If you could have a chat with your 18-year-old self, what would you say? Maybe you would tell yourself not to sweat the small stuff so much, or that you’ll love your children more than you can ever imagine. Perhaps you would warn yourself against dating a certain person, or suggest that you avoid wearing a certain outfit for that wedding that time because the photos of it will haunt you indefinitely. You might tell yourself to be careful what you post online because the Internet is forever. Or that whatever you’re doing or struggling with at 18 is worth it, because the lessons you’re learning throughout that struggle will pay off in the end.
This is exactly what Victoria Beckham did. Except in a letter. The British fashion designer / former Spice Girl / wife to David Beckham / mother of four recently penned a letter to her 18-year-old self, and it is a fun read. She covers several topics including fame (“You are going to be very, very famous…”), joining the Spice Girls (“Do answer an ad in The Stage, looking for candidates to form a new girl band”), breast implants (“…don’t mess with your boobs. All those years I denied it – stupid. A sign of insecurity. Just celebrate what you’ve got”), and even acne (“Your complexion will sort itself out…in fact you will launch your own make-up brand”).
Here’s what Mrs. Beckham had to say about marriage:
…have patience. Bite your tongue. Be supportive. And preserve a bit of mystique. Never let yourself go completely (at least brush your hair, clean your teeth, have a bit of a brow going on because you will always want him to look at you and feel attracted). Always make time for each other. Because if you don’t, everything will revolve around the children and I’m not sure how sexy that is!
And on being a mum:
…[O]nce you are a parent, you worry. And you are going to have four, so that’s a lot of worry! Mum likes to say, “You might be 42, but I still worry about you.” Children mean that you will be constantly tired and will develop big bags under your eyes. Your children will always come first, but never forget who you are and what you want to achieve. Is it possible to have it all? To be a successful working mother? You will hear this question asked by many women as you grow older. What you will realise is that by working hard, yet always putting family first, it will be possible to achieve that balance. Nothing will be perfect, but it is only now that I have learnt to appreciate all I have and all I have been blessed with. I am happy.
And on living life to the fullest:
There will also be down days and bad days. You will often be so busy that you will be in a different country every day. And being young and a bit silly, you’ll complain and sit in hotel rooms and moan about being tired. Go out and see the country where you are. Go to galleries, go to museums. Soak up the culture. You are lucky to be there. If you don’t join the Spice Girls, you might always be that insecure person in that little shell, and you will never become who you truly are. With this in mind, be kind, be polite, be considerate of others’ feelings, because I know that every one of us would sit here now and say they’re not the main culprit, but we didn’t fully appreciate each other a lot of the time. So practise what you preach when you sing “friendship never ends”, and celebrate everyone’s uniqueness.
You can read the full letter in British Vogue.