By Juhi Bansal
Dear 16 year old me,
I speak from experience when I say that the other side of 30s is better than any other age I’ve lived before. I have more energy, experience, maturity and money than ever and it is all thanks to you.
Don’t worry about working too hard right now so you can relax later. It never gets better. When you achieve one goal, five more are already in sight. So, slow down. Breathe in. Loosen up and enjoy the ride.
It’s also absolutely ok if you don’t manage to work all summer to save up for MBA. Double up your student loan- you will be able to pay it off.
Don’t worry about acquiring too many things- infact, there will be time when you would go crazy shopping for labels- but it all settles down. You will learn to value quality over quantity. Subtle over loud. Experiences over possessions.
Don’t cry over unmaterialized crushes, you will find your true love eventually and make your dream home with him.
Don’t worry about breaking the glass ceiling- you will do yourself immensely proud even without shattering it.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. The grades, the projects, the pressure, small failures. Your life will be full of them. Concentrate on the wins- big and small and celebrate!
Don’t fret over people pulling you down. They will continue doing that all through your life whether you change things or not. It is always better to live life on your own terms.
You don’t have a passport yet but a million dreams in your eyes. Know that you will fulfil some of them bit by bit and add a zillion more to your bucket list. The world is a beautiful place and you will be lucky enough to witness some of its wonders.
Pay a lot of attention to your health. There’ll be a time soon when eating a whole pizza will send you on a guilt trip. Oh but enjoy that chocolate cake right now by all means.
Be kind to people including friends and family. You will be surprised to see not many people stick around till years later. Even with social media (you will know what that is in a few years) and thousands of friends very few will continue to be close.
Keep pursuing your love for reading. It will keep you company years later and get you through many a lonely evenings.
Don’t have rigid principles yet. You will see your horizons broaden as you go along and then the very things you rolled your eyes at will become synonymous to you.
On that note, know that there will be a time in your life when your happy space would mean Netflix marathons and a bottle of white. Did you just roll your eyes at me!
Don’t fret if you’re not the “It girl”. You will never make it to the popular girls’ clique. You may not like being an Outlier right now but years later you will be all about it.
Spend more time with your parents because very soon you may not have the privilege and you will kick yourself for the rest of your life for not doing it more when you could.
Know that life is not a bed of roses but it is an absolute delight most days. Your awkwardness will soon be replaced by quirkiness. The sometimes lack in confidence with a firm belief in yourself, the ambition to achieve a lot will continue but the fervour will be replaced by a sense of peace.
So, go on, live your life but don’t change. What you are today will define how you will turn out in the future. I am your future and it’s pretty fun to be here. So smile and be yourself.
35 Year old me
Outfit: Namrata Joshipura c/o The Fashion Edit
Earings: Simran Chabbra c/o My Envy Box
Bracelet: Zariin c/o My Envy Box
Location: The Project Cafe, Ahmedabad
Pics: Bhavya Rathore