This is a letter to my younger self as I remember it. At 8 years old, I was jamming to Avril Lavigne’s song “Complicated” on the radio and passionately looking for a way to download that song into my black-and-white-screen phone. I was also thinking: “Damn, Avril Lavigne has got everything, a successful career, and everything figured out. I’m gonna be just like her at 25! I mean, it’d not that hard right?”

Man, I was so wrong.

Reality is often harsher than what we pictured. Innocently, I thought life will always go as I had planned, my loved ones will never leave, and I can easily follow my dreams without having to work hard. It’ll be like sprinkling a little magic dust and voilà! I’m having a perfect life! Well, that’s a bubble soon to be popped. No one on earth has the “perfect life”. Everybody has their own problems, even the wealthiest person in the world or the people living in the Bahamas.

A letter to my younger self

Dear 8-year-old me,

I have to be honest, this life hasn’t been kind to you. But that fact is going to make you tougher than anything or anybody else in the world. You have something in you that not many people have.

You have a flame, a relentless spirit, a purpose to fulfill, and a drive to strive for the best in this life. All of that, with a little touch of courage and you’ll achieve things beyond your imagination. Do not, EVER, let that flame die! There will be so many people who want to douse your flame. That’s okay, but always reignite it and stand back up!

Try everything

No, I don’t mean drugs. You better not do that, kid! I believe you wanted to become a pilot, fly an airplane across the world and travel to countries you can’t even pronounce. So go do it! Go to a science centre, ask if you could try out one of their flight simulators, and see how it feels. And then try some more other things, like music, reading, writing, dancing, just anything at all. You’ll never know when you’re going to find your true passion.

And when you do, spend every single minute of your life on that. Give it 110% every single day! Be obsessed with it!

Don’t be afraid of failing at it, just as long as you gave it your best, that’s all that matters. You will thank yourself for that in the future! But I have to tell you this hard truth, it is not going to be easy at all.

An easy life is not a good life

There will be times that you tried so f*cking hard, just to get knocked downhill and be forced to start all over again. Trust me, it feels like you’re literally in hell.

But get back up! Fight through the pain, the tears, and the discomfort.

Because when you finally reach the top of the hill, you’ll feel so damn proud of yourself that words don’t even do it justice. And then you’ll say to yourself: It was all worth it

In the meantime, focus on yourself.

Forget about everybody else. Forget about how successful or how pretty Avril Lavigne is. Hold yourself to certain standards. Don’t settle for anything lesser than that.

Throughout your life, there will be a lot of people who will give you tons of sh*t just because you’re not doing it their way. DON’T YOU DARE LISTEN TO THEM!

You are meant to stand out. Be weird, be awkward, and do dumb things, because who cares!? And nobody cares!

Stop looking at the time, be present.

Be sure to be in the moment as much as you can.

I know you struggle with this a lot because you’re constantly worrying about your future and how to better it.

Don’t get me wrong, because that is a good thing, but that can sometimes rob you of some of the best memories you can ever make.

Be kind to yourself

Lastly, cut yourself a little slack. Don’t beat yourself up too much. It is okay to take time off and play that video game sometimes. Spend some time with your family and friends, walk your dogs, talk to them and try to understand them a little bit more. Life is not just all work and no play, you have to enjoy the climb up the hill as well.

There is so much to experience, so much to enjoy, so many emotions to feel, so many ups and downs, so many mistakes to be made, so many lessons to be learned, all of which makes this life worth living. To be honest, I am far from how you thought I would be, but well, that’s life innit? So take risks, enjoy life, smile, laugh, travel, and see the world. Above all, follow your heart, listen to that voice inside and do what you want to do, because life is too short not to do that!

Good luck kid!

You at 22 years old.