Hello younger me,
I know you’re not very good at taking advice from those older than you, but I think that an exception should be made. I’m future you and you need advice, so take it.
Turning 18 for you is not so pleasant and I completely get it. No one wants to turn 18 in a house full of commercial sex workers and drug addicts who really don’t even care. Today might be just another day to everyone but it’s a great day in your life. Celebrate no matter how you feel and shake off the feeling of being by yourself. Things will not always be like this. As you get older, your life will change in ways you never could have expected. Knowing you, I can imagine you’re rolling your eyes right now.
Since I am from the future and have already lived this life you are living. I want to tell you 10 things you need to take seriously as you turn 18 today.
- Pack your bags and go back to Kaduna.
This is going to be my first advice to you Raquel, and even though I know you will not take this, I wish that you’ll reconsider, knowing I have seen how this all turned out. Going back home might be great. You might find a job or eventually get into school. I honestly don’t know, but I know the pain and agony you are facing is too much and it will get worse. You will not see the effect of all that’s happening now until 5 years down the line.
- Call your mum as often as you can
If you decide not to go back which I doubt you will, except Jesus Himself appears to you right now to ask you to go back and even at that, the Raquel I know will ask for a sign to be sure she’s speaking to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Remember, I know you; I am the older version of you. I’ll like to say this loudly; call mummy. She will die 11 months from now and you will regret not spending enough time with her or speaking with her as often as you would have wanted. You will have unanswered questions and she will die with ALL the answers. You will not be happy for a long time.
- Your brothers will be fine
Quit crying like a little girl and start praying for the boys. Don’t worry too much about their well-being and if they will ever go back to school because they will. Instead of stressing over them, PRAY for them every day. Trust me, they will be fine.
- You don’t have to voice all your opinions
You are outspoken and very vocal and that is fine but dear younger me, you don’t have to raise your voice to make a point. Insisting you are right even when you are is not really the way forward. The best way to win an argument is to avoid it completely- Dale Carnegie. (He is the author of the book “How to win friends and influence people”.). Your dad gave you the book three years ago and you never read it to the end. If you can find it, please read it cover to cover. Spoiler alert; you’ll work at Dale Carnegie Training Nigeria 12 years from now.
- Learn to let go and forgive
You are hurt right now and I completely get it. Learn to let go and forgive. Your uncle and the entire family will reach out to ask for your forgiveness 11 years from now and you will forgive them. If you can forgive them now, please do so. There’s no need carrying hurt and pain for that long. It will change you and turn you into a different person. You will feel caged and trapped in your own body and your own emotions. You will be a very sad girl hiding behind a mask. Let go of all the hurt, call your Uncles and Aunts and tell them you forgive them and do it sincerely.
6. Don’t worry so much about what other people think.
People will say a lot of crazy things about you. Most of which will be false. You will worry and be distracted by them. I wish you wouldn’t. Dear Raquel, focus on being the best version of yourself, and don’t be concerned about how other people judge you for it. At the end of the day, the only person who truly cares about how you live your life is you. Also, stop comparing yourself to others. The scars on you are there because of some horrible things have happened and some that will happen the next 3 months. LIVE WITH IT!
- You will be out of here soon
Don’t worry about the clothes you don’t have and the left over you eat from the girls. You will be out of here soon and you’ll have lots and lots of clothes and food to eat. I know you hate that you only have a pair of Jean and a shirt and you desperately want more. You want the clothes theses girls have but you know how they got their money. The business you’re currently doing will teach you many lessons about life. Stick to it. Take the ridicule from the girls, do what they ask but DON”T JOIN THEM. You will hate house chores later on because of how much you have done this here but it’ll make you a better woman. Don’t despise the girls, continue your morning devotion with them and tell them about Jesus as much as you can.
- Dating too young is not worth it.
Relationships really aren’t worth it until you are ready to settle down. This is hard to accept because you will fall in love for the first time in a few months after you leave the street. I wish you didn’t. If you can, don’t date, because, at this age, you are only dating to fill time and the void in your life. When you are older, date to marry. You’ll end up with better priorities and less heartbreak. The guy you’ll fall in love with is an amazing person but I wish you would just be friends because you two will not get married even though everyone will think you two are the “perfect couple” he will marry someone else 11 years from now. You will make a lot of mistakes going down this very path with him because you currently crave for someone to be there for you and this person will fill that void and more. If you can, be good friends. He’ll always be a great friend to have.
- Don’t be so distracted with “meeting the right guy.”
Along the way, you will find yourself and you will become an amazing woman. You will get engaged and it will end suddenly because of no fault if yours. That shouldn’t scare you. On this path, you’ll be rebellious and despise marriage. I wish you wouldn’t because marriage is beautiful. Don’t close your heart to love. Somewhere along the way, you will get tired of waiting for the right guy but take my advice; he’ll find you, and it will happen when you least expect it. It will happen when you’re being you, when you’re doing what you love and it will be more than you could ever imagine.
- Start praying for your future husband now.
This might go against all that you’ve taught but trust me when you turn 25, you will start writing journals and prayers for him and at that time, you will wish you started earlier. Buy a notebook today, try and write at least once a week and you will love the result. Don’t panic when you don’t meet him at 26, keep journaling and praying for every aspect of his life and yours. When you turn 28 you’ll panic a bit but don’t let it get to you. Your heart will be broken and you will question the wait. But trust me; there is a man who will love you in the way God intended for you to be loved. He is worth the wait. He will look at you one day and tell you “you’re the best thing that has ever happened to him”.
Here’s some good news: You will eventually go the University so don’t panic. You will not have all of your kids by 30 as planned but you will be extremely happy. You will start a women’s ministry and an NGO for children. You will make a lot of mistakes but your story will inspire many.
Even though I know you might not listen to me. I will like to say that; I’m proud of you and who you are going to be!
Your Future Self!