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Words of Guidance to my 20-year-old self – A Letter of Substance

Written by: Dee Burrowes, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

To You Dear Virtuous Dee,


If I could only bring back the hands of time – but no, I cannot as time does not stay still just for me or for anyone else for that matter. Life is a constant journey, and no finish line has its own twists and turns, peaks and valleys, and some very high mountain to climb. It felt like just yesterday. I was celebrating the big twenty, the becoming of an adult. At the age of twenty with hopes, dreams, and goals to be achieved – high on energy yet adding a dash of self-discovery and trying to figure out life in all its essence. I was crafting the older and wiser mentality; only time will tell.

Dee Burrowes

As you turn 20, fresh-faced and full of hope - it’s not a bother if you don’t have a plan, really. It’s not a bother if you are the only one who doesn’t seem to know where your life is headed or what you really want to do.


Many would have told you that you must enjoy your 20s – why not? You will, for the most part, but there will also be challenging and awkward times.


I wanted to have you sat down for a heart to heart, but I opted to write a letter instead, hoping it will be a treasured piece in many years to come. You cannot predict how your life will be in a few years or a decade, but I am here to tell you that no matter what destination the train of life takes you, it will be better than you could have imagined despite the stops and stalls.


You never know where life will take you, and having a set of do’s and don’ts guidelines would have made life a bit easier. If it did, I possibly would have saved myself from unnecessary dramas, stress, and frustration as I was absorbed in my own agendas.


Truth be told, turning 20 was a big deal – however it had its share of responsibility as I was learning worthwhile life skills, which eventually aided my flying the coop stance. I was ready (so I thought) to explore the world. Wisdom and maturity were far-fetched even though I knew I was much further in life than years previously. Life begins at twenty – the big two zero, I would often heard!


At some point, you are probably in a place of solace or one that has not just given you resources to survive but an avenue to help you become who you want to be and truly thrive. Your own oyster filled with opportunities with the freedom to experiment in the hope of building a foundation for your future.


No matter where life will take you, many valuable lessons will be learned. Things were challenging, and looking back on a certain period in time, you pondered, ‘I wish I knew then what I know now’ as the trajectory might have been so very different. Life might have been fair and unfair, reasonable and unreasonable. You’ve failed, felt rejected but yet smile through the tears as defiantly as sought redemption, knowing there were as many triumphs and cheers as well. Life, as you know it, isn’t the extraordinary one. Then again, it is unique to only you. It’s yours and yours alone - belongs to no one else. This existential awakening is too raw. Nonetheless, it still feels as if I am punching barriers after barriers pursuing my heart’s desires, albeit the fact that everyone around you is living their best life. Frustrated of wrestling and crave something that will cushion your breakthrough to last a lifetime.


You’re often told to live without regrets, seize the day and, most importantly, start living intentionally as finding happiness in every single you do will serve you best.


Twenty Thoughts of Substance


20. Be spontaneous

Invest in experiences, not things. Spend more time outside and add a little spontaneity to your life. The more willing you are to go with the flow, the easier it’s going to be as anything could happen.

19. You mirror the five people you are always around

Those you spend most time with does shape who you are. Make sure you associate yourself with movers and shakers whose attitude and behavior will reflect and dominate your attention.

18. Never become who hurt you

Revenge might deeply worsened the wound. Don’t become cruel or hurt someone because you have been hurt. Rise above your self-imposed misery with a positive attitude and learn from the experience.

17. Choose yourself first

You are the most important person in your life regardless of where you go or what you do. Taking care of yourself first enables you to be better equipped to help others. Put on your oxygen mask on you first.

16. Travel the World

Enjoy a pina colada in front of a massive pool, basking in the sunshine, immersing in other cultures, and explore the world. Indulge in a taste for travel as it will make you incredibly well-rounded as a person.


15. Stop complaining

Don’t let complaints become your way of life or gossip, which can be a slippery slope. Avoid complaining about trivial everyday things that you can’t fix.

14. Be intentional with financial education

Learn all you can about managing your finances, value the relationships and behavior with money. Trusting others with your money or having a lack of it can evoke anxiety and emotional insecurity.

13. Watch the Sunset Often

Every once in a while, take time for the sunset, it’s such a beautiful moment, and it calms the mind as you enjoy the beauty of the earth. It’s just the little things that count.


12. Seek support

Cultivate wise and supportive people within your circle as having support will be a great stress reliever when the challenges surface itself. They will ease the burden a bit as you will have them as a sounding board.


11. Do what you love

Don’t fall into the trap of the status quo and not living the life of your dreams. Get out of your comfort zone, take the leap of faith, and not settle for the bare minimum.


10. Be a lifelong learner

With access to the internet and gadgets, there is no excuse to pivot yourself and career. Read books, go to events, listen to podcasts and take courses to improve your being.


9. Tune into to your gut feeling

When you have that twinge in your stomach, always listen to it. Trust your intuition, and it usually right and will guide you to what is best for you.


8. Live without fear

Don’t let your worries command you. Fear can hook itself taking up mental and emotional headspace, which holds you back from taking chances.


7. Money will never buy happiness

Money can buy a lot of things; however, it cannot buy true friendship and contentment. Wealth can give favorable changes, but over time the temporary happiness boost will disappear. Your self-worth is not your net worth.


6. Life doesn’t come with a manual

Many times, what we yearn for isn’t as clear cut as one thinks. There will never be all the answers – it’s an illusion. Your mood can be in constant fluctuation, from great to not so great in a second.


5. Prioritise your health

Make small changes that will support a healthier lifestyle – nutrition, fitness, and self-care.


4. Better sleep

Managing stress and anxiety will greatly improve your sleep – a good balance is getting enough hours in. Be nice to your mind and body.


3. Improve self-worth

Treating yourself well gives off a positive vibration and a good feeling. Focus on how to. Identify and challenge both limiting and negative beliefs.


2. Curb expectations

Putting high expectations on others can cause disappointments. You only have control over yourself, and many times they are not aware of what you expect from them.


1. Self-love

The greatest love of all. You deserved to be loved by you. It’s not self-absorbed but rather being in tune with who you are along coupled with your happiness. Do yourself a favor, pause, breath, and start practicing self-love.


With Profound Love!!

Dee. xoxo


For more information, visit my website!

Dee Burrowes, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dee Burrowes, Certified Professional Coach, NLP Practitioner, Speaker, Trained Teacher, International Awards Judge and Mental Health Coach with Behavioural Disorder helps you to gain more confidence in being more effective at bringing happiness into your life. By identifying your core values and what drives you, you will gain clarity on what your life and career vision should be. By learning how to eradicate self-doubt, boost self-confidence and form good habits, all of us are able to overcome our challenges and live more mindfully, consciously and authentically. Life passes us by and the fear of not being authentic kicks in and it is the right time now to identify your inspiration by designing a lifestyle that would capture the very essence of you. Dee is a visiting professor in Events and Hospitality management in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. She continues to participate in the hospitality industry. Dee is very much passionate about Mental Health and as a Mental Health Advocate, she supports corporate companies on Mental Well-being.

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