TNIM Talks – A letter to my 21 year old self


We’re going for something a little different this month.  The bloggers and I have written a letter to our 21 year old selves.

No long introduction needed! Grab a coffee, grab the tissues and enjoy! x


Michelle from Mum from the Heart

Dear Chelle,

Relax girl!!! You are only 21, stop trying to fit your entire life into your 20s! This is your gap year, stop making excuses and take that damn holiday! You are about to get so busy making sure you get life “right” that you are about to forget to live it! You have so much strength in you and I know you cannot see that now, that you feel like you have to live by the good girl rules, that you are unlovable and not good enough and that until you get it all “perfect” you will always be just one step away from being called a fraud.  It’s not true! Life is to be lived, there is no Pass or Fail so please, breathe, relax and have fun, you have many years ahead to get serious. These are the years to work out who you are, to travel, and explore and just be. When you look back in 10 years this year will be your only regret, that you didn’t embrace it, that you let it slip you by and focused so much on your future you forgot to live in the present. You still know how to have fun, do more of what makes you laugh, what lights up your world, what you want to do not just what’s you “should” do.

Being a good person does not mean being a door mat, I wish you knew that. Be brave, only you can choose your path and you can only choose your path so stop trying to find the most popular road. You are unique, that is an asset not a liability so stop trying to fit the mould. You are funny and fun, thoughtful and playful, clever and kind, listen to your heart and trust it. Love yourself, it is not selfish or vain, you deserve joy and happiness and that will come in the most unexpected of places. Write that down and remind yourself every time someone tells you different!

Remember a fairy tale wedding does not mean a fairy tale marriage. It is a single day, the first step on the next part of your journey so make it special but stop trying to make it ‘perfect’. Oh and a tip from the future- you will need an umbrella! Have faith. You will have children and they will be beautiful, they will challenge you and change you in ways you cannot imagine but they will light up your world! They will help you find your path, help you return to your core, to have fun again and to make your mark on this world. They will come to you to teach you with their honesty and their humour, you don’t have all the answers and they will surprise you with their observations. You will mess up, many times, you will fear you got it wrong, that you are not strong and brave and kind but you are, and more than anything they will know Love and they will know they are special, and beautiful and unique and all that makes them perfect! As a Mum that is your everlasting gift, the unconditional love t

hat they deserve.

You will grow and change so much in your life so please live in the now, enjoy this m

oment, do what makes you smile and never stop having fun, getting life “right” simply isn’t worth the stress!

Mich xxx

Wow writing this had a much bigger impact than I expected, I opened up a floodgate and cried tears I thought had long ago dried up. I wasn’t sure how this letter will unfold. When I started I mostly wanted to give myself some advice to chill out a bit but it seems I had much more to say. After a year of so much change this was surprisingly therapeutic. I highly recommend it to everyone!


About Michelle:

As Mums we need to truly be able to love ourselves, find the fun in the chaos and have a giggle along the way. When we do this we can parent from love not fear and that’s my goal. I have struggled along the way with PND, 3 kids under 3 and my own fear of messing this all up but I have come through all that with so many new skills, with new knowledge and a level of self-compassion that I strive to teach to other Mums.

Today I work as a counsellor and parental coach for other parents who are struggling. I help parents adapt to the stressors that come with parenting and find their own sense of well-being so they too can parent from the heart.

My blog is my journey of letting go of the fear of not being a perfect mum, embracing the energy and enthusiasm of 3 young kids finding the fun in each day.

Visit Michelle’s blog.


Miriam from But, Still Breathing

Dear Miriam:

It’s me; You, but from The Future.

I know it sounds far-fetched but just think of it like that episode of Dr. Who where…

Oh, wait. You won’t get that reference yet. Nevermind.


Just think of it like that episode of Stargate where the General sends a note back through time to prevent Total World Annihilation.

Got it?

I knew you would.

So, you’re 21. An “adult,” huh? Got your life so figured out, right? Okeydoke.

You see, Miriam, I know exactly where you are in the stream of time. I have already experienced what’s to come – the great and the terrible (if in fact, there is great and terrible – let’s not get ahead of ourselves) and I can help you out.

I know you’re rolling your eyes RIGHT NOW.  You think don’t need help from anyone. But you are wrong.

Events are about to transpire in your life that most people never have to experience. But you will. You need to be prepared to be strong.

Soon, people you think you can trust and love will show their true character.  They will do and say things you never thought they would. They will leave.  Miriam, this is not your fault. Think of it like a sifting. This is their choice.  Let them go.  The ones that are left are true, beautiful souls that will stick to you no matter what.

Don’t be so preoccupied with what other people think. Pretending to be someone you’re not will only attract people who portray a similar pretense. So be true to who you really are! Yes, it sounds cheesy, but the joy you find when you let yourself just be yourself will also allow you to find The One who really loves you on the deepest level.

Hint: the best things are usually right under your nose!

Listen to your parents.  No, I mean REALLY listen.  I know you think you’re an adult and you have the right to make your own decisions, but ask their opinions, and pay attention to what they say. They love you the most, and they always have your best interest at heart.

Stop letting Fear rule your life!  You are ALIVE – so live, Miriam!  A wise Doctor once said, “A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.” Take some chances, do something adventurous, fulfill a dream.  You’ll regret it if you don’t, trust me. Just be careful never to get into a spaceship with a madman.

Ok, there you have it. Will what I’ve told you change our reality?

I guess it all depends on your take on the theory of quantum physics and the space-time continuum and all that jazz…

Either way, just know, you are going to have a fantastic life!

Live long and prosper,



About Miriam

On March 6, 2015, my life began again. I had waited over six months on the transplant list, which for someone like me felt perceptively forever, and I came precariously close to the unimaginable. But, on that remarkable day, because of an anonymous organ donor, I received my new, sparkly, fantastic lungs! My life hasn’t been the same since.

So, what’s this blog about? All the adventures that go along with being a transplant recipient and a sufferer of chronic illness  – the good, the bad, and the unapologetic. Since that extraordinary day, my whole perception has changed – how I feel about life, the meaning of true friendship, who I consider to be family, even things as seemingly simple as how I view food (I eat a lot more of candy now!). Join me on my journey. Perhaps we’ll learn something new about life together.

Visit Miriam’s blog


Shona from Thriving Sistas

Hey chick,

So… you are engaged to be married. Congratulations! It is what you always wanted and I know that you feel relieved that you managed to find somebody so great, at such a young age. You’ve wanted to be a Mum since you were eight years old, and the good news is that you will be blessed with your pigeon pair… a feisty little girl, followed by a beautiful little boy.

Now… for the not so good news. DO NOT FREAK OUT – just hear me out. This marriage will not last. It will serve its purpose for a good many years. But in its seventeenth year it will come to an end, and yes, you will be devastated for a time. You will feel as though the world has stopped spinning and that you’ll never pick yourself up from the ashes.

You will pick yourself up from the ashes.

In fact, your divorce will force you to do something you’ve never previously felt capable of. It will force you to grow up. It will force you to take a long hard look at yourself and question who you are; what you want from life; what you’re even doing here. You’ve not done this before.

You’ve spent your life so far trying desperately to be a good girl, to fit in with society and do the ‘right thing’. By the time you are forty-two, you no longer give a shit about any of this. You’ll find being a single mother a whole lot more rewarding – and easier – than being a married mum. I know!

You’ll find solace in your children, your friends, your books and your writing. And in your fortieth year – when you manage to lift your head out of one of your books long enough – you’ll meet the next love of your life. I know that right now you can’t imagine ever being with another man, but it will happen. And this time around it will be different.

Now that you’ve found yourself, you know that you’ll never get lost again. You cherish your independence and will simply not allow yourself to forget who you are again.

So chick, that’s it! Go, live your life and do what you need to do. I promise you’ll be OK. You have nothing to be afraid of. You are stronger than you know – you’ve got this.

Much love,



About Shona

Shona is a divorced single mother (to two teenagers) and writer from Australia.

After surviving the pain of the sudden and unexpected breakdown of her marriage, her passion now lies in supporting and empowering women to not only survive but THRIVE through change and upheaval – whatever the cause of that change and upheaval.

If you are currently, or have ever, or will POTENTIALLY ever go through any of these sucky situations then please head over to Shona’s site and check it out:

  • Separation and/or Divorce
  • Feeling unsure of yourself or where you’re headed due to ANY significant life change or upheaval
  • A tendency to give your power away in relationships
  • Not realising your true worth OR the empowered goddess that you truly are


Kirsty from That Noise Is Mine

Dear 21 year old Kirsty

Here you are, about to turn 21, the whole world at your feet. Life is pretty good.

You’ve just learned to drive and bought yourself nice new car.  You’ve been working in an awesome job since you were 17 years old so you’ve been financially independent for many, many years, you don’t realise that a lot of 21 year olds are still driving around in bombs!!! You take this financial independence for granted and later in life you wonder if you should’ve maybe invested in Real Estate rather than hundreds of pairs of shoes!! YOLO – right 🙂

When you’re 21 you feel old and wise and feel like you’ve got it all figured out.  And I am no different.  Children are not in my future, I would rather build a career, you know, become upper management and then if I happen to settle down maybe think about having 1 child but that won’t be until I’m around 40.

You have just started working with a group of girls of similar age.  It makes work fun, there’s plenty of long lunches at the pub and for the first time in your life you feel like you’re actually part of something.  Not just a friend who flitters from group to group but an integral member of this group.  You wonder if your friendship with these girls will continue beyond the walls of the office.

The biggest thing in your life is something that not many people know about.  You struggle with body image and self esteem.  You are painfully thin – sick – yet go for days without eating.  You spend hours each day weighing yourself, checking that the number has gone down and not up.  If it’s gone up you punish yourself, if it’s gone down you give yourself a little bit of a break.  It’s draining and sometimes you wish it would end because you’re not sure how you can live like this forever.  I’ll let you in on a secret though, it does end but not for a while, it takes you getting pregnant with your first baby for this to ease.  Oh, yes, you read that right, you’re first baby! You end up having 4, all boys.  Oh and you’re raising them as a single Mum.  But you’ve got it 🙂

See, you meet a guy and get married.  You have a big fairy tale wedding and everyone thinks you’re a perfect couple.  But you hide so many secrets and this destroys you as a person.  It takes you a while to rebuild and recover but trust me, where you are headed outside of that marriage is so much better than where you were headed inside the marriage. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever faced and there will be days where you’re convinced you’re not going to survive but hang in there. Trust me.

Now, 21 year old me, it’s time to get ready for your party.  Your request was a small and sophisticated dinner with your family.  Nothing huge, nothing over the top. You’ll have a great time.

Enjoy life, always remember to smile and remember you are an incredibly strong woman and will handle anything that comes your way.

Kirsty x


What would you tell your 21 year old self?  Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Wow! Wow! Wow! Kirsty, this really was a great one! I really enjoyed reading everyone else’s letters – sounds like we all had a lot to say to our younger selves! I agree with Michelle – it was very therapeutic! Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of this, I am in amazing and talented company!

  • Dear 21 year old Caroline,
    You’ve spent your teenage years living overseas and then trying to “fit back in” when you return to Oz.
    But you’re different and you know it. So full of self doubt you hide it by talking too much and too loudly.
    You spend every night lying in bed ruminating over the dumb things you have said and done. When will this ever end.
    You meet a man who sweeps you off your feet and the next thing you know your an era that looks down on unmarried mums. He’s run off with his next conquest and you’re on your own…
    Your thought turn to the future and you can’t imagine life getting better.
    Believe it or not you will be an amazing mum to four boys and all those self doubts will melt away.
    Life is worth living to the fullest!
    You make mistakes along the way. You marry the first man who says he loves you and for a long tine you give your power away to him. But in your 57 th years,with your boys all gown up ,you get your freedom back and life is wonderful.
    Don’t sweat the small stuff and you are worth it. Let people earn your friendship..not the other way around. Keep your lovely friends close by and discard those who make you question yourself. One day you will take immense pride in the life you are living, being your authentic self,doing in on your own terms.
    Doesn’t matter what age you are life is good.
    By the way, you will have 4 grandsons too..
    Fifth grandchild by 2018.. Maybe you’ll crack that elusive pink one!! You go girl and inspire others to do the same.
    Be positive and share the love
    Love Caz x

    • Caroline, this is amazing, brought a tear to my eye. You’ve been through so much and there are some great lessons in such a short letter. Good luck with the 5th grandchild! x

      • Thank’s the tip of the iceberg. If I wrote my autobiography people would think it was fiction!
        They say that those that live the longest have the most to learn.
        I’ll wait for the telegram from the Queen then!
        Oh and another lesson I learnt this week was to proof read before you post !
        Cheers Caz

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