Advice to My 12 Year Old Self

October 17, 2017

Well hello there loyal reader,

It’s been a bit quiet around these parts of late. Just the Friday quote and not much else, which is what comes from working on ‘other things’. As a wise writer-and-blogger friend of mine once said, a blog can be a great outlet for a writer as long as it doesn’t become all that you do. Perhaps I’ve taken that advice somewhat too literally.

Anyway! I am still alive in the world and still writing, you’ll be pleased to know, just not here.

Last night I watched a few of these great super short videos on iView, Advice to My 12 Year Old Self, as part of an ABC project for the International Day of the Girl Child.

I really loved these three, but they’re all great, and I’m going to keep watching the rest in quiet moments:

Pip Rasmussen

Rosie Batty

Leah Purcell

A common thread seems to be ‘don’t worry about what other people think you should do/look like/be. Just trust yourself and go for whatever it is that feels right.’ Good advice for any of us, whether we’re male or female or 12 or 33 or 63.

Watching these clips, I can’t help but wonder how I would answer these questions (I can’t believe I wasn’t asked! What a scandalous oversight :)). So let’s pretend for a second that I was…

When I was 12 girls were expected to…wear the right brand of clothes on casual clothes day – but then, so were boys. I have to admit, in my Grade 6/Year 7 world, I think girls were encouraged to be smart and sporty and musical and confident and all the things that boys were encouraged to be. Growing up, I never felt like the expectations on me or my brothers were different based on gender. Although I did have to iron a lot of Dad’s shirts and handkerchiefs. Hmm…

If I could give any advice to my 12 year old self it would be…just keep doing your thing. You’re awesome as you are, don’t stress about casual clothes day or whether you’re pretty enough or any of that BS. Keep writing stories – I think I stopped doing that around 12. You should keep doing that. And instead of spending all your paper round money on crystals and ugly clothes and finger buns at Brumby’s, save some up and invest it now, rather than in 21 years. 33 year old Isabel will thank you! Also, don’t stress too much about the future. It’ll sort itself out.

What advice would you give to girls today? The world is there for the taking. If you’re willing to work hard, be brave and throw your hat in the ring, amazing adventures await. Try everything: hiking, singing, acting, surfing, stilt-walking, baseball, regardless of whether it’s considered cool or not. Also, the way you live is not necessarily how girls in the rest of the world live, or even girls in your own city/country. When you get the chance, get out there and experience life the way someone else does. It will make you a more empathetic and grateful person. Be brave. Be kind. Take risks.

What would 12 year old Isabel think of Isabel now? 12 year old Isabel would wonder why I still lived in the city and didn’t have a farm, a dog or a horse. BUT after the initial disappointment that I live in an apartment and have a cat (she’d be happy about Neo, at least), she’d definitely be proud. She’d think the things I’ve done over the last 21 years, the travels, the jobs, the adventures, were awesome. She’d be pleased that I’m still writing, still reading, still riding my bike, still lying in the spring grass looking at the flowers. And she’d definitely tell me to keep on truckin’ and finish my book.

I change the world by doing my best at whatever I turn my hand to. Trying to be kind to other people, to tread gently on the world, to follow my own path. I change the world by doing things that scare me, which, hopefully, lets other people know that they can too.

That’s me. What about you? What advice would you give to your 12 year old self?

x Iz

PS The cover photo is my two best pals and I at our Grade 6 graduation. L to R: Lucie, me, George. Love our yellow/blue/green combo, and the gold horse necklace…wearing my passion on a chain around my neck 🙂

More about isabelrobinson

Isabel is a writer from Melbourne. She loves long train journeys, Vegemite toast and cryptic crosswords, preferably all at once.


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