Chances are you’ve seen several #10yearchallenge’s floating around the Gram. Celebrities are doing it, probably a few of your friends, possibly even you yourself managed to track down a photo from 2009, and upload it alongside a current, more flattering photo showcasing just how much more you have your shit together now than you did 10 years ago.

Some photos side by side are shocking in their comparison, some people look like they’ve spent 10 years frozen in time (looking at you, Jessica Biel) or have gone all Benjamin Button on us and actually look younger now (J Lo, seriously how?!) and some are just friggin’ hilarious (thank you Jameela Jamil).

It got me thinking... Well, first it got me searching for photos from 2009, cringing a little inside and THEN thinking. I reflected on how my life has changed in the last ten years... long story short: it’s changed dramatically. The thing is though, looking at the photos, yes I have changed physically, I’ve aged a bit, my body has changed a lot, BUT the biggest changes of all can’t be seen in a photo, they can only be relived in my mind as memories, and they are reflected in the person I am now.

I think back to who I was in 2009 and while I have #noragrets, there are a few things I wish my 20 year old self had known at the time.

I took this to the Treign table and asked the girls, if you could give your ten year younger self any advice, what would it be?...


"I would tell her..

To start strength training ASAP! You are a bean pole (I’m saying this because I love you). And your love of sports without proper strength in your limbs will be the end of your ankles (haha).

To put down the straightener and step away from that mirror. Not only do you look better with curly hair, but when you spend so much time physically trying to cover up who you really are, (and loath your natural qualities) it kind of seeps into other aspects of your life.

Thank you for spending your time doodling, designing, writing, performing, creating, recording and capturing. I know you only do it because you enjoy it, but it’s really going to help you with your path later on in life.

That things are going to get really hard and your going to lose someone you loved endlessly. It’ll be a lot to process, you’ll kind of suppress it. You’ll end up having to do the work and facing some tough realities afterwards but these darkest moments will gift you so much growth and happiness on the other side.

Don't worry, it's just a ride."


"I would tell her..

Travel more, laugh more, drink more water and question everything!

There is no good food, there is no bad food.

Your mind will often hold you back. Try not to be a slave to every thought that comes up, you are in control.

Ask yourself what your values are and choose the quality of your friends over the quantity.

It's ok to be wrong and to get things wrong, trying and failing is better than not trying at all and don’t take things so personally.

Love wholeheartedly, even in fear of not getting it in return. Do it anyway, and remember that people love you for you, don't try and be anyone else.


"I would tell her..

I know you’re unhappy. I wish I could give you a big hug and tell you it’s going to turn out just fine, but this is something you will come to learn over time. The body shame, the starvation and binge cycles, the diet pills, the hours upon hours of running, the dissatisfaction, the tears … this will be your reality for years to come. But make no mistake – it won’t be for nothing.

One day someone pretty great is going to show you what fitness is really about. And on that day your life will change. You’re going to learn you are strong and resilient and agile and built for power. You will learn that fitness is about so much more than looking good… it’s about FEELING good. And girlfriend, let me tell you, you’re about to start feeling the best and happiest you’ve ever felt in your life.

You will stop reading magazines, you will spend way less time in front of the mirror picking yourself apart, you no longer dread the gym – you get excited by it, you’ll make new friends, you’ll start eating to fuel your body so that you can perform better in workouts, you’ll adapt a whole new way of living and a whole new way of thinking.

So keep grinding, girl. You’re putting in the hard yards right now and it’s confusing and sad and really lonely, but it won’t always be this way, and one day … you will make it your life’s mission to help other people the same way you were helped. Chin up, buttercup. I love you. You got this.”


“I would tell her...

Lifting weights will stir something in your soul. Stop running on the treadmill and start doing that instead. This will be the catalyst for self respect and acceptance. Self awareness will take a little longer, hang in there and prepare to be humbled.

Your body deserves better, ask it what it needs every day. Open your mind and educate yourself on your body and the world around you. Eat well, and eat enough. Get more sleep. Sleep becomes very important to you.

Take more action and seek more opportunities. You have all the time in the world, but you also don’t have time to waste. Don’t give it freely to people who don’t respect it or deserve it. Give more of it to the people who do.

People will try to tell you who you should be, don’t listen. You need to figure out who you WANT to be, and relentlessly pursue that girl. She is more important to you than any man will ever be. She will be continually out of reach, but you will find her piece by piece and the thrill of the chase will propel you forward.”


"I would tell her…

What my Mum taught me: ‘you’re going to make you own decisions in life. I can’t make them for you I can’t stop you, I just have to believe I’ve taught you how to be strong enough to make the right decision or deal with the consequence of your faults and know that I’ll always be here to help and support you if you stumble!’

Life’s fucking hard, nothing is ever perfect. But keep going, keep working through the hard things because you will surpass it. You will survive it and when you think you can’t, that’s what friends and family are for. Lean on them, ask for support but keep going because it will change your fucking life. You will grow and change and become your own person.

I didn’t wake up because I lived by someone else’s expectations or experiences in life. I made my own path. I created this person off the foundation of surpassing things I thought might kill me. My life wasn’t changed because of what happened to me, it was changed because of how I got through it.”

So the reality is, we can’t go back in time and give advice to our younger self, but if we could, would we really want to? If we had someone guiding our way and we could avoid all the pain and the struggle it took to get here, would we grow to become the people we are now?

Perhaps the final takeaway here is that you can’t rely on other people’s experiences to dictate how you live your life, you simply need to write your own story and grow through your experiences. I started this article with a multitude of advice to pass down to my younger self, and ended with an appreciation for the life lessons I’ve learned, some harder than others, but all of them co-contributors to the woman I am now.

Jade X

Melanie Corlett