What I would tell my younger self through the ages

To my 8-year-old self: Darling, don’t try to impress that boy you have a crush on. Just go and tell him. He likes you too. Who cares if you’re just 8? Life is short, and in the end, you will regret what you didn’t do more than what you did. One day, that boy will grow up into a fine young man and although you will no longer have feelings for him, although you will truly wish him happiness, it will hurt to watch him with someone else. And believe it or not, this time when you’re an 8-year-old will be the last time you fall for anyone so sincerely and unconditionally. Treasure that feeling, that moment, my precious little girl.

To my 10-year-old self: Let me hold that teddy bear and that backpack for you. I promise they and all the memories associated with them will be safe. Now just cry on my shoulder. Keep crying if you want to, darling, when I’m not here with you anymore. Cry when you’re alone, when you’re with other people. It’s ok to show your emotions. You’re too young and yet not young enough to have to go through all this. But you know what, be strong, don’t go back to your home. It’s not a home anymore, and certainly not your home. Changes hurt, I know, but darling, if someone treats you well but treats others like rubbish, don’t go back to that person, even when that person is your father. Because you will grow up questioning the reality of everything and everyone. One day you will understand, darling, but for now, please don’t go back to your home, just step on that plane and stay where it takes you.

To my 15-year-old self: Sweetie, you’ll never be as popular as you are right now, and congratulations on that, but don’t abuse it. I know you’re embarrassed, even enraged from the first rejection in your life, but that is nothing compared to all the pain and heartbreaks you will go through. Just acknowledge that was a very nice rejection that you don’t feel sad at all. What you’re feeling inside is not sorrow or melancholy, it is simply your pride being shot down, and that’s not bad. Your pride needs to be hurt from time to time to remind you that you’re not a Goddess. You’re not a Goddess, but you’re still the most popular girl in your school. But don’t abuse it. Don’t hurt other people because you think you’re hurt. When you hurt someone, you burn a bridge. And again, those are the few strangers who ever love you that sincerely and unconditionally in your whole life.

To my 17-year-old self: Wow, you really look like a grown-up now. I won’t tell you to not date that boy you’re going to date. I get it, you’re lonely, you’re still getting over what you think is your first unrequited love, you’re jealous of all the couples on Valentine’s Day, so go for him, say yes, go out with him. This relationship is the only thing besides your high school choice that your older self approves. It will teach you the most precious lessons about self worth and love that you could ever get at that age. Just 2 reminders: 1. Don’t pay for all of your dates, and certainly not for his friends as well, and 2. Remember those lessons you learn. Time will pass and you will forget you once suffered, and you will make the same mistake again, so write down how miserable you feel with someone you don’t love, and read that from time to time again.

To my 18-year-old self: Don’t fucking go to America for 4 fucking years. Those pictures and stories are misleading. The hardships are real and not at all glorifying. Stay in Vietnam you fucking spoiled piece of shit.

To my 19-year-old self: Alright I see that you went to America for 4 years. Then don’t go home that summer. Seriously, don’t. I know your mom is using travel ticket to lure you again, but you’re 19 years old, you will have plenty of time to explore the world, what’s the rush?

To my 20-year-old self: First of all, good job finishing your incomplete task when you were 10, buddy. Now, you’re not having just a cold, it’s pneumonia. Go to the clinic, the exam is 300 dollars but you have insurance so it’s free. Anyway, it’s alright if you starved in bed, alone, for 2 weeks, in 40-degree fever, because c’est lavie. Just, honey, don’t feel bitter. You will grow up and learn to take care of yourself, you will truly understand nothing is more important than family and no one loves you more than your family. But again, don’t feel bitter. Life if still life, and just live your life like a 20-year-old. Open your heart. When a boy tells you he loves you, smile, don’t snort. When a mother goes to your graduation, appreciate it, don’t feel pity because your mother is not there. Because you don’t know anything about hurt, not yet. You’ll never be that young again. And you’ll never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever be able to taste that freedom when you do not have to care about responsibility again.

To my 21-year-old: What can I say? You may not believe me because I’m not that older and wiser than you are. I only have the knowledge of future events to assure you that everything will get better. Please consider every difficulty you face in life as a precious lesson for you to learn and grow up, because if your walk of life is filled with rose petals only, you will achieve nothing and you will become one of those dumb blondes you used to hate.

To myself 2 months ago: Dig up your blog/diary/notes from the time you were 17, or facebook message your “boyfriend” back then. Remember I told you to keep the lessons learned in mind so you won’t make the same mistake again? This time you’re not dealing with a 17-year-old boy anymore, you’re playing with a 30-year-old experienced man who knows how to break hearts. Oh shoot, so you’ve fallen for him. Whatever, woman, I’m sick of giving you advice you won’t listen to, stubborn bitch.

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