21 things to tell my 21 year old self

by Lianne Walker

If you could turn back time, hop into Dr Who’s time machine and head back to the time when you were 21, what advice would you give yourself?

What would you say about the world as it is today, how you are, where your life has gone and is going?

A lot depends on your current age of course, if you are only 25 then there won’t be so much to say but for me, I am 30 years on and a great deal has happened in the intervening years, some planned, a great deal not but it has been a whirlwind journey so far and is continuing.

My daughter has just turned 21 so it got me thinking! I will be updating the list from time to time as I think of more things but I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas too.

So here goes!

Hello Me!

It is 2017 and the world has changed beyond all measure in the last 30 years or so.

When you are 21 you feel that life goes on for ever and that’s a great feeling; here I am 30(ish!) years on and I still feel as I did then; I have a few more creaking bones and a lot more experience but still plenty of hope and optimism.

So what do I have to say to you now? The most important thing is live every day for today, experience everything you can, time flies by.

  1. You are happily married and have a beautiful daughter who has just turned 21. You have finally taken the bull by the horns and now work for yourself on the thing you want to do. You had a lot of years of chasing the corporate life, feeling unfulfilled and stressed. It really isn’t worth it; you have so much to offer.
  2. Just now, at 21 you are a great person, who has dealt with lots already but you don’t see it that way. Believe in yourself, you are worth it. Your thoughtfulness and caring for others will stand you in good stead in years to come. Just let your hair down more, who cares what people think. Life is for living and make the most of it.
  3. Music and fashion go in cycles, what you’re wearing just now will be back in fashion again so hang on to your clothes. The Queen is still on the throne! Scotland is still as beautiful and I am still visiting our special place up North where we switch off and relax.
  4. You won’t become a Zoologist and follow David Attenborough around the world but that’s OK, turns out you prefer humans to animals. You will get your Bachelor of Science degree though. Go You!
  5. You will be endlessly surprised and often dumbfounded by people; the human condition and behaviour will always fascinate you.
  6. Go with your gut instinct, it is usually right. If you make a mistake, don’t stress about it. Learn from it and later in life you will be grateful you did.
  7. The man you are with just now will be the man you marry and that will be the best decision you ever make.
  8. You will be a great Mum.
  9. The fact that you like your own company and take part in quiet things does not make you weird – it’s called being introverted and it is actually very cool!
  10. You are going to have a rocky few years ahead with significant illness but you will amaze yourself and everyone around you. You will find courage you never believed you had. Keep being healthy now, it will help later.
  11. Keep up with your swimming, you will thank yourself later, I am getting back to it again now and wished I had many years ago.
  12. In a few years, something called the World Wide Web will take over our lives, you will hear about companies with odd names such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon. They will dominate our lives but only if we let them!
  13. You will also start to hear about “mobile phones”, which start off as huge bricks (literally!) but they get a lot smarter and smaller and everyone has them, from small children to grandparents; you can’t exist without being connected by them, sadly. Be sure to take time out, from time to time, you will feel better for it.
  14. Keep remembering how to write (I still love my fountain pens and notebooks) and have real conversations because you will find it’s all done electronically in 2016.
  15. Keep travelling, it will make you feel alive. I still feel blessed that I was brought up abroad among so many cultures; it really helped me stay grounded.
  16. Don’t ever make a bucket list, live each day for today. Experiences last for a lifetime, choose adventure over material things, you will be happy you did.
  17. Take care of you and your loved ones, you never know what is round the corner.
  18. Always be honest with people and do what is in your heart. That may mean having difficult conversations but you will know it is the right thing.
  19. You will never be a fashionista or care very much about material things but what you have you will cherish, so buy wisely and don’t get a credit card, they are nasty!
  20. Finally keep being you, love our planet and cherish our natural resources (we have made a real mess of that, sorry) and when the Olympics get to London in 2012 make sure you volunteer – it looked amazing!
  21. Have a great life and watch the pounds, they creep on very easily but are so very hard to get rid of!

Have a Blast!


What would your letter say? if you are happy to share them with the InJustOneDay tribe then add them below or get in touch via email hello[at]injustoneday.com.





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