Life lessons from someone far too young to be giving them

So it’s the new year and all that, a time for reflection and new beginnings; this feels particularly astute for me this year as I recently returned to England after 163 glorious days roaming around other areas of the globe. I feel like I have learnt a lot about myself and the world over the last few years; through leaving school, finishing university, starting my first proper job, moving out of my parents house and living in London, and now through travelling. So I have decided to write a list of a dozen things I might say to my younger self if I ever had the chance to, or if I somehow developed the ability to travel through time. I also thought it would be interesting to see if this advice has changed in ten years, once I have experienced more, learnt much more (hopefully) and am far wiser (probably not much). 

1. Discover what makes you so happy you feel like your smile is going to burst out of your chest, and do it as often as you can. 

2. Smile at strangers. Give your smile to them in all it’s sincerity, and don’t take it to heart if they don’t always give it back.  

3. In fact, try not to take things to heart in general. Don’t base your happiness on other people’s likelihood to be kind, base it on your own ability to be kind to others regardless. Be resilient.

4. Never make assumptions about anyone; you never know what people might be going through or where they are coming from.

5. Do more yoga. It’s good for you and it makes you feel so much better in every way.

6. Learn what your limits are, know what your limits are, and then push them. Try new things. Learn your real limits and understand that it is okay to have them. 

7. Talk to strangers, make new friends, know people properly and allow them to know you. Or just chat to someone you may never see again about anything and nothing for a few minutes before going your separate ways.

8. Know who you are, not a version of yourself, just you. And learn to love yourself more. Don’t ever stop being unapologetically and weirdly you, ever. 

10. Look at beautiful views with beautiful people and appreciate the ridiculousness of the world we live in. Be thankful for the sunshine above your head and the wonderful earth below your feet.

11. Figure out what is important to you and who is important to you and hold onto them; don’t waste your time on negative people or negative things. 

12. Oh, and drink more water than you think you need to and wear a higher factor of sun cream than you might want to. You only have one body – look after it. 

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