hands, and if you have the will you will find a way.
Never waste time, ever – I don’t believe in tomorrow always believe in today, right now.
Go to university, ESPECIALLY if you are unsure about what you want to do, go and have a taste of a beautiful life of discovery and meeting people from different backgrounds.. find out who it is you want to be.
Ease up on procrastinating – you can achieve so much more if you just dig in and do the hard work, get the job done. You will get addicted to feeling proud of yourself if you cotton on to this fact early.
Don’t ever make someone a priority when all you ever are to them is an option. This is a huge one.
Learn how to run (OK, this is a Nike commercial). I know you are rolling your eyes at this as I would be too, but seriously if I had my time again I would learn to love to run, it will heighten your life I know it.
Travel the world, I didn’t and I look back and I don’t even have a good reason why - that time wasting thing perhaps, or not realising I could do anything I wanted. Don’t let money deter you, because it is not a good enough reason.
Be a morning person, greet the day loud and big...don't sleep your way through the best part of the day.
GPs aren't always right, and medications /pills are not always the only option...food should always be your first medicine.
Health doesn’t really come into it at your age, I get it. The focus is how you look. But when you get to my age it is all about health. That body of yours is the only one you have. You need to feed it beautiful nutrients and constantly keep it moving but also balance that with rest and no stress. You want to live a long full life, you need that body to get you there.
AlWAYS. BUY. THE. SHOES. you will never ever look back with regret buying them, you will only regret the pairs you didn't buy.
Tell your mum you love her as much as you can, you will regret all the fights you have with her when you are a bit older. I did.
Let your dad tell you all the jokes and stories he knows a million times over, because I promise you one day they will be something to think about when you miss him so much it hurts.
Don’t get a tattoo, that is one thing you will definitely regret one day if you aren't sure. If you must get one, wait till you are heading towards 25, so you are very, very sure it is what you want to do.
Understand that only these 3 things matter, Family, Health and Happiness. If anything ever jeopardises any of these, remove them from your life.
Always, always be kind.
Oh and never ever buy a brand new car, always second hand. Depriciation, it's a word you learn as an adult.
There are many many more little tricks I wish someone had told me about along the way, so know they are tucked away ready for a rainy day if you ever need them.
You have been such a gift to my life little Maggie, more then you will ever know. I can still think back to the moment they rolled you in your hospital crib, down the hall towards me.
I was 21 and you were simply the most perfect thing I had ever laid eyes on. By comparison, when we first met I had already made all of the above mistakes and more.
So I guess my final piece of advice is this;
Ignore everything I have just said and work it all out for yourself. Make a deliciously, beautiful full life for yourself and do it all your way, mistakes, heart aches and all.
I am sure whatever you choose to do, in what ever way you chose to do it, you will be magnificent.
And always remember if you do lose your way, I am here for you always..and I won't tell your mum.
Aunty Emma Kate xoxo