I interpreted this prompt pretty loosely, and wrote an advice letter to my younger self (think late teenage years to early adulthood):
Dear Apple (that’s your nickname these days, in a country where few people can pronounce your actual name),
I am trying to become the person you needed most when you were younger. With this in mind, here are some thoughts about your life I thought I would share with you.
1) Don’t worry too much about fulfilling all your life’s ambitions. You will get your fill of adventures, you will even live abroad for a year, on sabbatical. You’ll explore South East Asia and learn so much about yourself and the world at the same time.
2) Focus on those things which make you truly happy. Some people around you are already and always saying “don’t listen to what other’s think”, but that can sometimes feel vague, or seem impossible- as if not caring about other’s opinions about you is an insurmountable barrier. I have learnt instead, to zone-in on what feels good to me, and maximizing the time I can spend doing those things. I highly recommend it. The more I do that, the less conflicted I feel in making the choice between things which brings me joy, and that which is expected of me. Maybe the better piece of advice then, is practice making choices exempt from panic stricken considerations for the future. Trust that the future will figure itself out (and because if it doesn’t, best you were doing something that brought you joy, then something which helped you achieve moderate levels of success approval.)
3) More specifically, trust in the future. Thigns do really figure themselves out. You are much happier now then you were in your early 20s but your early 20s were such an amazing time of growth and self-discovery. I imagine something similar will also happen between your late 20’s and late 30’s. You have dreams which will be fulfilled, some you will let go of because they will have evolved towards something else. Some dreams will not come to fruition but you will wish they did. Yet, if your life continues in the way it has been going, it will always be an amazing adventure. You rarely fail to bite fully into the wonder of life, and this is one of your most precious possessions, don’t loose that spark. And, those times when you are just letting life pass you by, are often moments of hardship where you needed to focus on a particular issue at hand anyway. And, that represents an adventure in and of itself, all be it less exciting then, for example, travelling for a year with little responsibilities. Never forget that your hardships, looking back often seem like amazing moments of growth in their own right.
Finally, I wish you knew how much love t here is in your future. It’s breath taking. So many people love you exactly for who you are, now that you are focused on being who you truly are without apology or concealment. Turns out your are compassionate and funny and that your friends particularly seek out your advice on matters of relationships because you are good at that too. I can’t say it enough, you are loved, you are loved, you are loved. And, things turn out to be pretty amazing. Just trust that, and carry on.