31 things I’d tell my younger self

tips for younger self

As I type this I’m thinking my younger self probably wouldn’t listen to my advice, because let’s face it, what do oldies know! (said in jest). The best thing about being young is you are mostly oblivious/protected from life’s hardships and lessons, because you have yet to experience them. What a wonderful stage of life to be at, let’s not rush the young ones out of it. We should be celebrating life in the stage we are in, you’ll only be in it once, so enjoy it.

In saying that, I’m still going to impart some advice. So what would I say to my younger self? What pearls of wisdom would I impart? I’ve been around the block a few times, I could write a book – we all could!

But what I’d say is this…

1. Enjoy life, be happy, do what makes your heart sing, be kind, have manners, be true to yourself, life will throw shit at you, but you’ll take it, you’ll learn from it and you’ll become the best version of you for it.

2. Don’t expect miracles, they don’t happen. If you want something, work bloody hard for it. If you are lucky to have a talent, nurture it. Think before you speak or react (you’ll find this hard because you turn out to be a little firecracker) but you’ll learn it’s often best not to react, treat others the way you want to be treated.

3. Good friends are like diamonds, hard to get but worth hanging onto to. Those friends will be there for the good times and support you through the not so great. Those friends may not be large in numbers, but my god one of them is worth a million others.

4. Respect yourself, because you are worth it, never compare yourself to others, you are unique and that’s good enough. Others will be better looking, smarter, less or more successful. Get over it, that’s life. Concentrate on you, not others. You’ll be 100 times happier once you release this (it takes a while…)

5. Not everyone will like you, that’s okay. Don’t judge others, because what they do is none of your damn business (and vice versa).

6. Don’t believe everything you see on social media, half of that shit is made up!

7. Your parents won’t live forever, ask as many questions about your past, your family and family history as you can, because one day you won’t have the opportunity. While it may seem boring at the moment, later in life you may well be a little more interested.

8. Be a good human, help those that need it, because that is pure joy, it really is. You’ll experience this first hand. You’ll work in media in the hey day, you’ll work hard, wear the nice clothes and reap the benefits, it will be fun and deliver a lifestyle you never thought you’d experience, but the best reward will come in your 40’s when you stumble upon a little neighbourhood centre in Kirribilli. It will change your life in every way possible. You will never be happier.

9. Never, ever judge a book by its cover.

10. Everybody hurts, everybody goes through shit, everybody has good times, that’s just life. Sometimes we’ll cope, other times we won’t, and that’s okay. It’s not a weakness to be happy or to celebrate, nor is it a weakness to be sad and dwell in it, because that’s life.

11. A job is just a job, never let it rule your life, you will never say “I am so glad I spent 80 hours a week at work, how incredibly amazing was I”. You’ll say “what a bloody fool”. You really will! (unless you had a kick-ass job that you loved, you were saving lives etc – there are some exceptions to the rule).

12. You are what you think. The most powerful tool you have is your mind.

13. Most importantly of all, life is too bloody short. Tell those you love, that you love them, tell them often.

14. You’ll fight hard for those you love, the underdogs, and those that don’t have a voice, never apologise for it.

15. You’ll have a massive panic attack on a Qantas flight and try to get off the plane as it’s taking off, but you know what, shit happens, anxiety happens. A lovely lady called Margie will help you, hug you and best of all upgrade you to business class! See, every bad situation has a silver lining (she also told you to get some serious help – you did, and you’ve never looked back).

16. Your sister will be everything. Her strength, support and wisdom will keep you going. I know she tried to smoother you when you were about six months old but she actually grows rather fond of you. Not only does she have your back, she becomes your sounding block in life. She really is one in a million – just you see.

17. Your parents love you. They may not yell it from the roof tops like more modern day parents do, but they do love you. They will be there when you least expect it, but when you need it the most.

18. The only person to cut your hair should be a hairdresser. You’ll learn this the hard way.

19. It’s never a great idea to go shopping with your bestfriend after a few drinks. You’ll wake up in the morning with 100 bags at the end of your bed, wonder how the hell they got there, and a credit card debt you won’t like. You’ll also be reminded that after a few drinks you tend to think you’re 6 foot tall and 6 stone, you are not.

20. You will kiss a few frogs, but when you find the right one, he stops you in your tracks. You find a wonderful man, make sure you are good to him.

21. You’ll never be a great cook, sad but true. Your talents lay elsewhere. Best you realise this quickly (you may or may not put your father in hospital with a nasty case of food poisoning – I’m not sure he’ll ever forgive you)

22. Forgiveness isn’t a weakness – it’s freedom. It takes you over 30 years to understand this, but never was a truer word spoken. You will never forget but you will forgive and my god it feels incredible. I promise you, you will see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. And you’ll be free.

23. When someone gives you a compliment, don’t disbelieve them and walk away all embarrassed. Have some confidence. Say thank you, because they really meant it. When you get to midlife, you’ll be doing cartwheels (okay, maybe a gig) in the street when someone says something nice to you.

24. Sending someone a hand written card is everything. The time it takes to write it and post it, will mean the world to the person receiving it.

25. You want to save everyone. You can’t.

26. Keep the letters your poppa sends you, because one day he won’t be here, and you’ll not only have his letters but copies of the ones you wrote him. It will be the biggest gift you’ll get.

27. You are tone death. It’s okay, don’t let it stop you from singing at the top of your voice. You’ve got Madonna and the Spice Girls to look forward to (airplugs were invented for a reason).

28. The lasting memories you have won’t be of materialistic things, they’ll be of experiences, people, laughing and time spent with loved ones.

29. You’ll get the best mother-inlaw ever. Treasure each moment with her.

30. Stay out of the sun during peak times, wear loads of sunscreen and protective clothing. Trust me here, you’ll be thankful (and save a heap of money) when you are older. This is the number one beauty tip of all time.

31. Lastly, you’ll remember that lady that told you when you were 20, to make the most of being in your 20’s, because in the blink of an eye, you’d be 50. She wasn’t wrong!

The co-founder of 50SoWhat has been in publishing for most of her working life. She was general manager of successful boutique media publishing house in New Zealand for several years and boasts an impeccable sales, marketing and management background. When she’s not road-testing the latest cosmetic procedures, or investigating the hottest lifestyle, travel, fashion and beauty trends for over 45’s, Jo is often back home catching up with family and friends, or working on her golf swing!


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