When I turned 25 last year, I wrote a letter to my 15-year-old self sharing the 10 lessons I would teach her if I could go back in time. This year, I thought, “Why not look into the future?” So I sat down to pen a short note to my 27-year-old self. Here it goes.
This is a letter from your 26-year-old self.
Happy 27th birthday 🙂
First off, if you’re reading this, it means you survived another year and that’s incredible. I hope you still begin your day feeling grateful to have woken up to another day.
I thought I would feel more anxious about turning 26 and stepping into the second half of my 20s, but strangely I am not. A few years ago, a friend shared a quote with me about aging. Sadly, I don’t remember it word for word, but here’s the essence of it:
“I don’t worry about aging because I am not any one age. When I go to the beach, I am 5 years old. When I see an ice cream truck walk past my house, I’m 11 years old. When I am dancing with my friends, I am 20 years old. When I take care of my mom, I am 27 years old. When I am sitting in solace and thinking, I am 50 years old. I am no one age and all ages at the same time.”
Every time a birthday comes around, I think about this (albeit poorly worded) quote. Hope you’re thinking about it now.
So much changed in one year, since I turned 25. I quit my job to pursue the path of solopreneurship. I’m working on two books that I care deeply about. I moved houses twice and met dozens of new people as a result. I strengthened my relationship with people in my inner circle who I love and cherish. I talk to my family more now. I picked up rock climbing and playing the guitar. I sing more freely now. I dance more fully. I have more compassion, for myself and those around me. And, I realize with each day the importance of cultivating inner peace, investing time into good relationships, and being willing to take more risks.
But, I’ve also come to accept that all of the above could change at any moment.
The impermanence is both terrifying and reassuring. Reassuring because you know hardships will be impermanent too.
Although you might be wiser than me (I hope!), I want to share a few words of wisdom. Think of these as distilled nuggets of wisdom to ensure you are on the right track, or at least, you steer yourself back to the right track if you’re astray.
- Invest in good relationships: It’s easy to forget about this area in your life, and begin to take the people you have for granted. But, this is the area that will give you long-term happiness and satisfaction. Like a garden, good relationships require constant nurturing to grow. It should be process-oriented, and not outcome-oriented.
- Your body is your best asset: You’ve been incredibly lucky so far in being healthy and safe. But your body will only take care of you as long as you take care of it. Pay attention to it. Exercise regularly. Meditate every day. If something feels wrong, don’t wait to address it. Too many others have made that mistake.
- Set aside time to read and think every day: You have a high bias to action, which is both a superpower and a weakness. Set aside at least an hour every day to read, think, and write on topics that don’t have an immediate result. Consuming good content is how you fuel your mind.
- Define your own threshold for failure: As you venture on this more unconventional path, don’t be bogged down by someone else’s definition of failure. If the books you’re working on now don’t pan out, it’s okay. Have a curious detachment to the problem to understand what could’ve been done better rather than being engulfed by social standards.
- Compassion. Curiosity. Confidence: These are your three core values. Continue to nurture them every single day.
I don’t know where you will be or what you’ll be doing when you read this a year from now.
Perhaps you just had a bad day, or something you really wanted didn’t come through.
My advice to you is: take a walk and call a friend. It always helps.
Your 26-year-old self