OFF MY CHEST: Letter to my 18-year-old self

Thursday August 30 2018

Life will not go according to plan. Learn to embrace the changes as they come. They will never stop. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH

Life will not go according to plan. Learn to embrace the changes as they come. They will never stop. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH 

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Dear 18-year-old me,

I am writing to you at 22, full of advice from experiences that will happen to you in the next four years. Brace yourself, and mostly, follow it. You will surely need it along the way. They are in no specific order.

Forgive yourself. I know you have struggled with this through high school, and girl, are you about to struggle through the university. Guilt is toxic, so let it go love. Forgive yourself for not knowing what you did not know before you learned it. Making peace with yourself will not only help you appreciate yourself better, it will help you forgive others too.


Baby girl, speak up. Stop letting other people control you. You have done this through high school, and you do not need to do it anymore. Learn to say no; it is a full answer by itself. Let someone know that they are making you angry or uncomfortable. Stand up for yourself.

Take care of yourself first; of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. This is perhaps the most important point, because you will struggle with self-love. You will keep thinking that putting others’ needs before yours will be the right thing to do morally, but don’t. This will severely drain you. Eat healthy, exercise, journal, have a self-care day each week. Again, say no girl. You do not need to explain yourself to others. It will go a long way for you.

Baby girl, this will crush you, but you will not pursue that Interior Design course you have dreamed of doing all your life. You will cry and you will be lost, but you know what? You will not be so lost. It is all for a reason. Take up that Communication course with positivity and be the best at it. On that note, continue writing. You are about to take that up professionally.


Establish genuine friendships. Man, are you about to lose many of the acquaintances you call besties now. But you know what? You win some, you lose some. It’s life. This will teach you my next important point to you. Stop expecting. Be it returned favours from people, or the same treatment you gave them. They will disappoint you honey. Each and every one of them. Do everything only from the goodness of your heart.

Build your relationship with God. You may stray from this a little bit, so learn to rely on him with all you have. Talk to him Karen; whenever you are happy, sad, anxious or depressed. He always listens, and most importantly, He will always accept you for who you are.

Life will not go according to plan. Learn to embrace the changes as they come. They will never stop.

Lastly, learn to appreciate yourself. Read out affirmations out loud. Your happiness will rely on others. You will seek love, comfort and understanding from everyone else, and as I said, you will be disappointed. This will lead to you feeling lonely and unloved. So, discover yourself. You will learn a lot about yourself.

Remember, you are great. You are wonderful. You are blessed. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. You are an amazing friend. You are loved. Always keep positivity within you. Whenever you will go through a tough time, remember that ‘this too shall pass’. The world is at your feet baby girl. You got this.


Your 22-year-self


Off My Chest is an open forum for anyone who wants to share their story or write letters they have always wanted to write.