Olympian Glynis Nunn has penned a letter to her younger self, detailing how to navigate the life that has followed.
I wondered what it would be like to write a letter to my younger self. I found it quite empowering.
I don’t even think it is about who reads the letter, it is about actually writing it.
I found it quite confronting and also cathartic.
Don’t let the past control your present. Make sure that you have a way forward and don’t let anyone control you or what you do.
To my younger self:
Dear Mini Me,
I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum but you will have quite a life ahead of you. You will do things you can’t even imagine right now.
I write this letter to you from my office at home as the whole world has gone crazy.
There is a virus COVID-19 which started in Wuhan, China, that has literally spread throughout the world. It has shut down countries and economies.
The more people who are exposed, the more it takes hold and the more we realise how little we know about the human race.
That said, please take what’s useful from this advice and throw the rest away. Most of all know that in your 60th year things will happen so be prepared. You have a unique journey.
BTW, if you don’t already know, you are stubborn and it is quite possible that you may not listen to this advice. So, for what it is worth, here I go.
IT is the moments when you are feeling uncomfortable that you will learn the most. Don’t let yourself get too comfortable.
You are going to experience some amazing things in your life. Stay humble through it all. You will have some great mentors so listen to them all and learn.
The little schoolgirl that you are – know you are incredible. You will be naughty but that will vanish (thank goodness) – this naughtiness will teach you lessons.
Continue to go out and play with the boys – it will make you tough and resilient. You were never meant to play with “Barbies”.
Learn to inspire yourself – everyone is busy, so inspire, be a role model and chase your dreams (oh, and some dreams will come true and others won’t, but it will be what you learn along the way that is special). Remember those ‘first stars’ in the sky you used to wish on, that is special. You will make mistakes often, but you will learn from them.
You have had a great childhood so far – I know you love the farm and all the animals. It is a special place so treasure it.
Your parents do so much to help you to chase your dreams of running on the world stage – mowing training tracks on the farm, building you long jump pits and making high jump mats. Know that you will end up living on a small farm yourself, so your childhood love of the open air will stay with you.
You will always strive to be like your sister’s first Phys. education teacher. Never change your mind. You will become a teacher and inspire others but later on, your path will change many times.
You will always remain involved in sport and education. It is your passion, understanding and skill. Be open and innovative, try new things and grow.
Be different – it is OK.
DREAM big – you always will, and it is what you are supposed to do when you are young. You will achieve those big dreams but don’t ever take them for granted.
Always work hard because nothing comes easy. There will be times when you think life isn’t fair but this feeling will pass. You will figure it out.
Learn from what happens in your life. Some things won’t be great – but learn to let it go.
Move on and be confident that down the road things will work out because they will. The road might be a bit of a struggle but you always give things a red hot go.
I tell you one thing – learn to STOP and pause and instead of trying to make things happen. Just take a moment. You always want to be a “bull at a gate”.
Learn to take a breather every now and again and don’t feel guilty about it. You don’t know it yet, but there will be a time in your life when you hit a wall emotionally.
You will also have some health issues later in life. Listen to your body before it is too late. Work will always be there. It’s life that will pass you by if you don’t take care.
Learn to value your own voice. You tend to withdraw when confronted. You need to speak up and hold on tight to your values.
It is part of your DNA to be comfortable about feeling uncomfortable, especially when it comes to work, taking risks and exercise. Maybe if you doubt yourself, stop and ask yourself a few questions. What is the worst thing that can happen? And then what? And then what? Is it safe?
AND, it is OK to say “NO” sometimes. There will be people who will take advantage of your kindness and willingness to please. It is OK if you aren’t able to do things and be friends with everyone.
Travel – you will be given some great opportunities to travel all over the world. Mum and Dad started this journey for you when you were 16 – follow it and never stop. Explore and meet new people.
THERE will be few special people in your life. All I can say is make every minute, hour and day that you are with them count. They will teach you much about life and about yourself. Be open to new ways of seeing things. It might make your vision clearer.
You will always strive and push yourself to be the best you can possibly be. In this journey don’t forget family. Your mum in particular will be a tower of strength and in return you MUST always be there for her. She will need you.
Always be kind and never forget to smile. You will be given a nickname when you are 14 which is “Smiley” because your smile is infectious and is a mood changer. Another nickname when you are older is “Wally”. The name speaks for itself – you have a tendency to do silly things.
Life and relationships aren’t as simple as you think they are. Hold off getting serious at school and concentrate on what you love to do – I know you will.
Ask yourself questions about your relationships and whether it is good for you. You will have to learn to be selfish at times.
Some of the friendships that you make at school will be lifelong – don’t take them for granted.
Oh, and on the romance side again – there will be special relationships. You will have heartache but it is a journey and the relationships will take you to destinations that will give real meaning to your life and what you achieve. You will learn that painful relationships make you understand that only you can make yourself happy.
YOU know what? Most of all, don’t be afraid to be different. Hold your head up high as you resist pressure to conform to what is expected of you. This was something I lost along the way.
You see, Mum and Dad are very proud of who you have become and what you have achieved. They will be there for you every day of your life.
I too have found this to be true. As a parent know you learnt love from your parents – your children will be your world. I know that now. You will have two wonderful children and they will make you extremely proud.
Life is not meant to be perfect – be happy with all the things you have and do what is right for you. Just be real.
Oh, and one last thing. Learn that when you are wrong, admit it. When you are right, be quiet.
I have probably said too much. Part of what makes life so special is that we never know what is coming up next and I certainly don’t want to spoil that mystery. So, Mini me, just know that in your life you will do some special things and I hope you learn to love yourself as there are times when I know you find it hard. You have to live with yourself for a long time. Things happen for a reason, even though you mightn’t figure it out at that particular time.
All the best.
Your older self
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