Dear Younger Me,
I don’t know at what point in your life this letter finds you but I hope you are well. There are so many things that have happened to me, to you that I thought you should know. Some of it may not be pleasant to hear but I will tell you anyway.
Love, what better place to start. I wish I could tell you that this will be an easy journey for you. I wish I could tell you that your heart will never be broken and that you will have the perfect love experience. Unfortunately, this is the one lesson that you will learn for the rest of your life. Your heart will be broken a couple of times and you too will break a couple of hearts which will break your heart even more.
Please learn from your heartbreaks. They will not only teach you something about other people but more importantly something about you that you would never have learnt any other way. Be careful not to keep your heart too guarded in fear that it might be broken, that you miss a chance to experience real love. You will experience real love but not before you experience real heartache.
You trust easily and always see the best in people. This will get you many friends who will make your life comfortable and bearable. You will also meet people who will pretend to be your friends only to take advantage of you. They will abuse your trust and will take you for granted. Yes the world has such people. Never second guess goodwill. Do your best and be on your way. I’m sure grandma has already told you to never stop doing good?
Always be kind. Never be too busy to stop and give someone else a hand. You may never get rewarded for it but it will keep your heart warm and alive. Be careful what you say to others. You can never undo the damage of a careless word. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Even the Bible tells you that a foolish person is considered wise when they keep quiet.
Give without expecting anything in return. You will soon learn that in many occasions you will only have enough for yourself. Let that not stop you from giving. Like kindness, you may never see the fruit of your giving but give anyway. Hoarding will only make your heart cold so be generous not only with your money but also with your time.
I know mum keeps telling you to work hard so that you can be successful and make money to buy whatever you want. Sadly it doesn’t always work like that. You will work hard for many years with little or no pay at all. That does not mean you are not successful. Learn to measure your success in terms of milestones. Money is not the true measure of success. You may want to read that last line again.
When given a task whether big or small, do it to the best of your ability. Whatever you set your mind to do give it your all. Be careful not to do anything for the accolades. Applause is good but it can be deceiving; if you get used to it, it will soon become a crutch. When you give your all whether anyone notices or not you will be happy with yourself and that surpasses any compliment anyone else will ever give you.
Failure and disappointment. Oh boy, this will be a difficult one. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, to fail or even try more than once! Failure is painful and you will experience it more times than you would want to. Don’t let it keep you down. Get up and try again. Learn to embrace disappointments as a part of life. Not everything will always go your way.
You will apply for job positions that you think you are best suited for and not make the cut. You will start relationships that will look hopeful only to end painfully. You will expect your friends and family to support you in a difficult time only to be disappointed. Life itself will slap you with a fair share of disappointments like death and disease. When this happens remember I told you “it’s not the end, a better day will come”. Never give up
Never take credit for someone else’s work. Give credit where it’s due. Don’t miss an opportunity to tell someone when they do something good. Empower others by teaching them to do what you have already learnt. Never hide knowledge from someone else. Show them to do it until they can do it on their own.
If you forget anything that I tell you please remember this; never turn a blind eye to injustice. Teach yourself to stand up for the truth no matter the cost. Speak out if it’s all you can do, it’s more than enough. Even if you find yourself alone, speak out against any form of injustice. As a country, we are currently paying the heavy price of keeping quiet and looking the other way. We allowed our own selfishness to keep us from speaking out against selfishness of others. You can change that. You can refuse to hide your head in the sand, you can choose to be unpopular and uncool. Whatever it takes, do not let corruption become normal to you.
Many lives including your own depend on your ability to stand up for what is right. Don’t be quiet dear Younger Me. Don’t be quiet.
Edited by Wanjiku Kimaru