Celeb advice on how to survive your 20s

By Madeleine Walker

Madeleine Walker asks 16 New Zealand celebrities what advice they would give their 19-year-old selves.
Sisters Julia Matthews and Libby Matthews of Julia And Libby. Photo / Instagram
Sisters Julia Matthews and Libby Matthews of Julia And Libby. Photo / Instagram

"I would probably tell her to be less trusting, considering what I was involved with at that time. But I did survive and I am surviving my 20s pretty well, I think, for what I have had to cope with. Everything is either a blessing or a lesson - nothing is completely pointless in life. You can take something from every situation so make sure your eyes are always open."
- Millie Elder-Holmes, blogger

"Don't feel pressured into doing something because someone tells you to, or thinks that you should. Take time to decide what it is you want to do with your life and if you change your mind, don't worry about it, start again. Life is a journey full of beginnings and endings - enjoy the ride!"
- Julia Mathews, blogger and author of Julia & Libby's Wholefood Kitchen

"Firstly, I would say it's about 'embracing' your 20s rather than 'surviving'! Your 20s are the best! Firm flesh, no wrinkles, still eligible, all care and no responsibility - what's not to love? Your 20s is the decade to make your mark, there is nothing and no one to hold you back, and failure shouldn't even be in your vocabulary."
- Louise Wallace, actress and director

"You do you, girl! Don't do things just to please other people, your 20s are going to be amazing. Don't get hung up on things you can't change, breathe, enjoy the ride and love yourself a little more. YOU ARE FANTASTIC!"
- Jessica Grubisa of Harman Grubisa, fashion designer

"Listen to those who have gone through life before you. Take their advice and use it to protect yourself from making the same mistakes they did. Of course you will take a few steps off the beaten track but wouldn't it be great to avoid a bit of heartbreak along the way? Also, put down your phone for a few hours each day - it's hard to believe, but there is actually more to life than Instagram (guilty ...)."
- Rose Keddell, Black Sticks

Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Michael Craig
Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Michael Craig

"You are more beautiful, clever and talented than you think - don't hide your talents, don't shy away from opportunity, say yes to everything. Wear the bikini. Gather a handful of true friends who have your back and hold on to them tight - you don't need a huge, wild bunch of friends, you need a handful of real, true ones.

Save. Life costs way more than you think, and Mum and Dad will tire of subbing you sooner than you think. Paying for your own wi-fi and jeans is expensive. Reputation is everything. Yes, you are young and will be forgiven your your mistakes, but 'fess up and fix up quickly.

Say sorry when you need to. Pay it forward. You will get out of life what you put in. Sleeping in is nice but a morning ritual is better. Get up and greet the day, and stay motivated. If you can get into a momentum of positive energy you will ride with more vitality through the shit the world may throw at you. Eat clean, your body will thank you later.

Do not feel the pressure to have it all figured out, you are still young enough to start a whole new life again at 35. But have your babies young if you can. You will be fitter and more up for it, and you will love having teenagers when you're in your 40s - it beats having toddlers at 40. See the world, and do it with your best mate and a backpack before the babies because seeing the world on the bones of your arse makes you work harder for it and appreciate it so much more when you go back again later in life. Remember that your 20s are awesome, but your 30s are even better and age is just a number.

Try to remember, we are what we eat. Be kind, work hard, take it one day at a time. Accept help, be curious, ask questions but don't expect all the answers (I didn't know anything until I was 40). Soak it all up and, most of all, understand that your vibe attracts your tribe, so find your tribe and love them hard. They'll be the ones who will get you through anything and everything."
- Kate Hawkesby, broadcaster

Jack Tame One News correspondent in New York.
Jack Tame One News correspondent in New York.

"Don't ever wish youth away. Wish for wisdom and for experience, but never for cash or stuff. Try to pause in the moment and soak it in because before you know it ... your 20s will have flashed by."
- Jack Tame, TVNZ US correspondent

"Slow down and enjoy the journey more. Don't be in such a rush to get where it is you want to go. Don't grow up too fast, don't marry too young, don't have children too young and get a deposit for a house as quickly as you can - and if you don't, then don't whine that it's unaffordable.

Don't think an O.E is the be-all and end-all, save it till later in life when you can actually afford to stay somewhere other than a youth hostel. Never be afraid to question authority because the gap between you and the people who run things isn't actually that great. Always be wary of journalists and their motives. Always remember the latest, greatest thing mainly isn't. Never get hung up on fads, or sucked in by headlines."
- Mike Hosking, broadcaster

"Trust your gut, follow your heart and surround yourself with kind, likeminded people. Your 20s are a time to really discover what it is that you want, tolerate and need. Be open to new things. If someone is mean, ditch that sucker quickly. Don't let people bully you. Always try to be the most kind. Love yourself."
- Georgia Currie of Georgia Alice, fashion designer

Antonia Prebble. Photo / Doug Sherring
Antonia Prebble. Photo / Doug Sherring

I would tell my 19-year-old self to chill out a bit, that no one expects her to know everything. I would tell her that your 20s are somewhat of a roller coaster, that a lot of developmental shifts happen in that period that can make life feel challenging, but that all of those experiences are formative ones, and we can look back on them in later years and appreciate the importance of having gone through them.

I would also tell her to get out there and live! To have as many experiences as possible: travel, follow a whim, discover new passions. To use that time to broaden and deepen her sense of self because nothing needs to be fixed or complete.

And, finally, I would tell her that it's all going to be okay. Life has a funny way of unfolding in the exact manner that it should, and with the perfect timing. In retrospect, it's easy to see how life experiences stitch together so perfectly, but when you're in it, it's hard to know that you are on the right course. Trust that you are!"
- Antonia Prebble, actress

Dr Libby. Photo / Babiche Martens
Dr Libby. Photo / Babiche Martens

"Live every day in touch with how precious life is, how precious you are, and treat yourself accordingly."
- Dr Libby, International Speaker and Holistic Nutrition Specialist

"I changed my degree three times in two years before I ended up in fashion, where I knew I was meant to be. Everything I did felt like it was the be-all and end-all, and it really wasn't! Go with your gut. I feel like at 19 it's okay to have a lot of grey areas."
- Madeleine Harman of Harman Grubisa, fashion designer

"Your mistakes do not define you, they are just a part of your journey. But you need to make sure you learn from them in order to keep moving forward."
- Laura McGoldrick, broadcaster

Beauden Barrett.
Beauden Barrett.

"Don't sweat the small stuff or worry about things that you can't control."
- Beauden Barrett, All Blacks

"Don't be afraid to believe in yourself and to chase your dreams. It won't always be easy, at times it will be torturous, but nobody has the authority to author your future like you do. So go after it, full speed ahead and try to enjoy the crazy ride as much as possible along the way!"
- Kirsty Godso, Nike master trainer

"Don't sweat the small stuff, but also, know that God is in the details."
- Karen Walker, fashion designer

Madeleine Walker is a writer and the founder of The Twenties Club - a blog that serves to educate and empower young women navigating through their 20s. thetwentiesclub.co.nz

- Canvas

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