Saturday, October 4, 2014

A letter to my 16 year old self

I'm 30 now and while I probably am not as wise as I'd like to be, if I could, I'd send my 16 year old self some advice.

Dear Angela,

You're about to finish high school, start university and embark into adulthood. Not! I've lived your life and can tell you that you're as impossibly childish as ever at the ripe old age of thirty. In light of that fact, I'd like to give you advice so that you can better yourself and guide you so that you can have a more fulfilling life.
  1. Avoid older friends who will lead you astray, teach you to party and get you obsessed in The Sims.
  2. Do not read The Wheel of Time series, it will take over your life and the author will die before he finishes the book. Ignore The Song of Ice and Fire as well.
  3. Drinking your weight in beer with your male cousins is bad for you. You will be far too comfortable with men and be able to handle your drink.
  4. Do not skip school, attend rallies, or join university organizations.
  5. Study something useful, like nursing, since you're not afraid of blood. You'll be able to get a high-paying job abroad and being a non-native speaker of English will not be a cause for discrimination.
  6. Do not, by any means, register for classes or courses that will ask you to create ads, make movies, take photos of the sunset or write scripts. They're too much fun.
  7. Decide what you want to do right after university,  get an 8-5 job that requires you to call your bosses "Boss, Ma'am, or Sir" and climb that ladder so you can live according to THE SCRIPT. Stick with it even if you hate it, it will pay the bills and perhaps you'll meet Mr. Right.
  8. Find a job that will not work with your insomnia and one that won't let you go out drinking and dancing during work hours.
  9. Stop yourself from going to Vietnam, don't give teaching a chance.
  10. Steer clear of doing the CELTA. You will meet interesting people who will leave and one who will break your heart.
  11. Stay away from Saigon, you'll learn how to ride a motorbike, drive after drinking, get into accidents and get back onto a motorbike to do the same thing all over again.
  12. Give a wide berth to traveling, there isn't any use to learning different languages, experiencing culture, meeting new people and seeing the rest of the known world.
  13. Keep your distance from people who will teach you a lot about life, love, music and drugs.
  14. Steer clear of jobs that will ask you to make big decisions like moving to Africa and opportunities to re-route your career. Stay in your safety zone of doing that are easy for you.
  15. Give living abroad a miss, who wants to go through funny misunderstandings when you can stay somewhere where everybody speaks your language? Why meet people who will change your life then leave?
  16. Burn this letter.
You are the sum total of good and bad decisions. You are not perfect and that's OK. Perfect is overrated. So, go on. Make choices, don't make choices, live and enjoy your life for as long as you can. You will meet many people and the ones who matter will stay. Savour every experience but let bad thoughts go. It's alright not to know the answers. You are you and no other.

Love, always,