A Letter To My 24-Year-Old Self….

I’ve been reflecting on 10 years of blogging, all that has changed and some things that have surprisingly stayed the same! When I started this blog, I didn’t imagine very far into the future—if I’m being honest. I didn’t plan ahead. Things just happened, things fell into place. We did more of what was working. We learned as we went.

That said, I have some advice to send back to my younger self. Maybe some of you can relate.

Dear 24-year-old Elsie,

I know you think you’re so smart and so grown up, but listen to what I have to say because I know way more than you do.

– Don’t rush each milestone. You’ll want to get married fast, get a book deal fast, design products fast, decorate your home fast and have kids fast. Don’t rush. Looking back, the years you were less rushed are so much more full of memories. Your brain needs downtime. So take the important milestones slow, and enjoy them. Enjoy the planning, the little steps. Sometimes you get to the end and realize your favorite part wasn’t even the finish line. Don’t worry so much about the end goals.

– Make friends outside your bubble. The more you do, the more you will grow.

– Accept your company’s growing pains. There is a lot of growth ahead and some of it will hurt for a while. You probably think that having a bunch of employees will make your job easier, that you’ll never have to do the things you don’t love anymore. Well, it doesn’t work that way in real life. It will always be challenging. Training new employees takes a long time; you’ll be surprised how long. But don’t let it bum you out, you’ll be so glad you did it in the end.

– Always listen to Emma when it comes to money and business. Always insist she listens to you when it comes to creative direction. Eventually you’ll learn to stay in your own lanes and you’ll both be happier for it. And don’t forget to tell her you appreciate her as often as you think of it! You need each other.

– For God’s sake, don’t Photoshop your face! It’s something you’ll regret looking back, and feel so dumb about. Don’t ruin perfectly good photos. Let it be.

– Trends will come and go, so spend more time tapping into the vintage styles that you have always loved. These are the key to finding your style. Everything else is in flux.

– Don’t worry about competition. Like, really, don’t worry about it. You’ll realize later it’s not a thing.

– Learn to accept the Internet for what it is. Sometimes it’s far too nice, sometimes it’s unfair and cruel. It’s not going to treat you reasonably all the time. So don’t take it personally. Don’t fight it. Don’t try to edit your life to avoid critique. Eventually you’ll honestly be able to laugh it off. I promise you, it will get easier. By the time you’re 34, you’ll feel like you can fend off bad vibes with a water gun, while sipping a Mai Tai.

– Ask for help as much as you can. You have people in your life who are much smarter than you. Ask their advice and listen.

– I know that when you’re 24, being 34 sounds so old and gross, but I promise you it’s all good. Your 30s are pure magic—everyone knows it (except 29 year olds).

– Only do business with people who believe in karma.

34-year-old Elsie

  • THis is AMAZING! Congrats on a decade of blogging. This advice is really useful. I have my own blog. CHeck it out!

  • Thanks for optimistic post. So far my 30s have been full of heart-ache (divorce, a close friend was killed right after her 31st birthday, surgery for pre-cancer, moving, and career change). It has been a huge struggle finding balance and happiness. But I hope some day to look back and see this as a happy time or at least one of self-discovery.

  • Thank you for this! I’m a 24 year old and just started my own business and blog, so this advice is very welcome and it will definitely help me 🙂

  • Love this post! I’ve thought about it lots of times. If only the present me could talk to the old me…

  • Elsie, that´s why I adore your blog! You´re so sweet, and relatable. Makes us wnato to be your friend!

  • Holy cow! I relate to this letter/list more than I thought possible. I’m 32 now and wish I could have given the same advice to my 22 year old self. Hind sight is 20/20 as they say.

    Another item I would add is: be excited to take risks! The longer you wait to jump in, the colder the water will be. Every opportunity brings a lesson learned with it, even if it’s not what you’d expect, but it’s absolutely necessary.

    Glad to be sharing these magical 30’s with you! 🙂

  • As someone who will be turning 30 in October, that little bit about 30s being magic sure is good to hear! All good advice!

  • This made me tear up! I just turned 30 and the sentiment about rushing to hit the next milestone is something I’m constantly fighting against. It’s like, what’s the next big thing I can cross off the list? You’re so right, though, the journey is almost always better than the destination 🙂

    Thanks for writing this and reminding me to take a breath and enjoy the ride! You are so inspiring! Love you girls.


  • im glad you said that thing about your 30s… Im turning 30 in one month and I… have a lot of feelings about it. I feel like i should be so much more accomplished (especially comparing myself to you guys sheesh!), feel like now I’m old, opportunity is going to dry up… lots of feelings ah! i hope its as good as you say it is!

  • I love this! Especially about not photoshopping yourself. I stop myself so many times when I’m editing through photos.


  • Gosh I’m only 22 right now so I cannot imagine writing a letter to my 24 year old self – I wonder what it would involve and what wisdom 32 year old me would have for me now! xx

    Frances Kayleigh | Fashion Travel Beauty

  • Shut the front door! I am celebrating 10 years on my blog in October and have been giving the place and dusting so I can’t believe you’re posting this! I’m 36 looking back at 26 so it’s really neat to see this here. Congrats on your decade blogging!

  • I love the line about 29 year olds. So many dread turning thirty like a plague. I am soooo much more in control of my life now than in my 20s.

  • I really enjoyed this letter. My journey is still a work in progress, so I’m going to take 34-year-old Elsie’s advice. So far my 30s have been way better than my 20s. I am always in a rush though, that’s for sure. Right now I’m wishing I was a little younger so I could be ahead of where I am currently.

    “By the time you’re 34, you’ll feel like you can fend off bad vibes with a water gun, while sipping a Mai Tai.”

    LOVE. xo

  • I’m 29 and terrified of turning 30 because I don’t have my life together yet, but reading this helped to calm some of those fears. Thank you.

  • This is the Elsie that I know and love since 8 years through this blog and everything else you do. The one who writes notes to herself and thinks deeply about life and goals and everything else. Thank you for bringing this back. Love you.

  • I’m 25 and have probably been reading this blog for 5 years. That first piece of advice is so important for anyone in their 20s, I think. My husband and I are in such a hurry to settle down in our careers, buy a home and start building a family. But maybe we need to slow down and enjoy this time in our lives 🙂 thanks for sharing so much on this blog, Elsie! Xoxo

  • Not gonna lie, I’d love to hear the stories behind some of these lessons!! I’ve been blogging for 10 years now too (and reading your blog for almost all of that time as well!) Your business has come so far and it’s Hella inspiring. A Color Story is the best photo editing app ever made. Fact!

  • Well written ? From someone who turns 41 later this year; it gets even better. Things are still crazy busy for me, but that’s how I like life. But my 40’s have older children, more travel, and more security. To everyone in their 20’s and 30’s, stop wasting money. You don’t think you are, but you are. Learn how to manage it now. You’ll be grateful later that you did. And later will be here a whole lot sooner than you can even fathom. My 20’s and 30’s flew by so fast that I’m sure I don’t remember everything! By about 38, you look back and think, “What?? How am I already this age?!” Like Elsie said, slow down. Pay attention to everything so you don’t forget. You are getting to an age when you are going to start loosing loved ones. I lost my dad when I was 29. Cherish everything, no matter how big or small. Don’t be so busy doing life that you forget to live it.

  • I NEEDED this so much!!! *endless high five emojis* thank you thank you thank you for sharing ?

  • “Sometimes you get to the end and realize your favorite part wasn’t even the finish line”

    YES. I’ve learned this too- from you and Elise and my own experience. The process is FUN. I enjoy the finished product, but I feel most alive when I’m in the thick of the creation process.

    Also, 30s are pretty awesome. When I was 29 I was so bummed about turning 30 but these are the best years of my life so far!

    Love you, Emma, Laura, Elise- and all of the makers that continue to inspire me to make.

  • This is awesome! I also like to think about what I’ve learned, and what advice I would give to my younger self. I agree with you that the 30’s are pure magic! I just turned 35, and I am much happier, healthier, clear-sighted and grounded than I was in my 20’s.

    When you wrote that you can fend off internet negativity with a water gun and drink in hand it made me laugh! I imagine it took a while to reach that headspace……but it sounds like the best way to deal with Internet negativity is to not take it seriously!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Elsie!

  • Such a great post, I think I need to take some of your advise for sure!

  • Love this. All SO good and SO true even if one isn’t a blogger ? I think I’ve been following this blog for *almost* all 10 years and have enjoyed watching it evolve. Looking forward to what’s next!

  • “By the time you’re 34, you’ll feel like you can fend off bad vibes with a water gun, while sipping a Mai Tai.”

    This is possibly my new favorite quote of all time and life mantra.

  • Love This!!! I’m 52 and I’m going to forward this to my 22 year old!

  • As a 31 year old, this resonates tremendously. At 24, I knew everything, and had my life completely figured out. At 31, I have NO IDEA what to do next, and I know that its okay to ride the waves and enjoy the highs and lows. I’ve been reading ABM since… 2010, I think, and have really enjoyed (and been inspired by — I copied that clementine kitchen, Laura’s cat trees, and many many other projects) watching you, your sister, and your friends flourish.

  • Ha! This made me smile…and as a 29 year old I am terrified of the 30s, but everyone says they’re pretty cool 🙂

    Loved your note on appreciating the planning process and stop trying to rush things. It’s the little, insignificant yet special moments that are engrained in our minds forever.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Christina | www.cuddlepill.com

  • “Sometimes you get to the end and realize your favorite part wasn’t even the finish line.” wow. so good.

  • I find this very cute. I am 34 as well and I was at a very different place when I was 24. My 20’s were very hard in many ways and I wish I did a lot of things differently. But I guess difficulties make you a better person in the end. I feel so much happier in my 30’s!

    You did well Elsie! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  • I really liked this post because you address it to your 24 year old self – that’s my age right now. So it’s sort of like a letter to me to wisen up, haha? 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • I love my 30’s! I didn’t have a clue who I was in my 20’s. My 30’s have had some major heartaches, but somehow are still more peaceful and happy.

  • So relatable. So much truth. Thanks a lot for sharing this!
    31-year-old Summer

  • This was sweet and entertaining 🙂 Good points (love the one with vintage & karma) 🙂

  • oh Elsie i love this letter. i am 26 and currently in the progress of starting my own business. thank you for giving all 20-somethings advice.

  • Wonderful advice! I turn 30 I two days and am hoping it’s as good as everyone keeps telling me! ?

  • Yes yes yes to the last one especially….I looooove being in my 30’s so much more then my 20’s for sure!!! Great other points as well 😉

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