Advice to My Younger Self

What advice would you give to your younger self? I decided to pick one of the toughest years of my life: senior year of high school at 17, and share the things I wish I knew at that point in time.

Dear 17 year old Aileen,

You’ve made it to senior year of high school… I know it’s been a tough year for you. You’ve been pushed so hard in academics and the IB program that you’ve lost motivation to wake up in the mornings. You dread waking up—your body is so tired that even when you want to go to school, you physically can’t get up for it. So you get into trouble. A lot of trouble AND embarrassment, because you’ll show up during 3rd or 4th period so often that the authorities threaten to put you in home school and your classmates have a running joke of where you might be when you’re not in class. All you’re trying to do is NOT fail Spanish so you can FINALLY graduate.

Well, here’s my advice for you:

  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I know you feel like a failure because you’re trying to live up to such high standards. You want to be the perfect student, you want to be successful, but this year has come crumbling down on you. It’s okay. Be as kind and gentle with yourself as possible. Be proud of how far you’ve come and grateful for all the good things you have in your life. Focus on the good instead of the bad.
  2. You don’t have to fit into the system. Carve your own path and hold on to your big dreams. There are more paths to success than you realize at the moment.. You might not understand your path right now, but in a few years everything will make so much more sense. Steve Jobs said, “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
  3. Get to know yourself. Embrace and appreciate who you are: explore what you’re interested in, figure out what you like/don’t like, and learn your strengths & weaknesses. Getting to know yourself will help build self confidence and self love. Self love is something you’re not aware of yet, but when you finally discover it, it will change your life.
  4. Stand up for yourself. Be more open and honest in communicating what you feel and what you want. No one is going to understand you if you keep quiet to yourself.
  5. Don’t be so shy or scared to try the things you’re interested in (like dancing, singing, acting)—just go for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying.
  6. Trust your intuition instead of asking everyone around you about what they think. I know you like to blame your indecisiveness on being a Libra, but you have more in you than you think you do. Learn to trust yourself.
  7. If you want to make a friend, be a friend. Don’t just sit around awkwardly waiting for someone to come talk to you. Make the effort and reach out to someone first. Life is better in good company.
  8. Three words: It. Gets. Better. Trust me. Just be patient, keep doing your best and know that your best days have yet to come.

Sending you lots of love,

Hope you enjoy these throwback photos and the advice I shared. Man, if only 17 year old Aileen would know what she'd be doing about ten years later… she would be MIND. BLOWN. 😹 Love you all so much. THANK YOU for being a part of this magical journey.

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