8 Things I’d Love to Tell My 20-Year-Old Self

My husband surprised me with a 50th birthday party this summer. He invited all my friends throughout my many stages of life to come and share pictures of me when they knew-me-back-when. It was really fun to watch the slide show and reminisce about the good times with old friends.

There was one of me on my father’s sailboat that my sister must have included. I have no idea who took the photo and only know that I was about twenty at the time. What I do remember is her! I love the fresh-face, carefree, braless, naive woman I used to be. Oh, how I wish I could give her some advice now.

I would tell her to:

  • Be present in every moment – don’t waste time wanting school to be over or to be older than what you are. Take the time to enjoy yourself instead of waiting to start something new or go somewhere else. Embrace the now!
  • Journal every day – You did journal all the way through University. You wrote down your dreams, poetry you wrote and “dear diary” excerpts. When I read them now it is such a joy to see your thoughts and attitudes. I wish you had continued and wrote more consistently because they mean so much to me now.
  • Keep your friends – Friends are there for a reason, season or lifetime. There is something wonderful having friends when you are older that you knew when you were younger. Plus, friends become far more important to you as you age and surprisingly you will find that you have more than one best friend! Who knew!
  • Get over those embarrassing moments – Oh, dear Audrey, you have had so many. But guess what? When you get older those are the stories you will remember the most – with fondness.
  • Know that you are beautiful and your body is perfect – Stop obsessing about your weight, your body and your looks! Stop skipping meals and putting yourself down! You will look back at old photos and say “Hey, I look pretty good! What was I complaining about?”
  • Start looking after your health, skin and body now – This attitude of not having to worry about it now is not going to do you any justice when you get older. Start now because it is harder to kick start something new in your 50′s and you can’t reverse the damage done when you were younger.
  • Start a financial plan earlier – Start a savings scheme earlier and save your money!! Take more of an interest in personal finances, start a pension earlier, and for goodness sakes, forego short term treats for long term gain!

And lastly I would say to her;

  • You done good girl!!! – You continued to live your life as a carefree, spontaneous person. Although you no longer go braless (just way too painful) your fresh face shows the beautiful lines of someone who has lived life – with every laugh line, worry line and battle scar.

And thank you 20 year-old self. You reminded me the importance to live in the moment, to journal and to continue to look after myself. All lessons I needed to hear at age fifty.

10 Things I’d Love to Tell my Younger Self
50 Things I Learned Before 50

By Audrey van Petegem, Senior Editor, DivineCaroline


Lamees J.
Lamees J4 years ago

Loved it too!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

i love this. thank you

Sharon Wilkie
SHARON W4 years ago

Thank you - Very good advice. I especially like the "keep a journal" and the "financial preparedness" suggestions. Neither were stressed when I was 20 yrs old and I certainly wish they had been! Certainly what appeared catastrophic at that age would be amusing by comparison in later years.

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins4 years ago

Now I have that song in my head. I wish I knew then what I know now, when I was younger.

Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins4 years ago

I should pretend that I am 36 and write to my current 26 year old self. I need to evaluate my life and start making improvements. There is so much I want to experience and accomplish.

Patricia H.
Patricia H.4 years ago

interesting, if we could only go back

Nancy Black
Nancy Black4 years ago

Interesting with lots of good advise, but the one thing that I believed when I was twenty and now is "Be true to yourself."

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia4 years ago

I am only 26, but if I could back those few years, I would tell myself, "don't get that credit card, take important things such as college and saving money seriously, and take those risks you were too scared of at the time. Experience new things constantly, don't get stuck doing the same things and going to the same places and exercise more common sense! Lol"

Patty B.
Patty B4 years ago

I always felt that urge to go back in time and whisper in the ear of the young me some good advice and give her info on the life she COULD have .So bittersweet .