As I begin to transition into another new chapter in my life, one of greater independence, study and responsibility; and with this extended period of time at home – it has given me the chance to reflect on what I’ve learnt and how much I still have to learn. But learning from others, those who are both wiser and more experienced than myself and those younger with the brightest optimism for the future; I believe is a bit like gold dust. If chosen well, a few words can capture and disseminate the main wisdom gained from someone else’s experiences, allowing us all to benefit from them.
I decided I wanted to ask women of all different ages the same question, “What one piece of advice would you give to someone younger than you?” There was something interesting to me about asking people to stand behind just one nugget of wisdom that gets them to reflect deeper about their responses. Now I’ll have to admit my inspiration was taken from a brilliant book by Richard Reed entitled: If I Could Just Tell You One Thing, in which “whenever I met someone remarkable, I’d ask them for their best piece of advice”. When I was thinking about who I wanted to ask, I chose 9 remarkable women most of whom have been an important part of my life in some way. By spanning different ages and generations the material is diverse, and hopefully some of the advice below will help you as well as me. Advice is easy to give and hard to follow, but I guess that is what learning is – it is never a straight line, but one with twists and turns that make the journey infinitely more exciting.
Angel – 14 years old
“Never give up on your dreams”
Eliza – 17 years old
“Place yourself in the other person’s shoes – imagine you are the person on the other end of your treatment. If you would be unhappy with it then why is it fair for you to carry on with your action?
It takes courage to go against the crowd and if you decide that you can’t- learn from the experience and reflect; so next time you’re presented with the same opportunity remember the effect your actions have and do something different.”
Sarah – 25 years old
When I think of my younger self, I recall always believing that I was going to do big things and get as far away from my nerdy younger self as possible! The reality is I am probably equally if not more nerdy and I have achieved some things, but I haven’t yet got my J-Lo figure or the financial power of Kylie Jenner. The reality is, I no longer compare to the “celebrities” who live an impossible life. Instead I am content with just finding my own happiness which is far away from the limelight. My one piece of advice to someone younger, …
“Don’t worry what rate everyone else is doing things at, whether it’s buying a house or getting married, if that’s what you want you can get there on your own timeline and feel content that you worked hard to achieve it!”
Samantha – 30 years old
“Make the most of the different opportunities you have in front of you. When you are older, you won’t necessarily have the luxury of the spare time or resources to make certain things happen. So, whether it is auditioning for a school play or starting a new sport or hobby, go for it! Your future self will look back on these moments fondly and you might even make new friends as a result of it.”
Lucy – 40 years old
“Most of the things that worry us day-to-day really don’t matter when you consider the bigger picture. Try to keep things in perspective, especially if you are one of life’s natural worriers! Find something constructive that helps you deal with them, whether that’s talking it over with someone else, or a hobby that distracts you, and save your time and energy for more important things. Life is too short to fill it with unnecessary worries!”
Joss – 49 years old
“Take every opportunity for an adventure, they will help define who you become and give you great stories to tell. Work out what is really important to you (this will change over time) and use that to help you make your choices, then don’t worry about making some mistakes – you will learn from every part of your journey. Stop worrying so much!”
Helen – 50 years old
“Work hard and play hard, and always find a way to remain cool no matter what challenges come your way, pause, reflect, and don’t make any rash decisions….”
Jenny – 73 years old
“…Two of life’s vital ingredients – Honesty and Kindness”.
Honesty as in not saying you know or understand something just to impress the person you are speaking to. Admit you don’t and you will be the receiver of knowledge.
Honesty as in not following the crowd to save face but saying what you really believe. Social media is awash with cruel crowd-followers. Have your say, if you must, with honesty and kindness – and only in the full knowledge of the facts.
Honesty as in answering a friend’s question not with the answer you know they want to hear but with truth. If this is going to cause hurt, then the addition of a good dollop of Kindness will help. Honesty is at the heart of true friendship.
Honesty as in not telling a lie or half-truth to dig yourself out of a hole. That’s selfish – you can and must cope with the consequences.
Kindness is wonderful, and only sometimes difficult. It’s an act of giving – a smile, a helping hand, moral support. You won’t necessarily receive anything in return, but that’s not the point – it is always enriching.
With Honesty and Kindness, you will play your part in making the world a better place.
Margaret – 86 years old
“Oh, one should not give advice!” “Work hard and keep at it”
Years of experience
Words of advice
Below are some of my other recent posts, whilst you’re here! …
Although I’m studying English at university, up until the middle of January and into February this year, I wasn’t reading that much. It is not that I didn’t enjoy reading, but I had lost my groove. Yes I was still reading, but I wasn’t in love with the process of turning the pages and immersing … Continue reading Favourite Reads So Far This Year
It is nearing the end of March and the sun is shining, Uni term is finishing, and the vaccine programme is reaching more and more people, meaning thinking about travel in the not-so-distant future is something to dream about again. Whilst I can’t wait to explore wider, further and deeper into different landscapes, cultures and … Continue reading Travel in 2021: how to make the most of your local area
In light of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would have a look at a love poem and draw on some of my thoughts from my own heartbreak through my love of literature. Here’s Love after Love by Derek Walcott: The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each … Continue reading Love After Love by Derek Walcott