You are fast approaching 30 years of age and there is so much that I want to tell you, so I’m going to jump straight into it.
Firstly, I want to tell you about one of the most important things that you will be struggling with in your later life. Kindness.
You were brought up with a strong, opinionated South African family who spoke their minds and however harsh at times, believe that honesty is the best policy. It’s not. Not always, anyways. What one perceives to be honesty is exactly that. Your perception of honesty is exactly that. Your perception of the truth is exactly that. Perception. Your perception of the whole world is going to be very different from the way others perceive it to be. Everyone you meet is on a different journey through life, have their own truths and growing to do. It is NOT your responsibility to help them along their trajectory, especially if at the age of 29, you STILL don’t have your shit together. Harsh, but true. I know you can handle it because you have thicker skin than I’ve ever seen before. You are a warrior and you always seem to survive no matter what obstacles life seems to throw your way. The good attribute you have, which at this day and time, I haven’t seen in many others, is that you are always and have always been on a quest for self improvement. For bettering yourself -internally. Emotional intelligence has always been way more important to you than actual intelligence. It’s not wrong, but I’d like you to re-consider being intelligent in other ways.
When you were 13 years old and sat in your math class writing poetry and minding your own business, your teacher told you to pay attention. Your response was: “ Why do I need all these formulas? It’s not going to help my future, it’s not going to make me a better person.” That day you had an answer for everything. Your teacher left you to carry on with what you were doing.. and you thought you won your argument that day, but lost the argument overall. You lost big. Your inherent ability to take things on your stride has lead you to believe you have an answer or solution for everything. It’s true, you do, 90% of the time, but where sufficiently educated people make educated risk assessments and decisions quickly and easily, it takes you a while to reach your own conclusion and find your own way. Retrospect has always been your best friend, however harsh a bitch she may be. She has always found a way to make you see that because you were hard headed and stubborn you were in fact wrong. Please start listening to her. Break these bad habits of yours. LISTEN.
Your gut has always been right, but you hardly ever follow it. Why, I still do not know. Your ability to read people and your judge of character is second to none. BUT, somehow you find ways to shut that voice out and believe that everyone is good at heart. Nadine, you fool. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. Just because someone calls you a friend, does not mean that they are, indeed, a friend. People will find all kinds of ways to get ahead in life and you are often and will often just be used as that stepping stone. Get wise chica. Seriously. Charles Darwin wasn’t a legend for nothing.. he spotted something in the human condition which has taken you almost 30 years to realize and accept.
Talk about survival of the fittest, Nadine, you have, your whole life long valued and cherished your friendships. You’ve had few really tremendous friendships, but those friendships have died because you have not taken care of them. You thought good friendships take care of themselves. Nope, again, you were wrong. All good relationships need investment, care, love, attention, putting yourself and your needs after that person’s needs. Why? This seems so illogical to you.. I know. But it’s true. NO ONE will ever – EVER make you their number one priority. And if they do, it won’t last as long as you’d hoped it would. This is because our relationships with everyone is a very insular thing. It’s always been a case of: “How do you think that made me feel..?” when the reality is, no one ever thinks about the way they make you feel. Because everyone in this world thinks the same thing. They think just like you do. About themselves, their own needs and feelings and their own safety, security and their own interests. Try, please try to live an outer life instead of an inner one. Help people for no reward or pat on the back. Help them, but because you really want to help, not because you see it as an investment. There’s a lot of calculated people in this world, and you’ve always admired them for their ability to get what they want every time, but that’s not you.. accept it.
You have never been one to flaunt your femininity, in fact growing up around alpha males, you became an alpha female. Being strong isn’t the way forward. People connect ( or at least most people connect) with those who are comfortable with being vulnerable. Try to be more vulnerable and it will help you judge less and connect with more people. You will learn, hopefully, to have more empathy and to be more patient. I believe this will serve you well.
Make more friends. You were so good at this when you were younger. Everyone knew who you were and what value you could bring to their lives.. When you got older, you realized that more girl friends equaled more heartache and drama which made you retract and keep those closest to you, closer. Girls don’t think like boys and just because you grew up with boys doesn’t make you one. Girls are emotional beings with sensitivities like your own, insecurities like your own and defensiveness like your own. Girls do not like strong women. They aspire to be like them, but the take down is way more victorious. Be careful of keeping all your eggs in one basket. One miscommunication or one misunderstanding can lead to fractured friendships and lots of time, effort and resource spent on repairs. But as your grandma used to say, if a coffee cup has a chip in it, it will always have a chip. Regardless of whatever glue and paint you try to cover the chip up with. Be good to people, but Nadine, expect nothing in return. BFFs are only in the movies. It doesn’t exist in real life, just like the mad passionate crazy endless “I’ll die for you” love, doesn’t exist in real life either. IF you are in the minority and you are fortunate to experience it, you will ONLY realize it after it’s gone or in retrospect. As I mentioned before. Retrospect is your best friend.
Regarding your career, Nadine, I want you to study and I want you to be disciplined to study hard. If you’re going to choose to remember one thing from this letter, this should be it. You thought one upon a time that experience was worth more than a piece of paper. You were wrong. You’ve worked since you were 14 going on 15. You’ve had countless jobs and acquired a plethora of skills which will serve you well in many ways.. but one day, you will realize, and quite abruptly, that a jack of all trades is a master of none. The moment you truly realize where your calling lies and what your true strength is, the universe will try to dissuade you from it. This is when and where the true test lies. Because you have no formal qualification, you will be judged and you will need to spend years convincing people otherwise. You will need to prove yourself more than those who do have a professional education. That piece of paper you thought was worthless, eliminates doubt. GET IT! Fewer people will question your abilities once you have a piece of paper to back up your vision. Otherwise, your blue sky thinking will just be perceived as being without merit and without clear forethought.
Nadine – there is still so much I want to tell you, but for now I’ll leave you with one last thought. Love.
You will meet a man, who loves you endlessly but who takes your endless love for granted. He will give you confidence, teach you new things and you will dedicate seven years of your life to him. During this time, you will learn so much about yourself, about your wants and needs and you will learn to truly love someone. But you will love too much and loving to much will stop you from exploring the world. Some people have limitations no matter how much you believe in them. Like yourself, they will have their own demons and their own blockers to success. Don’t try and change someone because you believe in their potential. They will get there on their own and if you happen to be there after or before that happens, that has nothing to do with you. You are not responsible for another person’s success. Invest that time and love in yourself and then you can reap what you sow. Invest in yourself. Invest in your education. Invest in your appearance.
Oh, before I go. Please, please, please, Nadine. I know you love the sun. I know you love LOVE LOOOOVE being in the sun, being a bronze goddess, but please, cover your face. You think you are the exception to the rule and that skincare and dermatological treatments will save your skin. They won’t. Your skin, on your face and your skew-ish teeth will bring you more sadness than much else. They get in the way of your confidence. Don’t chew toffees when you have braces, don’t use sunbeds and please DO NOT start smoking. Up until the age of 15 you were so incredibly fit. Your six pack and all those muscles made you feel masculine, those hours spent training made you feel like you were missing out on being a teenager. Starting smoking and drinking has made you be part of more and have helped you experience being a bit of a rebellious teenager, but the smoking hasn’t stopped yet and it’s had a negative effect on not just your skin, but your health in general. I know this is one thing you won’t give up till you end up baring a child, but if you can find the strength to break this terrible habit, please do.
I’m writing you this letter, sat cross legged on a sofa at a bar on the Ibiza seafront. In the sunshine and whilst drinking an ice cold beer.. Your life is great if you’re looking at it from the point of view of someone being grateful for everything and anything. But in fact, your life could be better because YOU and only YOU are capable of better. Be the CEO of your own life and make it happen. You know, you absolutely know you have it in you. An enormous amount of love, passion, hope and capability. Don’t ever give up and don’t ever waste it.
I love you and I wish you would love yourself more.