A Letter to My 20-Year-Old Self

A Letter to My 20-Year-Old Self
[Photo: Peter Jan Rijpkema/Unsplash]
Dear Pamela,

I am writing this letter to you from the future. There is so much I want to tell you about life and what will happen. Not every moment will be happy, but there will be moments of deep satisfaction and immeasurable joy, and there will be hidden wisdom everywhere.

Before I share with you what I have learned, I want to tell you that you are enough and that you are loved. I am so proud of you for your courage and your appetite for life. You have already faced the demons of loneliness and disappointment, and there are many more obstacles you will meet, but you will confront them all with the same strength and grow so much from every challenge you face.

My first piece of advice is to trust your instincts, as they will guide you. You will meet many people and come across countless situations. Sometimes you will not know what to do, but this is normal. Nobody has all the answers, and life is messy by definition.

Listen inside yourself – you have a wealth of information available to you that will point you in the right direction. If something does not feel right, there will be a reason. Learn to trust yourself. Sometimes, though, you will not know what direction to take, and you will need to explore to see what the right direction is. It is also essential to learn how to explore without feeling upset if you cannot find the right path easily. Sometimes, it just takes time.

As you learn about yourself you will be able to trust yourself more. Find out what you like, what you do not, what you are good at, what you are like, how you tend to react, whether you are a sensitive person or not, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, and so on. Discover your strengths are and let them guide you. You will like doing what you are good at because those are your talents. Cultivate them, and find a way to translate those strengths into your professional life.

Once you go out into the world and start exploring it, you will find it is so big and full of opportunities. Sometimes you will feel like you never want to stop, and your work or your projects may absorb you. Find a way to maintain a balance. Your body and mind need to rest to support you to their fullest.

It will take some inquiry, but find out what you want to do. Sometimes we absorb an ideal from our parents or society and think that that is what we need to do with our lives. The problem is that that may not be what we want. Question your motives and clarify your purpose. At every turn of life, you might find yourself doing things that are not aligned with your mission. If you find yourself going in the wrong direction, quickly correct it.

Also, beware of falling into the “doing” trap. Make sure that what you spend your time on is aligned with who you are and what you want. You may “do” endlessly, but with no purpose. And you may waste valuable time and resources going in the wrong direction. Take your time and listen.

There will be tough times. We do not think they will happen to us, but they do, and they are a part of life. One of the most critical competencies is learning to be centered when things are not going well or when everything seems to be going out of the window. Learn about resilience, and practice it so that you are ready when things do not go as expected. Being centered is a skill that will allow you to adapt to circumstances as life presents them and to be able to make the best possible decisions.

To solve the problems that life presents you, develop your creativity. Creativity is one of our greatest tools, and it helps us move past any obstacle, from small scheduling problems at home to finding ways to improve and create best-selling products in our companies. The more you nurture it, the more it will grow. Creativity develops through different outlets — it could be painting, writing, or creative problem-solving. Cultivate it, and it will always be there for you.

Sometimes, life will present you with situations where you will simply have to act, even though you do not have all the pieces or are unsure of your path. You will do and sometimes fail: it is a normal occurrence. You will feel bad about failing, but everyone does. To make things happen for yourself, you must act. If you do not, you will not move forward.

With time, you will learn to take calculated risks. If you are unsure, try to take small actions that will not have significant adverse effects. Then when you have tested, make the big move you want to make.

And my final piece of advice is to do things that make you happy. Life is fleeting. One day you will wake up and find out you are already forty. It happens in the blink of an eye. I know everybody says that, but it is true. There is no need to be terrified by the prospect – if you have lived a good life, the older you get, the better it is. Find joy in everything you do, and enjoy life. It is a crazy journey, which has its unique flavor, but if you learn to enjoy every part of it, you will have lived a full life.

Go forth and do what you want to do – this is your time, enjoy it and live it fully!

I love you,



Pamela Ayuso is an author and the co-founder and CEO of Celaque. She is a real estate entrepreneur and developer who has executive leadership experience in two of the most successful real estate developers in Honduras — managing operations at Alianza and leading Celaque. Celaque develops office and residential buildings and manages a broad portfolio of properties. Pamela’s focus is on growing Celaque into a model for the 21st-century company.

In addition to her role as CEO at Celaque, Pamela is the author of Amazon best-selling book, Heptagram: The 7-Pillar Business Design System for the 21st Century. She offers practical business and personal development insights for other entrepreneurs and business leaders on her blog and LinkedIn. Her husband and her three wonderful daughters inspired the story of her first children’s book, Alicia and Bunnie Paint a Mural.       

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