It’s the eve of our 65th birthday and as I sit here at our old wooden desk – yes, the same one we bought at that run-down, second-hand place on the way to Sydney – my fingers running over the uneven surface that I still can’t bear to sand back, my thoughts turn to our life.
We’ve had some fun, you and me.
Like that afternoon we ran down the stairs from the restaurant at the Eiffel Tower. I still laugh as I remember how wobbly our legs were when we finally made it to the bottom, giggling with Marie while she swore at yet another silly choice. Then the mad dash in the taxi to catch the Eurostar back to London.
But wait. You’re only 20 years old today. That experience still awaits you in a few years time. So that can be our secret, okay?
For your 25th birthday, you’re going to spend the day in Paris with your BFF. Oh, and buy that wallet at Louis Vuitton. We still use it. No more secrets. I promise. That wouldn’t be fair.
But how about some advice?
From my old heart to yours. Here are 9 things I want you to do for us.
No, no, no, it’s nothing like that. I hope I didn’t frighten you.
Yes I know it seems like a chore, your skin is still perfect at 20 and you don’t always remember but, you will thank me once you hit 36.
Stay healthy, eat well and exercise
That Saturday morning Maccas run will catch up with you if you don’t keep an eye on things. One day, your metabolism will simply decide to go on holiday. And stay there.
It’s nothing to be worried about because you are beautiful exactly as you are but, just try to be good at least 80% of the time. Okay?
Well, you know about Paris now, but make sure you travel. Save your money and see the world. There will never be an easier time than right now to explore the world that awaits you.
Before you know it, you will be 40 and believe me, it will go by in a heartbeat.
Work hard, save lots and go see all those places you are dreaming of.
Be Kind and call your mum
You will have more than a few reasons not to, but always be kind.
Be especially kind to those who seem to deserve it least because they need it the most.
As Nanna used to say, ‘rise above it, lass’.
And one of those small kindnesses will lead you to a great love. A very great love.
Oh, how I envy you at that moment in time. I wish I could live it over and over and over.
But I am trusting you to live it perfectly, again, for both of us.
You won’t see it beforehand but oh my, how you will see it once it’s there.
And we mean it. Call your mum x
Remember selfies are forever
And you will have to explain them to grandkids one day.
That’s all I have to say on the matter.
Start saving as soon as you begin work
It doesn’t have to be a lot but begin saving a percentage of your earnings from that very first pay. Never waiver and just put that money aside.
This isn’t your travel or holiday money. This isn’t your car emergency money. This isn’t your just in case money.
This is the money that will always allow you to walk away from something that isn’t working for you. It could be a job or a relationship.
Having some money stashed away, that only you know about, is a financial safety blanket.
Now, I am not suggesting you will ever have to use it but please make sure you have it there.
Financial freedom is something that won’t just happen. You need to plan for it.
A little each pay goes a long way. And no, I didn’t mean for that to rhyme but ….
Just rely on you
While we’re talking about financial freedom, don’t just plan for the short term or emergencies, plan for your future.
Plan for me
Plan for your 65-year old self. I know I seem old and a long way away, but you will be me sooner than you think. Start with adding a small additional contribution to your Super. Make your retirement as comfortable as possible.
Speak to the experts. Ask for help. Get second opinions. Invest wisely.
Always rely on yourself because, in the end, that is all you will have left.
No, we’re not alone at 65, but I just want you to rely on yourself first, then rely on others.
We will be much happier and more financially secure because of it. Trust me 😉
This too shall pass
I would love to tell you tales of a life lived without any heartbreak, but that wouldn’t be any kind of life, now would it.
When your heart is breaking – friend, foe, lover, boss, footy team – know that it will get better and you will smile again.
Go to a movie alone.
Go to dinner alone.
Don’t be afraid of being alone, of doing things alone. These experiences will not only make you a stronger woman, but they will also give you more than a few hilarious stories to share as the years go by.
So, 20-year-old me. I have so much more I wish I could share but you need to go out and live our life just the way you want. Maybe take a few of my tips to heart so once you join me at 65, you will be just as happy with how well you did it all.
From my heart to yours
Love Me xx
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