Be Kind to Yourself – Pieces of Advice for Future You

Written by Helen Marshall and Kim Wilkins

Wish you were here is wrapping up, with life slowly returning to normal (ish) and students heading off on holidays. For our final challenge, we asked you to write a postcard from your future self to your present self, giving three pieces of advice and one warning. And what a wise bunch of writers responded to our call! We were genuinely moved by advice like this, from Elise (grade 7):

My final piece of advice is very simple. Be kind. You have many challenges that lay ahead of you and I am certain that you can conquer them but you will need help, so be kind and people will help you.

Or how about this from Makaira (grade 8):

Squash the “what ifs” and doubts swarming in your head, clouding your vision, convincing you that you are incapable; as you are so worthy.

While Aisha (grade 11) had this simple but compelling warning:

Never go down the wrong path or lose sight of who you are as a person. In this modern world, going in the wrong direction is almost too easy.

Some of our writers imagined how great their lives might be, like Grace (grade 9):

Life at the moment is so good, I'm currently studying on a scholarship at the University of Queensland and I'm also working at a local cafe to save up for that amazing around the world trip we've always dreamed of!

We can’t wait for you to start at UQ, Grace: don’t forget to take one of our creative writing courses. Others, like Makaira, were glad for what didn’t happen:

I can however ease your worries: I’m or should I say you are not a dentist. Jeepers, wouldn’t that be unsettling.

Some of our furry friends, however, didn’t make it, like Elise’s future hamsters:

One of the things that happened was your hamsters died. And I know that you are thinking “I don’t have hamsters.” But you bought them when you were 14 years old and you insisted on keeping them in your room. You then never fed them and they starved and died when you went on a trip to Africa five weeks later. So my advice for that is just don’t buy hamsters and if you really, really want to, and you do, don’t keep them in your room and make sure to feed them!

But we are going to leave the last words to Courtney (grade 12), who had a message of hope and resilience for herself, that we can all learn from:

Dear Past Courtney,

Today marks the 5-year anniversary of the beginning of the pandemic and so, thankfully, I am here in the future to tell you that you will be okay. It was a time in my- our – life where we had felt so infinitely powerless…. You can trust me, Courtney, it will all come back for you. You can trust me. In about a year you will enter university and you will still be so shocked that you’re out of your house and attending classes. A year after that, you will be a bird leaving the nest as you move into your own apartment, completely free of fears. And 5 years after that you will be sitting on this bench, seated amid the residential park … and you will be writing this letter to let yourself know that you are okay.

And you are more than okay. You are alive, living and you no longer fear being outside. You just need to keep reminding yourself of how strong you are and how much you have to live for. Stop stressing about what the future holds. Let yourself live. You are okay.

Thank you for keeping me safe. You have a lot to look forward to, Courtney of the Past.

Much love,

Courtney of the Future


Thank you 

We have had such a joyous journey with all of our writers in Wish you were Here. Thanks to the teachers and parents who encouraged their young writers to imagine the future. But special thanks go to everyone who submitted, even if we ran out of space to publish you all. We read every entry, and we have been inspired, surprised, amused, and sometimes you even made us cry. So what are our three pieces of advice for aspiring writers? 1) Read a lot. 2) Write a lot. 3) Don’t let anyone or anything close down your imagination. And our warning: don’t forget how spectacular you are.

Kim and Helen. 

Last updated:
2 July 2020