Advice to my younger self

May 31, 2019 | 14 comments |

 On social media and elsewhere recently, many people are giving advice to their younger selves.

Some posts are short and pithy (no major accomplishment without significant “butt hurt” is an especially topical one for writers!), but others are longer and thoughtful reflections about the meaning of life.

Long or short, they’ve made me think about what I’d tell my younger self—that girl in her late teens who was still searching for who she was and what she wanted to be.


Dear younger Jen,

Right now, you can wear and look good in almost anything. Experiment, have fun, and definitely buy that bikini, as long as you remember a hat and sunscreen, too.  

Ditch all the black clothing, though. You think it makes you look grown-up and sophisticated, but it’s much too harsh for your skin tone. Ditto black eyeliner. Pandas are cute, but you don’t want to look like one.  

Your hair looks much better than you think it does, but that red dye job you want is a mistake you’ll spend years correcting.

Mother knows best

Listen and ask questions about your mother’s life because when she’s gone, a huge chunk of your family’s history and things that have made you who you are will be gone too.

Although you don’t think so, you’ll appreciate your mother’s wisdom most when you’re a mom yourself. 

And even though you swear you won’t, before you hit forty you’ll also sound like your mother—especially when you hear her words come out of your mouth when you’re talking to your own daughter. Don’t panic because this ‘echo’ will make you surprisingly happy and be comforting, too. 

Love and marriage

The first (or even second) guy you think you’re in love with isn’t your forever love, but there’s a wonderful man out there for you so listen to that little inner voice you often ignore.

Much to your surprise, your happily-ever-after man won’t look or be anything like you now expect.

He’s very good at math, though, which will be handy because although you swore you’d never again need high school algebra, it will one day make an unwelcome reappearance in your life.

Live in the moment…and be happy with what you have

Most things you’re worrying about will never happen. Things will happen that you could never have planned for, but you’ll somehow cope and survive them. 

Live in the moment and “bloom where you’re planted” because time goes by in the blink of an eye, and you’ll never get those years of your early adulthood back.

And while you’re at it, start a gratitude journal and practice meditation. Your future mental health and stress levels will thank you.

Believe in yourself and be your own best cheerleader

I know you’re questioning who you are and what you want, but I’m here to tell you that self-discovery is a lifelong process.

However, if you truly believe in yourself, most things are possible—except for being a professional ballerina because sadly, you already know you’re too tall and your body isn’t bendy enough.

Yet, don’t be afraid to dream because even when times are dark, good things might be around the corner. Keep going and although persistence is usually a good thing, also don’t be afraid to change direction when you need to.

Last words…

The things that bring you joy and solace now will continue to do so throughout your life

Keep reading, and keep writing your stories because although it seems unlikely, you’ll overcome the doubters to become a published author. Even the most horrendous day jobs and vile bosses will be fodder for your fiction.

Also, tuck away your ballet slippers. Someday you’ll dance again—in a place and as part of a life that despite its challenges, is better than you ever imagined it could be.

Love, future Jen.   


  1. Dorine

    Love this, Jen. It sounds just like the Jen I know and love.

    • Jen Gilroy

      What a lovely thing to say, Dorine. I’m touched. Thank you!

  2. Susanna Bavin

    What a warm and wonderful blog, Jen. So honest, too. And amusing in places. The part that particularly resonates with me is the bit about asking your mother questions, because once she has gone…

    So much of what you say will ring true with your readers. There are certain truths in life that we all come to appreciate when we reach a certain age.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Susanna. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. There are so many questions I wish I’d asked my mother about her life and family and now can’t.

      And yes, as I grow older, those ‘truths’ become more evident and important!

  3. Anne

    Such a beautiful and insightful blog Jen – and good advice for everyone! Love the picture of you and your mom!

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Anne. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. That picture of Mom and I is special to me–and you undoubtedly remember both of us that way too!

  4. Deb

    This is fantastic, Jen, and so very true. Words of wisdom we could all use and pass on. You’re not alone in being like your mom. I used to say to my girls, “Don’t make me say something my mother used to say!” LOL Love the pic of you & your mom. You resemble her.

    • Jen Gilroy

      I appreciate you reading my post and commenting, Deb. I’m glad you enjoyed it and what you used to say to your girls made me chuckle! I’m happy you think I look like my mom. She was a special woman and I miss her very much.

  5. Lynn Folliott

    Another heartwarming post, Jen with great advice. I love the photo of you and your mom, such a happy pair. xo

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Lynn. That photo of my mom and I together is a favourite. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and appreciate you leaving a comment.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Delsora. I’m glad you enjoyed this post and related to it as well.

  6. Tara

    Aww, love this post, Jen. My mum is thankfully still here but we were talking last week while on holiday and she told me two things I had never heard before about her life. I was so grateful she was there to share with me.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks so much, Tara. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and appreciate you leaving a comment. It’s special you had that time with your mum and learned more about her life. Wishing you many more of those times together.


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