Things I Would Tell My Younger Self – I

Hello, my beautiful friends. How are you this fine Saturday morning? It’s been a minute since I wrote anything of this nature – or anything at all, over here. I’ve been meaning to. Trust me when I say that I have. But haven’t gotten around to it and I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I saw a similar post while browsing and thought it would be a nice series to share. I am adding an “I” to this because as I sit to write the draft the night before, I know that I haven’t gotten everything covered.

I want to preface by saying that for most of my adult life, I’ve not experienced two emotions/feelings: regret and jealousy. Even if I have, they’ve probably been in passing as I don’t have any memory of it. So, when I look back at these posts say a few years from now, I hope I look back with the same outlook (or something better) than I what I possess. I write this with hopes to reminisce and not regret.

NB: TW on suicide, self-harm and eating disorders.

School/studying gets easier

I was someone who loved school, especially the last 4-5 years of school. This wasn’t because I was good with my studies. I’ve always been an average student, I didn’t fail exams but it’s not as though I passed with flying colours either. I was lucky to come from a home that didn’t pressure me into studies and granted autonomy over the number of hours I studied. This also taught me to take responsibility for my own actions as I grew older. But I loved school because of friends – I was an extroverted kid! -, the extracurricular activities and because we were a small school (then, in comparison to other girls’ schools) everyone knew, everyone. Of course, this was when my social anxiety wasn’t bad, haha. However, the academic side of the school wasn’t great and as I said, I was average. During my A/Level years, I didn’t go for any classes because I had excellent teachers, which meant I had more time to do other things and even a part-time job. University on the other hand was wildly different. For the first time, we were allowed to choose the subjects (to some extent) we wanted to study. A/Levels offered this, yes, but it wasn’t the same. Fast forward almost a decade after graduating, I now opt to learn new things, new skills and voluntarily enrol myself in academic programmes. It’s wild, kid. It really is.

Counting to 10 or keeping quiet when you are angry really helps

My teenage years were turbulent. From punk rock/alternative music to mild self-harm and eating disorder ‘inspired’ behaviour, it was a rollercoaster. This was also when we had a lot of ‘noise’ at home when my Father was around so you could say that I wasn’t doing well. My first few attempts at suicide took place during that 14-17 age bracket. I was a loud kid. I would yell and often cry when I was angry. My understanding of mental health and the available resources wasn’t what I have with me today and Googling for help wasn’t big then. Over time though, with age, experience and seeing more things, I have calmed down. I wouldn’t really consider myself ‘loud’ anymore – I hope – and knowing when to seek help when it gets overwhelming is a real game-changer. I still cry and can cry on cue if needed (real skillz) but since my mid-20s I’ve been on medication for my anxiety and I handle things, situations and myself better. Of course, spending more time with myself, in nature, working out, yoga has also contributed to this.

Playing sports might not happen but I will become physically more active

I never played sports during school. I often tell this to people because my Mum was and still is super sporty. I played badminton for a few months and chess for a few years when I was younger. But now, I teach yoga and Pilates. Of all of the scenarios I’ve imagined, this was never one!

You can’t always predict and prevent everything that will happen

I was recently explaining to some friends how prepared I am with the things I carry. As a kid (and maybe occasionally as an adult), I would close my eyes and walk around in the unlikely event I was to lose my vision. Or write/brush my teeth with my left hand. The latter can be painful if you are in a hurry. Even in all relationships, I like to imagine bizarre situations that would (never) happen so if it did I will be prepared and not freak out. I still do this, don’t get me wrong. I still like to read the plot of a film before watching so I know what to prepare myself for. This does really calm me down and keep my anxiety at bay. But as life may have it, the scenarios you play out in your head don’t always turn out the way they do because you are not always in control. It is what it is and you learn to accept it for it.

It’s okay to slow down

One of my go-to sayings in my late teenage years and even in my early 20s was, “an idle mind is a devil’s workshop.” This meant I would pack my to-do list with 800 things I cannot complete so when I go to bed I would be exhausted and pass out. I didn’t want to deal with my thoughts, with everything that was going in my little head as escaping it was more convenient. I am still exhausted when I go to bed, but I’ve slowed down. A lot. The combination of the pandemic and prescription medication has really turned the tables for me and sometimes, not doing anything is everything.

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