Being the best version of me: a letter to my younger self | Fiona Kolade
London-based business development manager and lifestyle blogger Fiona Kolade has been through many trials, forcing her to lean on those around her for comfort and support. But she has remained grateful and open to vulnerability through her blogs as Finally Fiona, inspiring women to love themselves and be more than their looks. #UnderTheMAGNIFYGlass asked Fiona to write a letter to her younger self, telling her story and giving advice to help her thrive in her twenties.
Honey, don’t rush adulthood! With Mum having just passed away you’re going to take on a lot of responsibility over the next seven years. You’d do anything for your sisters, but sometimes it’s OK to let your hair down. I know your grandma-tendencies will still creep in when you go off to university, but you will have amazing housemates who will force you to go out and help you create some of your best memories ever.
As for life post-university, you’ll spend a lot of time with Laolu, who in a few years’ time will become your husband. This is when you’ll really come into your own. He’ll help you embrace your weight and realise that being yourself is more attractive than trying to be someone else. You’ll start to really enjoy adulthood and experience new and exciting things in your career, marriage and personal life.
I know you’re wondering whether you’ve made the right decision to step into a relationship at such a delicate time in your life, but Laolu seems to fill some of the emptiness of Mum’s passing. Despite the (numerous) headaches he is going to give you over the years, like having too much to drink so you have to drive him home, being with him is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. You’ll learn that vulnerability is actually a strength and that it’s OK to not be as ‘put together’ as you hope to be.
Some of these things will be painful to learn but once you hit 27 and look back, you’ll be filled with unbelievable contentment and joy because everything you have been through has made you the best version of yourself.
For as long as you can remember your idea of success has been defined by your level of education, how much you earn and what others will think of you. This is going to change. Not long after you graduate from university you’ll come to the realisation that everything you’ve defined as successful brings you little to no joy.
I’m not saying that you won’t enjoy the money you earn or be proud of what you have, but you’ll start to see success in a different light; it will become a journey rather than a destination and this will stir up a constant desire in you to do and be better.
There’s an amazing first job waiting for you, at a company you never thought would hire you. You’ll meet great people, travel and make Dad very proud to begin with. But two years down the line you’ll feel miserable because you’re promoted into a role in sales that is totally out of your comfort zone. You’ll tell Dad that you want to quit but he’ll insist that you don’t.
But what the heck? Be bold and get out of the job, because it’s going to be the most liberated you’ve felt in a long time. In between jobs, just live life to the fullest, explore London and travel, but also chill out and spend time cosied up with your husband. You’ll have every desire to blog full time but flee from this temptation — it’s not what God has planned for you at this time.
There are some testing times ahead and in the midst of them you will feel like life’s not worth living. But God is always with you; He hasn’t forgotten about you. You probably won’t believe it but He has so much in store for you, so hold onto Him when times are hard because with Him on your side, you will become who He has destined you to be: victorious.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that no amount of money in my bank account, number of subscribers, holidays or qualifications can fill my heart in the way that God does. Without my faith I would be a broken vessel, created for a purpose but inept in form. In order to live life to the fullest I have to look to God, so that as each day passes I will truly begin to experience pure happiness.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Folajuo Oyegbesan
SERIES EDITOR Jenny Desborough