Home / The Journey / Journal / A small piece of (belated) advice

Today is the first day of 2022, the first day of #bloganuary, and today’s prompt is “What advice would you give to your teenage self?”

Currently I am 35 years old. So, it’s been quite a while since I met my teenage self! I can’t say I’d thought much about what advice I’d give her until now, because truly, my advice up until recently would’ve been to do differently. Teenage Anna was, at times, a bit of a nightmare. She was struggling with the divorce of her parents (although she would never have admitted to that), she dropped out of school young, left home as a young teen, and dated a string of mostly terrible choices that led further down the rabbit hole into questionable life choices.

Today, my life is pretty wonderful. I am currently living in Mexico and seeing in the new year from my beautiful house with amazing views, a dip in the ocean, glorious sunshine, amazing food, a wonderful partner, and the job of my dreams. There’s nothing in this moment I would change about where I am, or how I got here.

When kids ask me now, my advice is generic – to stay in school, listen to your parents, to know that it gets easier and being a teenager sucks a whole lot of the time.

But would I really advise that to my teenage self? I don’t think so

It was the challenges that taught me resiliency I needed to go onwards towards great things. Getting so lost taught me how to get myself found again all on my own. It was the hardest parts of my teenage years that led to the absolute best parts of my adult life.

Had I stuck at school I certainly would’ve gotten good grades and landed into a good job. Perhaps I would’ve met a nice guy and gotten married, had a family. My life would be a completely different place right now, and I don’t necessarily think it would be for the better.

Instead I’ve had adventures, I’ve seen the world, travelled 40 countries, spanned more fascinating and rewarding careers than I can count on one hand, made a true difference in peoples lives, and grown into the most interesting and fulfilled version of myself.

I still ended up with a good education, job of my dreams, and a life filled with love and adventure. I just took a much less traditional path to get there.

So knowing what I know now about how my life turned out, my advice would be to just keep going. Keep being brave, making choices even if they aren’t the usual ones, keep going with what feels good & right, and always choosing kindness. You will get to where you need in the end, it’s just a bit of a rocky path right now.

But I promise you teenage Anna, everything all gets so much better – more so than your wildest dreams.

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