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  • staceyjduffy

On the inside looking out...

My cousin asked me a question last week. ''Stace, if you could go back and give your 20 year old self three pieces of advice, what would they be?'' Hmmmm, I had to think about it. The three things I said were;


  1. YES YOU CAN!

  2. Who cares what they think?

  3. You're beautiful.

Bless me!


I posed the same question to a host of other people and as it turns out, most of us wish that our younger selves knew that they were beautiful/enough and nearly all of us wish we didn't care what other people thought of us. In our twenties, we are still under construction. Building ourselves and deciding who we want to be. Within a cocktail of bravado and insecurity we decide on the first adult version of ourselves. Like prisoners in Plato's cave, our sense of self is solely extrinsic. We rely on our experience - our senses and we look upon others to see how they perceive us. I didn't believe that I was beautiful until about two years ago. Poor twenties-me wasted her tiny figure, fabulous legs and perky boobs on a self who (fixed on the outward approvals and competing with Kate Moss and the like), COULD NOT SEE IT. Men, were often chasing careers, degrees and cars to feel enough, like media portrays the happy, healthy, wealthy man. Ahhh yes, the twenties....on the inside, looking out.


After further review of the responses, I found all the usual suspects. Study harder, save money, travel the globe, choose better lovers and just have fun! These all standing as proof of the notion that hindsight is 20/20. We often look back in longing or regret. Had we done all of these things that our wiser self propounds, would we be who we are now? The usual rebuttal being ''I would just be better off'' or, ''I would have fewer regrets.'' Surely the extra experiences, education, money and 'perfect' partners would have sculpted us into a different person all together? I can't imagine that anyone is so self-loathing or unhappy that they would wish it all away.


Is this what leads to destination happiness? The feeling that something, somewhere or someone else will make us happier. The grass always looks greener. I'm guilty of it too. But as the gap between now and my twenties augments, I'm learning that grass is resilient and, -when watered- will return to a lush green. That said, had I bought fewer bags and shoes, had less fun, and saved that money, the start of my 'adult' life would have been quite different.


I always wonder, would someone who did study hard and travelled the world while saving and investing wisely, look back and tell their younger self to be more reckless and date the bad boy/crazy girl?


There is no way to tell which way is the right way. Is there a right way? I suppose that's why the gurus and authors say we should live in the present. The shoulda, woulda, coulda riddle is inextricable and to linger there is choosing torment. I propose that the twenties should be viewed as a rite of passage. Mistakes, victories, experiences both good and bad that mould us into exactly who we are meant be. I believe that we chose this incarnation and even if you could wipe the slate clean and have a 'do over', we would have to learn the same lessons - differently.


My twenties swung between fabulous and a horror show, yet still, I look back with a fondness. We can't go back. So what do we do? View our twenties as a wild and mortifying lesson and now as our older, wiser selves, live in the moment and get rid of the looking glass. Go in! That's where the answers are. I would say the same to those in their twenties...but I wouldn't have listened anyway. šŸ˜‰


Some 'pearlers' I received from people.

  • ''Have more sex - gain experience.''šŸ˜Ž Yeeesss Maaaaann!

  • ''Invest in Apple, Bitcoin and Tesla.'' šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ‘Œ If only.

  • ''Break up with Rob.'' šŸ¤£šŸ¤£šŸ˜® Shame, poor Rob.

Editor: Jenney Tart Heslop-Spencer

Images: Shutterstock




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