Garance Doré's Touching Advice To Her 20-Year-Old Self

Dana Covit

French illustrator and streetstyle photographer Garance Doré is what you might call "beloved" in the fashion industry. Her eponymous website features everything from pretty snaps of cool, stylish women, to a whole batch of charming videos, to honest recountings of personal subjects like Doré's struggles with eating like a New Yorker and falling in love with her short crop of hair. It is one of the very rare, increasingly rare, places on the internet where comments are almost entirely positive. That's right: Read the comments (in a flurry of French and English) and you can tell Doré's readers look to her for advice, wit, and wisdom—not just regarding personal style and the latest shoe trends. That's why when Doré posted an essay leading with, "One day, my dear, you'll be forty," we were a rapt audience. 

Here are a few snippets regarding self-love, friendship, and kindness we found particularly poignant:

"When you’re 20 you never really think about [age], and that’s a good thing. But, by the time you’re 40, you’ll have lived a life. You’ll have seen the world lose wonderful people much too soon. And you will think of aging as a serious privilege."

"When you’re 40, you’ll have friends of all ages, and they’ll add just as much to your life as you will to theirs... You’ll help each other, you’ll give each other advice, and you’ll laugh like crazy. A good girl is a good girl. Whether she’s five years old or 95, you want to have her in your life."

"You’ll know that it’s important to say that you’re 40 and that you want to celebrate your age, and that you’re proud of it, and that age definitely isn’t something we should hide, especially not as women."

"Life won’t be at all like you imagined, so stop guessing and go experience."

"Work on becoming a good person, and hope that one day, if you have the privilege to get very old and wrinkled, you’ll be able to look back and feel that you brought a little light into the lives of the people around you."

And finally, the big takeaway: the wisdom we should all be so lucky to take to heart...

"My dear 20-year-old self, I know you so well, so here’s the most important thing I want to say to you. What I want is to send you a little perspective. No, seriously. Stop freaking out. The truth is, everything you’re afraid of is going to happen to you. You’ll be poor. You’ll get dumped. You’ll lose someone you love. You’ll be ridiculous. You’ll make mistakes. Oh yes, you’ll make mistakes. You’ll make so many mistakes!!! Sometimes you’ll feel completely lost. But whatever happens, you’ll always have yourself... Put this letter down, grab your keys, and get out there and discover the world. Everything will be fine, sweetheart. It will all be okay."

Did this advice resonate with you like it did with us? Share you thoughts in the comments, and click here to read the entire entry.

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