We recently asked our club members ‘What would you tell your past self, if you could travel back in time’ and we were flooded with witty, fun and caring replies.
From ‘Don’t marry that guy, or the other’ and ‘Do more things you enjoy’ to ‘Don’t chase a pay check’, ‘Travel more’, ‘Invest smartly’ and ‘Don’t listen too much to what people say’, it felt a lot like Thelma sharing some of her sage advice with Louise.
Whether any of us would have actually listened to our older self is another matter (the words young, hard-headed and opinionated come to mind) but, as I learned this week, there is a relief in acknowledging where things have gone wrong and letting go of any anxiety about our past choices.
Here is a breakdown of the answers and some sage advice for whoever is grownup enough to listen:
Manage relationships better:
42% of the answers were about not getting married at 19 to that man, “or the other”.
- Frances: ‘Don’t go out with that guy, or move in with the other one or marry the one you married, except then I wouldn’t have my awesome kid.’
- Bonnie: ‘Choose the other fella.’
- Kelly: ‘Walk past a few people and never ever look back!’
- Cassandra: ‘Do not settle.’
- Roberta: ‘Do not get married.’
- Elaine: ‘Run away fast from charming, charismatic, good-looking men! They do NOT make good marriage partners!’
- Linda: ‘Marry someone who shares the same values.’
- Chris B: ‘Don’t get married at 19!’
- Chris P: ‘Don’t get married at 18!
- Marylou: ‘Don’t marry your high school sweetheart.’
- Kelly-Jo: ‘Study hard become that doctor/lawyer you hoped to be, don’t marry at 18, mother at 19. My studies, career never happened. If I only knew then what I know now.’
Confidence and self-improvement:
34% wanted to tell their younger self to be more confident, stop worrying about what people say and do more things that they enjoy.
- Susan: ‘Trust in yourself sooner. Never doubt your power.’
- Maria: ‘Let go of fear. Be brave and do the things you want to do without worry.’
- Jo: ‘Take more risks. Move abroad.’
- June: ‘What took you so long to believe in yourself?!’
- Jewel: ‘You are beautiful. Thanks to my mum, I never thought I was.’
- Vickey: ‘Don’t work so hard, enjoy your youth. Children grow up so fast, enjoy every moment.’
- Gaby: ‘Have more self-esteem and confidence!’
- Joyce: ‘Don't ever drink or use drugs and finish what you begin (like college). And remember that running from something doesn't mean that it's necessarily over (because it tends to run with you). Be responsible, have integrity, keep your commitments and be wise with money. Remember that other people have feelings, too, so be kind and thoughtful. Take that solo world trip you were planning to take at 18 rather than falling for the wrong guy who drank your hard-earned savings away. Don't get married to the wrong guy just because you think that you have to get married before you turn 30. You'll be happier if you do all this, although you turned out to be pretty lovable the way you are. But there will also be fewer messes to clean up.’
- Sherlee: ‘Dance, don’t sit and wait on the side lines!’
- Kirsty: ‘Don't chase a pay check. Instead find your passion and spend time developing the skills that will allow you to do something you love.’
- Eithne: ‘I think the key is to just be happy with whatever you choose. Women can be far too critical of each other; even more so than men at times. Follow your heart, I say.’
- Sharon: ‘Don't get drawn into petty everyday triviality and don't worry about what other people think.’
- Anne: ‘Worry a lot less about what people think. Do what you love to do much more and stop putting other people first.’
- Chrissie: ‘Do more! Life is more about experiences and not possessions.’
Make smart investments early in life:
13% would’ve liked to invest more. From loo roll, to Amazon and even Pfizer, to that beach hut in Hawaii, we had some good ideas for an investment portfolio.
- Nancy: ‘Always have a good reserve of toilet paper in hand. World can go crazy anytime and toilet paper is the first thing to go!’
- Tami: ‘Invest in real estate.’
- Ana: ‘…and in Pfizer.’
- Eva: ‘Buy that condo in South Miami beach for $19,990.’
- Patricia: ‘Move out of the US.’
- Jeanie: ‘When this thing called Amazon gets started buy all the stocks you can.’
- Barbara: ‘Move to Hawaii and open a surf shop.’
- Ann: ‘Live abroad and learn languages. Never waste a minute watching TV.’
- Melanie: ‘Persevere trying to work out how to buy £1000 worth of bitcoin in 2012.’
Stay fit, but never diet:
6% would’ve liked to stay fit and do more exercise
- Lis: ‘Get and stay fit – not to look good – but to stay healthy enough to travel independently.’
And just 5% wished they travelled more and experienced living in another country in their youth.
- Kelly: ‘Travel first. You may not be able to when you’re older. Thanks Covid.’
- Karen: ‘Go everywhere!! Before 2020!!!’
- Susie: ‘Go to Patagonia earlier in your life and walk all the amazing hikes that are there. In fact hike as much as possible. No better way to see the world.’
What a wise bunch we are. Must be all that travel!
Here’s to the smart women we have become, to the adventures we have had and the future us that we are looking at!
What would you say to your past self, if you could go back in time?