What Advice Would You Give Your Past Self?

Imagine you could communicate with a younger version of yourself. What age would you choose, and what advice would you give you past self?

After dealing with the pandemic for nearly a year, it might be tempting to give a little heads up to yourself as you are going in to lockdown. Would you suggest stocking up on toilet paper? Get used to wearing a mask? Hug your loved ones while you can?

On the other hand, an older, and presumably wiser, you might talk to  a teenage version of yourself. Would you suggest learning a particular skill? Maybe having a certain experience? Or perhaps avoiding a certain experience?

Alternately, you might have something to say to you as you enter the workforce. Or some advice on your wedding day. Or when your child is about to be born.

What age would you choose, and what would you say?

Finally, is there anything that your present self can learn from what you would like to tell your younger self?

Related questions: What was the best time in your life? What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever learned? Past, present, or future? What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

6 thoughts on “What Advice Would You Give Your Past Self?”

  1. Here are the things I would advise myself at around age 20 to begin earlier in life:
    – Get good, professional help for my Anxiety, Depression, and OCD.
    – Get a second opinion after your first therapist laughed at you for bringing up Season Affective Disorder as a problem you were encountering. By all means, don’t wait another decade or so before seeking help again.
    – Become a vocal advocate for and a storyteller regarding dealing with Anxiety, Depression, and OCD.
    – Learn to meditate.
    – Learn the art and science of heirloom gardening.
    – Publicly share the prospects of justice you know are possible (e.g. ending homelessness is within our reach).
    – Learn the art and science of blogging when it becomes a thing. Based on capacity, blog about the following topics: 1) mental health; 2) heirloom gardening; 3) climate change, 4) ending homelessness.
    – Be comfortable with your atheism.
    – Embrace your inner cheerleader.
    – Work out consistently.
    – Michael, get rid of your puffy hairdo and buzz your head the way you do now!

    1. I would tell my teenage self how important school is & not to smoke
      Just because you can quit school & smoke with parents approval don’t do it.

  2. I think the advice to myself would be a simple one: be comfortable with who you are, and be willing to accept others for who they are (even if that can be painful at times).

    But I’ve felt that way for a long time, so I can’t really think of a particular time in my life where I needed to hear this advice. Maybe high school?

  3. I would tell my teenage self to care more about other people, to try to put myself in their shoes and see things through their eyes before saying and doing things…basically be less narcissistic.

    Full disclosure, despite much improvement, I tell my current self the same thing…

  4. Interesting. All of the comments so far suggest something they would tell their teenage (up to 20-year-old) self. I guess that makes sense — those are the years when you are trying to figure everything out, and deciding who you are ultimately going to be.

    I guess that is a good reminder to treat current teens with a little more understanding. If they are anything like us, they could use a little advice and guidance right about now.

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